Saturday, August 9, 2014

East Fork Farm Gristmill Cornbread

As if they didn't have enough projects going, East Fork Farm has restored an antique mill and crafted a fresh mill house to go along with it. Powered by their spring fed creek, the mill is up and running, grinding locally grown corn into grits and flour. Tonight we sampled the handiwork:

East Fork Farm Gristmill Cornbread:

*1/2 cup East Fork Farm Grits
*1/2 cup East Fork Farm corn flour
*1 cup quality all purpose flour
*1 T. aluminum free baking powder
*1 tsp. sea salt
*1 large egg
*5 T. unsalted butter
*1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
*1/2 cup raw honey
*1 cup fresh corn kernels

Preheat oven to 400.
Place butter in a 9-10'' cast iron skillet and put in the oven.
Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
Remove skillet from oven and pour melted butter into a separate bowl. Add egg, butter, buttermilk and honey to melted butter. Whisk. Blend wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in corn kernels.
Pour batter into skillet and bake until completely golden. Serve with ample salted butter.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fresh Corn and Tomatillo Salsa

It's time! For the cold, vinegar-doused relishes and fresh salsas which will seem such an exotic memory in much less than a handful of months from now.
Get it while you can. Eat these fleeting, fresh concoctions spooned over everything: fried eggs, poached eggs, omelets, grilled meats, pulled chicken, folded into tortillas, tacos, piled on beans and rice, slathered on market bread with ripe avocado and cheese, just don't forget to overdo it. You will wish you had when you are huddled by your wood stove slurping stew for the 4th time in the week.
Of all the months, July sun is by far the best on the skin (when it's strong and directly overhead), and the tomatoes are a evidence of such. As they swell and blush, or as the tomatillos split open their capes and bust forth, or as the corn silks darken, let us take our cue.
This is the occasion to soak up each moment while in the very peak of the season's prime by putting it in the center of the table.

Fresh Corn and Tomatillo Salsa:
*1 cup fresh corn kernels
*1 1/2 cups fresh tomatillos, chopped
*1 cup sungold cherry tomatoes, quartered
*1 fresh ancho or poblano chili pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced
*1 sweet red pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced
*2-3 cloves garlic, minced
*white wine vinegar
*sea salt
*fresh ground black pepper
*olive oil
*1 bunch fresh basil or cilantro or both, chopped

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, adding vinegar, salt, pepper and oil to taste.
Adjust seasonings as you go.
Gently mix with a spoon.

Store in a glass gar fitted with a lid and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dilly Beans

The mountain of beans has been tamed...for the time being. I owe the red pepper heart idea to my friend Suzy in Bellingham, Washington. She is full of inspiration, and usually takes projects to the highest possible heights with extreme artistic devotion, charming everything she touches.
The garden is requiring regular harvests which then require a place to put them. The fridge is chaos. Supper generally includes zucchini three ways, beans three ways, cucumber three ways and maybe a poached egg. It's impossible to eat it all.
So an entire afternoon was reluctantly devoted to canning. Honestly, this method of putting-by is a mixed bag for me. I enjoy an aspect of it, but canning requires following stringent instructions (so you don't unintentionally gift your loved ones botulism over the Holidays), and the humid nature of the project isn't always fun. Gladly we are in a bit of a cool snap, and yesterday turned out to be the perfect day for leaning over a massive pot of boiling water and hot brine.
This is the time in the season for pushing ahead and getting things dealt with as best possible, despite being a little worn out, and possibly a bit uncomfortable throughout the process. There is still a large scoop of satisfaction in it all, and of course---little red pepper shapes to remind us to keep a grateful heart.

For Dilly Bean recipe, I referred to the National Center for Home Processing, and only added dill seed to the brine. Please note to carefully follow an official recipe without altering ingredients to maintain a safe pH.