Saturday, December 28, 2013

Help-clean-out-the-fridge supper

cheddar, beer, and mustard pull-apart breadThe menu:

vegetable-beef soup, a re-incarnation of leftover beef stew with a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and some stock providing the new life

cheddar, beer, and mustard pull-apart bread from Smitten Kitchen (blog, not the cookbook this time), made with a bottle of Guinness that has been in the back of the fridge for rather a long time and the ends of fontina and Gruyere from Christmas cooking, filled out with some good sharp cheddar.

I drank the rest of the Guinness as an accompaniment, of course.

The bread was very good. I've been clipping recipes using this type of pull-apart bread, where you basically stack up sheets of dough like a deck of cards in a loaf pan. All of those clippings were for sweet breads until I saw the SK variation. Tonight was a perfect night for it, being chilly and rainy and perfect for soup and fresh-baked bread.

cheddar, beer, and mustard pull-apart breadNo real notes on the recipe: except for using the odd bits of cheese as part of the mix, I made it as written. One note for future baking is to make sure the loaf is done in the middle, maybe by checking the temperature--my loaf was done but almost on the edge of doughy due to the cheese level.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

SKC: Butternut squash and caramelized onion galette

SKC: Butternut squash galetteWriteup on the same day as the baking, for once! (I've still got a backlog of 17 or so SKC posts from late summer/early I have no notes on most of those, you'd think they'd be quick to do.)

A little cold snap (well, cooler, anyway--most of my basil is still alive so we haven't gotten to freezing yet) has me overdosing on winter vegetables and comfort-type food. I've bought the parsnips and carrots for a third making of the SKC Honey and harissa farro salad, picked up lots of kale some of which ended up in the wild rice gratin, some sort of different winter squash I didn't note the name of that got simply baked and eaten with salt and pepper, and a butternut squash. This recipe turns out to be a great vehicle for butternut squash, though it does take a while to put all the pieces together. I decided on a half recipe, knowing that at most 4 of us would eat it (me, sister-in-law, younger niece, and perhaps the nephew). The full-sized version is supposed to serve 8.

Here's the process: the squash itself is cubed and oven-roasted. Thinly sliced sweet onion is caramelized on the stove. Squash and onion get mixed together and cooled (and in my case, refrigerated for a day and a half), then mixed with grated fontina and some fresh thyme. The crust uses sour cream and a little white wine vinegar for tenderness, and a little whole wheat flour is suggested as an option. I forgot to do that (shouldn't try to make pastry in the morning before having all my coffee), so I used whole-wheat flour to roll it out to try to imbue a little virtue. The crust seemed quite soft even after being refrigerated for most of the day, but it rolled out easily.

For the half recipe I rolled the dough to about 12 inches, piled the squash mixture in the middle, then folded up and pleated the sides. It baked for 35 minutes (same time as the full-size recipe calls for, as really it's about baking the pastry) and came out golden brown and beautiful, if leaking a little liquid. Maybe the squash suffered a little from the almost 2-day hold in the fridge?

Results: it's lovely. The crust was flakey and tasty (and no soggy bottom despite the liquid that baked out), and the squash-onion-cheese filling is a great combination. Nephew even ate most of a piece, though he removed some of the squash, preferring the onion, cheese, and crust. We may repeat this one over Thanksgiving or Christmas as an entree or a side. The half recipe was a good decision when using this as a side dish--there's almost half of it left over.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

SKC: Plum poppy seed muffins

Plum poppyseed muffinsYet another from back in June (hey, we made a NYC Broadway trip in July, and I don't deal well with interruptions...): June 24.

I didn't make any notes on these, and the memory isn't strong. Vaguely I recall that the chunks of plum were too moist, making little wet pockets (and not jammy ones), and the poppyseeds were a nice crunch but annoyed when they got in your teeth. I'd say I must have cut the plum pieces too large...but looking at the picture, I don't think so.

Put this one down as not bad, but not a high priority for a repeat.

SKC: Peach and sour cream pancakes

Peach sour cream pancakesAnd another catch-up from June, the 23rd for this one:

Younger niece was still away--after diving camp, she travelled with some friends from the Italy year and did at least one or two college visits along the way. Most of the SKC recipes so far had been on her "don't appeal to me" or "don't care about" list, so no worries there. This morning's breakfast, though, was on her "must do" list, and I made it anyway under the influence of her brother. Nephew called me one evening after supper and asked if I'd be willing to cook the peach pancakes with him. No problem! I had ripe peaches and sour cream (the only items that might have needed a grocery store trip) on hand.

Peach sour cream pancakesThe recipe gives a thick batter with sour cream as the 'liquid' (plus one egg), and we did have to scrape at the bowl to get 8 4" pancakes out of it. (I'll use a scant 1/4 c. of batter per, next time.) The peaches are sliced thin, and the slices are placed on top of the batter when it goes on the griddle. A careful flip puts the peach slices directly on the griddle for the second side, where they brown a little. I wouldn't have called it "caramelized" as Deb does--maybe riper peaches would have gotten more browning, or a little sprinkling of sugar might have added to it. Very yummy, and really no more trouble than plain pancakes-from-scratch.

SKC: Fingerlings vinaigrette with sieved eggs and pickled celery

Fingerling (and roasted asparagus) vinaigretteCatch-up post from way back--made this on June 22:

A potato salad, of the vinaigrette variety. Mine was not officially fingerlings, but baby Yukon Gold relatives. Cooked the potatoes along with the egg, and both were done in the time recommended for the egg. I made a half recipe of potatoes and vinaigrette, but made the full amount of pickled celery as the somewhat aged celery in my hydrator needs to go into something. The extra half shallot got sliced into rings and thrown into the pickling solution, too.

Fingerling (and roasted asparagus) vinaigretteAlso on my supper plate was roasted asparagus, maybe somewhat over-roasted (oven temp wasn't high enough, I think, so the spears shriveled before they browned much). There's leftover vinaigrette and half an "roasted asparagus vinaigrette with sieved egg and pickled shallot". (No celery...just didn't work.) Dinner was a double-vinaigrette, then, with the remains of the Pine Street Market smoked brisket, sliced thin and reheated in a little homemade barbecue sauce.

SKC: Wild rice gratin with kale, caramelized onions, and baby Swiss

SKC: wild rice gratinLast night's dinner was this dish from the vegetarian entree section, though my redition was really "Wild rice gratin with kale, caramelized onions, and gruyere and Monterey jack cheeses", as there was some concern (not me personally) that an all-Swiss cheese version would be too....Swiss cheesy. I'll take a vote next time, but I think an all-Gruyere or similar version would be wonderful.

SKC: wild rice gratinThe notes: for the "wild rice blend" I used this Lundberg version found at the DeKalb Farmer's Market, which is brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice, Wehani (red) rice, and Black Japonica--much better than the old boxed "long grain and wild rice" with a seasoning packet. I cooked it without salt, but I think it'd be better to add some during the cooking rather than try to season the entire casserole mixture. I cooked 2 cups of the mix then measured the 5 cups cooked from the results, rather than do the math on the water needed for 1-2/3 cups of raw rice. Leftover rice is not a bad thing.

SKC: wild rice gratinNot too much else to note beyond the cheese substitution...I used lacinto kale which is about all I buy these days, and made breadcrumbs from a mixed-grain bread from Publix. (The recipe says "fine, dry breadcrumbs" which could be interpreted as that almost-powder stuff in a blue can...but no. Just no.) I used a 3-quart (13"x9") glass casserole dish instead of the 2 quart called for, and I like the more spread-out version in order to get more bubbly topping. (Also because the oval 2-quart casserole I thought I owned could not be might have been sent off to the thrift store donation bin because of a chip.) Maybe next time the breadcrumb amount will be upped to that same end.

This went over well with sister-in-law, nephew, and even cheese-ambivalent younger niece. I think it will get a repeat, and before that I'll be trying the leftovers with a soft-boiled egg.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

SKC: Buttered Popcorn Cookies and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

I am not making much progress getting my blogging caught up with my cooking from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook--you'd think those 2 weeks of furlough would have done it, but no. It seems I need that external pressure of a baking group to manage to blog as I go. But anyway....

SKC: Buttered popcorn cookiesSKC: Buttered popcorn cookies, doughI did some cookie baking this weekend for an event younger niece is going to, and picked 2 recipes from SKC to try. First up was Buttered Popcorn Cookies--a basic cookie (butter, brown and white sugar, egg, flour, etc.) with buttered, salted popcorn folded into the dough. Instead of starting with popcorn kernels and oil in a pan, I fudged with some mini-bags of microwave popcorn, then proceeded with the tossing with butter and salt as in the recipe. I mixed this one up with a hand mixer--it was fast and easy. It's a pretty minimal amount of dough to the pile of popcorn, but as Deb writes in the recipe, it will work.

The verdict from me and from niece and nephew is that these are rather blah. Maybe a popcorn fanatic would like the novelty of popcorn in a cookie, but none of us were very taken with the cookie bits and found the popcorn just a little odd. I didn't get any popcorn/butter/salt taste, either, which would seem to be the point. Put the recipe in the "interesting, but not to be repeated" pile.

SKC: Chocolate peanut butter cookiesThe Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies are quite a contrast: not easy to make, but an excellent result. It's a good thing that the cookies are headed to an event with a bunch of (presumably) hungry teenagers tonight--I sure don't need such enticing calories in my house. This sandwich cookie plays off the perennial favorite combo of chocolate and peanut butter with a rich PB cookie and a ganache-ish filling. Is it a ganache if the chocolate is melted with PB and butter?

I made the dough yesterday, wrapped it and put it in the fridge overnight, then did the slice-and-bake bit today after giving the dough 30 minutes in the freezer to facilitate slicing. The dough is very crumbly--Deb offers the option of rolling out and cutting the cookies (though she warns that it's difficult), but I don't see how it could be done. I was always sticking corners back on slices, and sometimes the slice would break into big pieces. One good thing is that if you stick the pieces back together, the baked cookie will then hold together. However, any cracks you leave showing as it enters the oven will probably still show after baking.

The chocolate filling also gave me fits, but I blame myself on that one. I melted the ingredients and let it sit at room temp to thicken...but that was taking a while. Then I put the bowl in the fridge to speed up the process and it emerged looking just about perfect--I was stirring and getting a good "stiff frosting" feel. I put the bowl down and texted younger niece to come over and help make the sandwich cookies, but when she walked in less than ten minutes later the chocolate was a hard brittle mass. Guess I should have just stirred constantly! After a little time in the double boiler I got the mass back to a reasonable spreading consistency, though it still went from flowing to quite stiff very quickly if left sitting.

Not an easy cookie to make (though I think it will be easier on a second attempt), but definitely worth it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chicken 2 ways: Mediterranean-Style Stuffed Chicken Breasts and Fiery Asian Chicken

While I'm furloughed by the government shutdown, there's time to do some week-night cooking. I dug through my paper recipe clippings (neglected now that I mostly save recipes to try in the Paprika app) and came up with these two.

DSCN9503Mediterranean-Style Stuffed Chicken Breasts I found on Leite's Culinaria, but it originated in a Kraft Foods cookbook. It's an old-style suffed chicken breast recipe, this time with a cream cheese base (Kraft, duh), bacon, Kalamata olives, almonds, and thyme. I used 3 large breasts instead of the 4 small called for, but otherwise followed the recipe.

It was pretty good, though I found the almonds provided an odd crunch (the bacon de-crisped itself once folded into the cream cheese and cooked, so no crunch there). Most of the Leite's testers seemed to like that crunch, but to me it was just...odd. And didn't add any flavor.

If I repeat this one, the almonds are out. I also made some of it without the olives as the plan had been to share dinner prep with the folks next door--a couple of olive-avoiders over there. The plan fell through (sister-in-law came in from a harried work day and moved straight into dinner prep on her own), so I'll try those as leftovers.

The Fiery Asian Chicken originated on Always Order Dessert. I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and grilled them (no picture, sorry). They were good, but pretty dominantly "hot" without much balance from the other ingredients. Not too spicy for me, just not a superior recipe. Might get repeated, might not...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

SKC: Honey and Harissa Farro Salad

SKC: Honey and harissa farro saladMade Sept. 2, 2013, repeated Sept. 21.

This was my first time cooking farro, so I don't know if the stuff I used (from the DeKalb Farmers Market) is typical or not. It needed a lot less than the 4 cups of liquid called for in the recipe--I may have poured off 2 cups when I drained it.

Next up: roasted parsnips and carrots, cut into 1-1.5" batons for easier eating. On my second version I used a lot more carrots than the 1/2 pound called for (to 1 pound of parsnips), as I had them available and liked the root veggies in the salad. More is good...

The dressing is olive oil, lemon juice as the acid, a bit of honey, and harissa, cumin, and salt for flavor. I swapped smoked paprika for the cumin--it only called for a pinch in any case. Second time around I upped the harissa from 1/2 tsp to about 2 tsp, which for this harissa gives the salad a little heat. I may have upped the amount of farro a bit as well so the dressing is covering more grain and veggies than the recipe called for.

The grain, veggies, and dressing get combined, then you stir in feta, mint, and parsley. Second time around I didn't walk out to the garden to see if any parsley is still hanging on (it hasn't liked the very wet summer in Atlanta, at least in my garden) or pick the mint, though I'll probably add those before the week is out. My plan is to take this to work for lunch this week.

Saved out a bit for younger niece without the feta on round 1. She liked it (I seem to recall she even came back for some of the with-feta leftovers). The with-feta version was excellent. Witness the quick repeat on the recipe!

SKC: Olive oil ricotta cake with muscadine coulis

DSCN9482I've been cooking pretty steadily from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook...but not managing to blog about the results. Clearly I need that external pressure of a baking group which expects a new post every Monday. Oh, well.

Instead of tackling the backlog, I'll report on tonight's effort: this very nice 'everyday' cake, lightly lemon-flavored, a riff on a yogurt cake but with ricotta. One bowl and a whisk--as it's an oil cake, there was no heavy beating needed. My only variation from the recipe was to use muscadine grapes instead of Concords. Muscadines are nicely Southern, and besides, there weren't any Concords at the DeKalb Farmer's Market today.

DSCN9474The only issue I had was with the coulis, which didn't thicken at all. (I think it should have, or at least the picture makes it appear so.) The recipe barely cooks the Concord grapes with a 3-minute simmer, but my huge muscadines needed more like 15 minutes to soften. I strained the seeds and skins out, cooled the result, but got this very thin sauce--nice taste, but a little lacking aesthetically. I've now boiled it down some more in the microwave and will see what it looks like when it cools again. Googling on the pectin content of various grapes doesn't give any indication that Concords and muscadines are different, so maybe I"m misinterpreting the picture and the term 'coulis', or maybe I did something wrong.

No matter: it's a very nice cake and sauce, and I'll return to the recipe to try some of the variations mentioned.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

SKC: Broccoli slaw

DSCN9687No, no, it's not the image you get from the bags labelled "broccoli slaw" at the store, which consist mostly of julienned broccoli stems with a little carrot for color. No, this is made mostly with broccoli florets, but sliced very thin and tossed with dried cranberries and toasted sliced almonds, and dressed with a mayo/buttermilk dressing in which I soaked the red onion as suggested to reduce the onion bite. The result is undoubtedly a "slaw", but much better than cabbage-based coleslaw. This is the last post from last weekend's efforts.

I had leftover lemon aioli from the chicken-and-egg salad, and thought "why not?" A little garlic and lemon flavor in the mayo certainly won't hurt a broccoli dish. The slicing of the broccoli was tedious and messy (lots of little broccoli buds scattered all over the counter) as I tried to get the slices pretty thin to avoid chunks of raw broccoli that I dislike in raw veggie salads of other types. Julienning the stalks was best done with a knife, or maybe my mandoline skills still need work.

The results were worth it--there's enough dressing to coat the broccoli bits, but it's thin enough to not swamp the salad. I might up the cranberry and almond amounts on another try if I'm feeling indulgent--there were enough, but not lots.

I didn't take a picture of the slaw alone, so this is my plate of grilled Thai-style pork, broccoli slaw, and cheddar swirl buns. Very nice dinner!

SKC: Chicken and egg salad toasts with lemon aioli and fennel

DSCN9677 Still on cooking done last weekend--I was on a kitchen frenzy. There was leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge, and I bought some read-to-eat hard-boiled eggs. I'm not a big fan of fennel, but I did get a bulb and add some to the dish--enough to get a little hint of it, but no big anise-y bites. With the shortcuts on the chicken and egg, I spent the effort on the aioli.

Homemade mayo is a trip down memory lane for me--growing up, my mother always made our mayonnaise, which she blamed on my father not tolerating the store-bought stuff. I have a memory of my elementary school cafeteria with these bowls of a stiff, almost jellied white substance that smelled a little like pickles, and having to be told that it was mayo.

Mother used a blender to make mayonnaise, and that's how I learned--egg, lemon juice, and salt in the container with a little oil (no vinegar), then start the blender and pour the rest of the oil in slowly. Voila, mayo! I think she moved to the food processor for a while, or maybe the household mayonnaise consumption dropped to the point that she went to the long-lived commercial stuff before the Cuisinart came into the house.

With that background, I wasn't up for making aioli by hand. I have a blender (not much used), and a Cuisinart, but this was just a half cup of I decided to try my stick blender. It was a snap--much faster than a big blender, and the only drawback was a film of oil that was on the top of the blade housing that didn't get emulsified. I think perhaps I'll quit keeping a jar of mayo around and just make small batches fresh when i need some--which isn't often these days.

Back to the salad: with the aioli made (with all lemon juice, no vinegar), it was just a matter of mixing the chopped chicken and egg, some fennel bulb and greens, chives from the garden, seasoning, and some aioli to bind it all together. Typo alert: the recipe fails to tell you to add the chopped hard-boiled egg to the chicken and fennel mixture, but that's easily figured out. I skipped the toast and put a mound on some nice crisp leaf lettuce to serve.

PSM and SK: Thai-style pork tenderloin

DSCN9683In this month's Pine Street Market box was a pork tenderloin--just one, making a good size for my one-person household for a dinner and leftovers. Pork tenderloin needs help, though--it's not particularly flavorful. I turned to Smitten Kitchen for a recipe I found a while back for Thai-style chicken legs, made, and sort-of lost to my sister-in-law--she makes it so often, there's no point in my proposing it for a joint meal. It's easy and good, and excellent on the grill--equal parts fish sauce, vegetable oil, and hoisin sauce, lots of garlic, some ground coriander, and salt and pepper. SK called for cilantro (yuck!), which I just omit.

Grilled Thai-style pork tenderloin was excellent--the sugar in the hoison will char a little, but the flavors go really well with the pork. I had some of the jar of organic peach chow-chow (also from the PSM box) on the side for an extra sweet-spicy kick.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

SKC: Cheddar swirl breakfast buns

DSCN9680 Another Smitten Kitchen Cookbook catch-up post, starting on the three recipes I made last weekend. All three were good, but this one tops my list--it's bread (yay, carbs!), cheese, and onion to make it interesting. I messed around with this recipe some: substituted 100 g. of whole-wheat flour for AP (about 1/4-1/3 of the total), scanted the sugar by maybe half (it's a savory bread dough, why use sugar?), used almond milk (that's what I had), and added the instant yeast to the dry ingredients the way I do with the weekly challah instead of dissolving it in the milk as if it were active dry. I had to add a couple of extra tablespoons of milk, probably to compensate for the whole-wheat flout, to get that point where the dough ball is sticking to the dimple in the bottom of the KitchenAid bowl. It was a very well-behaved dough--easy to roll out on a baking mat with no flour, rolled up easily with the filling in a tight spiral.

In the filling, I omitted the dill (yuck!) and added the suggested parsley as a substitute. I was surprised that the recipe called for no warm liquids besides the lukewarm melted butter--I'm used to the very-warm temps used for most instant yeast recipes. I therefore expected a slow rise (the recipe says 2 hours) and left to run errands. I was back in 2 hours, and found the dough had tripled or more--very enthusiastic rise, there. Which might have taken most of the yeast oomph, because the made-up buns didn't rise as well and ended a little flatter that I'd like. Next time, I'll use 8" round pans and see if I can get a smaller diameter, higher bun.

DSCN9671 DSCN9672 DSCN9678

Excellent breakfast bun. I'll definitely repeat this one.

SKC: Blueberry cornmeal butter cake

Blueberry cornmeal butter cake--SKC I've got some catch-up posts to make on my Smitten Kitchen Cookbook cook-through--this one I baked on June 1. I forgot to take any notes on either the baking or the eating, and in retrospect (on the eating bit) it was good, not great. There was just a little cornmeal taste and texture (it's 2/3 flour, 1/3 cornmeal), the blueberries were good, but overall the cake wasn't a standout. One note on the baking side was to make this in a pan with a removable bottom or just serve it from the pan, instead of turning it out as the recipe directs. The copious amount of crumb topping will make something of a mess if you flip it to get it onto a cooling rack. Or mine did, anyway

Sunday, June 16, 2013

SKC: Shaved asparagus pizza

DSCN9655 We made the topping from SKC, but niece used the pizza dough recipe from a class she took while in Italy. This was excellent, and so simple: thin pizza dough sprinkled with parmesan and mozzarella, then piled with shaved asparagus that had been tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. We forgot to sprinkle on scallions after it came out of the oven, but didn't miss them.

SKC: Pancetta, white bean, and Swiss chard pot pies

Pancetta, white bean, and Swiss chard pot pieFirst post from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and almost cheating: I made these last Thanksgiving, which was after the book release but before I bought my copy. This recipe is on the SK blog. I'll be making it again (it's on younger niece's "must have" list) and hopefully will take pictures of what's inside the pie next time...

Pine Street Market CSA, June 2013


DSCN9667Here's the haul for the PSM CSA this month, accompanied (yay!) by the best listing yet of what is included:
Gum Creek Farms ground beef
PSM Applewood smoked bacon
Slow roasted pork belly (heat and eat)
Smoked beef brisket (heat and eat)
Peach chow-chow
Lamb bacon burger
Spicy Italian sausage (bulk)
Mild Italian sausage
Head cheese
Pork tenderloin

The mild Italian sausage became Friday's dinner, along with a couple of PSM Mettwurst sausages I had left over from earlier in the week. Sister-in-law grilled the Italian, then put the Mettwurst on the grill for a few minutes to reheat. I was a little disappointed in the Italian--it was rather crumbly-textured when I would have liked it a little firmer/more cohesive. Tasted good, though!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Smitten Kitchen Cookbook bake-through

While she was in Italy last year, younger niece and I emailed back and forth about food a good bit. We share a love for Deb Perelman's blog Smitten Kitchen, and when The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook came out, niece emailed that we needed to try to cook everything in it. She's back (sort of--she's gone for a month right now between camp and some other travel), so I'm getting started. I went with her and sister-in-law to drop her off at camp, and had her go through the list of recipes and mark those that I could make while she was away, those that she had to try, and the ones in the middle.

This post will be my master list, and I'll keep editing it to link to posts on the various recipes. Most of these will probably be just notes: any changes I made, how the cooking went, and how well I liked the results. For the recipes, turn to the cookbook (highly recommended, even before I have cooked much from it) or to the Smitten Kitchen blog for some of them. I may skip a few, for containing so many items I won't eat that any adaptation would be a completely different dish. To wit, "Pork chops with cider, horseradish, and dill"--I dislike horseradish and despise dillweed, so that one won't get made. Unless younger niece does it.

Smitten Kitchen Cookbook recipe list
(Bolded recipes have been made but not blogged...yet)

Peach and sour cream pancakes
Cinnamon toast French toast
Gingerbread spice Dutch baby
Plum poppy seed muffins
Whole-wheat raspberry ricotta scones
Chocolate chip brioche pretzels
Almond date breakfast bars
Apricot breakfast crisp
Big cluster maple granola
Maple bacon biscuits

Big breakfast latkes
Greens, eggs, and hollandaise
Baked ranchero eggs with blistered jack cheese and lime crema
Potato fritatta with feta and scallions
New York breakfast casserole
Fig, olive oil, and sea salt challah
Cheddar swirl breakfast buns

Vinegar slaw with cucumbers and dill
Zucchini ribbons with almond pesto
Fingerlings vinaigrette with sieved eggs and pickled celery
Iceberg stack with blue cheese and radishes
Tomato scallion shortcakes with whipped goat cheese
Kale salad with cherries and pecans
Sugar snap salad with miso dressing
Broccoli slaw
Cranberry bean salad with walnuts and feta
Roasted baby roots with sherry-shallot vinaigrette
Honey and harissa farro salad

Sandwiches, Tarts, and Pizzas
Avocado tartine with cucumber and sesame seeds
Chicken and egg salad toasts with lemon aioli and fennel
Emmentaler on rye with sweet and sour red onions
Ratatouille sub
Broccoli rabe panini with mozzarella
Wild mushroom tart
Butternut squash and caramelized onion galette
Pizza dough
  • Rushed pizza dough
  • Leisurely pizza dough
Everyday Margarita pizza
Shaved asparagus pizza
Eggplant and three cheese calzone

The Main Dish: Vegetarian
Gnocchi in tomato broth
Sweet peas and shells Alfredo
Linguine with cauliflower pesto
Heart-stuffed shells in lemon ricotta Bèchamel
Leek fritters with garlic and lemon
Jacob's blintzes, or sweet potato blintzes with farmer's cheese
Corn risotto-stuffed poblanos
Slow-cooker black bean ragout
Roasted tomatoes and cipollini onions with white beans
Spaghetti squash and black bean tacos with queso fresco
Roasted eggplant with yogurt-tahini sauce and cumin-crisped chickpeas
Wild rice gratin with kale, caramelized onions, and baby Swiss
Mushroom Bourguignon

The Main Dish: Seafood, Poultry, and Meat
Vermouth mussels with tarragon oven fries
Seared halibut and gazpacho salsa with tomato vinaigrette
Pancetta, white bean, and Swiss chard pot pies
Sesame-spiced turkey meatballs
Smashed chickpea salad with lemon and sumac
Mustard Milanese with an arugula fennel salad
Flat roasted chicken with tiny potatoes
Harvest roast chicken with grapes, olives, and rosemary
Pork chops with cider, horseradish, and dill
Balsamic and beer-braised short ribs
Parsnip purèe
Maya's sweet and sour holiday brisket
Roasted fingerling and carrot coins
Tomato-glazed meatloaves
Brown butter mashed potatoes
Pistachio masala lamb chops with cucumber mint raita

Sweets: Cookies
Buttered popcorn cookies
Rhubarb hamantaschen
Salted brown butter crispy treats
Chocolate peanut butter cookies
Cranberry crumb bars with mulling spices
Gooey cinnamon squares
Brownie roll-out cookies
Alex's chocolate raspberry rugelach

Sweets: Pies and Tarts
Whole lemon bars
Butterscotch banana tarte Tatin
Chocolate silk pie
Marbled pumpkin gingersnap tart
All butter, really flaky pie dough
Almond and sweet cherry galette
Deepest dish apple pie
Peach dumplings with bourbon hard sauce

Sweets: Cakes
Mom's apple cake
Grapefruit olive oil pound cake
Blueberry cornmeal butter cake
Olive oil ricotta cake with Concord grape coulis
Tiny but intense chocolate cake
Golden sheet cake with berry buttercream
Berry buttercream
Chocolate hazelnut crepe cake
S'more layer cake
Red wine velvet cake with whipped mascarpone

Sweets: Puddings and Candy
Strawberry cheesecake fools
White chocolate pudding with blackberry curd
Tres leches rice pudding
Apple cider caramels
Coffee toffee

Party Snacks and Drinks
Spicy brittled peanuts
Pumpernickel grissini with horseradish crème fraîche dip
Smoky deviled eggs with crisped jamòn and crushed Marconas
Blue cheese and black pepper gougères
Rosemary Gruyère and sea salt crisps
Baked potato crisps with the works
French onion toasts
Broiled clams with chorizo breadcrumbs
Spritzy ginger lemonade
Muddle puddle battle

Friday, May 10, 2013

May Meat CSA

DSCN9582 Pickup day for the Pine Street Market Meat CSA.

DSCN9583How it arrives--it's a 12" cube of a box, lined with foil-backed styrofoam, and with one or more ice packs to keep things cold. Usually several of the items are also frozen, which lets me move them straight to my freezer if I don't plan to use them immediately.

May 2013 PSM Meat CSA And the contents:
1 lb. smoked poblano sausages
1 lb. Mettwurst sausages
1 lb. smoked applewood bacon, plus another pound of bacon ends in 2 packages
1 lb. applewood bacon burger (ground pork and bacon)
1 lb. meatloaf--pork/beef blend with rosemary garlic glaze, ready for the oven
14 oz. wedge of beef brisket
1/2 lb "barrel cut New York"
1-1/4 lb "boar roast"

(No lamb this month, Ann.)

On the good side, everything in the box has a label this month--I think for the first time. On the not-so-good side, some of the labels are a little cryptic. Take "barrel cut New York", beef in appearance. Barrel cut is a center cut which Google says is from the tenderloin. Does the New York bit mean it's center-cut NY strip? Well, no matter, I'm going to treat it like a steak.
Now, the "boar roast": this looks like a 2-rib bone-in pork chop. Does "boar" signify wild boar (thus needing to be treated like game) or just a more manly term for the super-sized cut? I could call and ask, but I'm betting it's domestic pork and will use it that way. Stuffed pork chop, maybe? Or brine it and grill with an interesting rub...we'll see. I think it's going in the freezer for now.
The small brisket will also require thought, though maybe I'll just use a regular brisket recipe and a very small pot for the long slow cooking called for. It's seasoned, so may have to adjust the recipe I choose based on what the seasoning seems to be once I open the package.
 I'm still working on things to do with the bacon burger--it's great tasting stuff made into a burger, but too fatty to grill. The pre-made meatloaf is first up--I'm cooking that for tonight's dinner, and we'll find leftovers for the nephew (doesn't like beef) and my brother (trying to cut back on red meat).

Friday, April 12, 2013

April meat CSA haul

April 2013 meat CSA haul
The monthly box from Pine Street Market's meat CSA:

pound of applewood-smoked bacon, plus 2 packs of bacon ends
pound of Gum Creek Farms ground beef
Mettwurst (smoked suasage with coriander, garlic, white pepper) and andouille sausages
pound of country sausage
pound of a lamb/pork meatball mix
2 packs of porcetta
1.5 pound pack of....I'm not exactly sure. It's bacon or pork belly chunks, seasoned. Might be their smoked pepper bacon which is seasoned with chiles, which I've never tried. Must call and ask.

I'm going to propose porcetta for dinner, roasted on a bed of veggies. Maybe sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, etc., even though that's a very wintery selection for a nice spring day. We can have asparagus or something on the side...

The bacon ends are piling up--I need to think on good ways to use these, not being a big bean soup or fatback-in-greens person. Maybe try to remember to pull these out for the brussels sprouts and bacon dish, or replace the oil for sautéing onions for stew or soup with diced bacon. Maybe I should dice some of it up in advance to make these options easier.

Friday, March 8, 2013

What was dinner?

Creole crepinettes, grilledI indeed cooked the 2 pork-and-beef Creole crepinettes, plus made 5 small burgers from the ground applewood bacon burger. The mistake was in trying to grill them--way too much fat, so I had lots of flare-ups and things were generally a little charred. I really like the grilled taste, but I think future bacon burgers or crepinettes will have to be pan-fried or oven-broiled.

The crepinettes were good but not great--not much Creole spice was evident, though the rosemary sprig tucked under the caul gave some flavor. The grind was rather fine, and I think it suffered in contrast to the bacon burger which just had a better mouth feel. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for bacon. :)

Applewood bacon burgers Creole crepinettes

Pine Street Market CSA, first two months

Meat CSA month 1
This was the January box:
two packages of smoked pork spareribs, prepared with a dry rub
1 lb. applewood smoked bacon
lamb shoulder roast
pork, beef, and lamb meatballs
2 whiskey brined pork steaks
4 links of smoked country sausages
unlabelled beef steak (maybe a boneless rib steak--it was very good)

I don't have pictures of month 2. I took 'em...but there was no card in the camera. :(  They included a note saying the month was focused on quick and easy dinners (there's a note with a partial listing of stuff in the box each month, sort of a blend of "how to cook" and recipes for some of the items).

Here's what I remember:
Lamb roulade stuffed with spinach, red bell pepper, feta
Meatloaf in a foil pan, ready to bake
Beef kabobs, marinated and with veggies ready to be skewered and grilled
Porchetta, also ready for the oven
1 lb. bacon
bacon ends
smoked sausages
dry-cured pancetta
1 lb. Gum Creek Farms ground beef
1 lb. applewood bacon burger
a pate of sorts, which I think was a lamb/smoked pork rillettes--there was a pork rillettes in the meat case today, and it was similar

February had a sort of mix-up, and the initial box I picked up was short (not that I had noticed, personally). Early in the afternoon I got an email saying they had a packing fail, and would deliver the remainder if I would email or call with my address by 2:30. Sure enough, someone showed up and handed over an insulated grocery bag with the rest of the haul. The bag was for me to keep, too. (The usual packing is a cardboard box with foil-backed styrofoam lining, plus ice packs. I take it back to them the next month for them to re-use...maybe they do, maybe they don't. But it's better than me trying to recycle the mixed materials...)

Notes on the concept so far: I'm getting more lamb than I want, being a person who typically eats lamb once every couple of years. I don't dislike it, but it's not a favorite. Even in the blends like the pork/lamb/beef meatball mix come across as 'lamb', perhaps because I *don't* eat it often. The bacon is superb. I don't need to eat a pound of bacon a month, but can always pass the excess to my sister-in-law next door. I liked the 'quick meals' concept, but it's too much arriving fresh and ready to cook for my one-person household, and only some of the items are interesting to the folks next door for possible sharing.

The porchetta was shared next door, and was a winner. I enjoyed the meatloaf--made a barbeque sauce for it that I use on my standard beef meatloaf, but this one had enough interesting spice to not need it. No one wanted to share that one, with or without sauce, however. Sister-in-law joined me in trying the lamb roulade cooked as they recommended with white beans and aromatics, but neither of us wanted a second serving because, well, lamb.

I do need to work on what's in the freezer, though this weekend I'll be cooking things fresh from the March box. Tucked away from January and February are a whiskey brined pork steak, the ground beef, a pack of ground bacon burger, pancetta, the lamb shoulder roast, and bacon.

Meat CSA

Dear me, poor neglected food blog. It's not alone--work and Life in general got pretty hectic, so LJ and Facebook reading and even some email lists got pushed aside, and I may never catch up on the more active RSS feeds. LJ at least got some reflected posts as I tweeted through a Walt Disney World Food & Wine Festival visit in October, a family trip to Italy over Christmas, and back to WDW in January with friends, but somehow the food posts I constructed in my head never made it here. I'm going to try to do better.

In January I joined a CSA of sorts: a carnivorous CSA, specifically. It's an experiment by Pine Street Market in Avondale Estates, an butcher shop that specializes in artisan meats. They're known for their applewood smoked bacon, and a number of sausages and cured meats. They don't promise that all their meat is locally sourced, but they do work with a local farm that raises pigs drug-free on pasture for some amount of their meat.

The CSA boxes have been heavy on pork with some lamb and beef. This is a shift from my usual non-poultry meat purchases, which tend to be mostly beef, some pork, and almost no lamb. I'm a little at risk of being overwhelmed by meat, but then January and February had a good bit of travel and thus less home cooking. Travel has been abruptly stopped with the budget sequestration, so I'm going to make an effort to use the current box plus the leftovers from January and February this month.

DSCN9480The March pickup was today, and here's what was in my box:
1 lb. applewood smoked bacon
8 oz. applewood bacon ends
Pork Sausages:
Irish bangers (4, ~14 oz.)
Spiced pear sausage (4, 1 lb)
Mettwurst sausage (4, 1 lb)
4 oz. tasso ham
1 lb 6 oz pork belly ribs
1 lb country (pork) sausage
1 lb applewood bacon burger (ground pork)
1 lb parmesan lamb meatball mix (lamb and pork)
3 cider brined pork chops (oddly cut, 2 boneless and one bone-in, bone-in one is large and very irregularly cut)
2 "Creole crepinettes"--pork and beef sausage patties wrapped in caul

For dinner I think I'll cook the two crepinettes, plus make burgers from the applewood bacon burger and pan-fry them all. Or maybe grill them--the challah is a little behind schedule, so I might not want to be juggling baking bread and grilling burgers.