Monday, June 27, 2011
The hottest item to hit the farmer's market scene: Poussins. About as large as your hand, these young pasture raised chickens from local East Fork Farm yield tender, dark, succulent meat with gelatin rich bones. One bird is ideal for a single serving and best eaten with your hands, a delicacy well suited for a lively dinner party. A perfect match for roasted early potatoes and braised garden greens. Bon appetit!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I can't think of a better way to celebrate the first day of summer than by making a batch of ice cream. The raspberry canes in the garden are completely doubled over with the weight of this year's crop. Already filling their own corner of the freezer, we are struggling to keep up with picking as they ripen. A fine problem to have.
Abundance is such a common occurrence this time of year, it becomes almost easy to take it for granted. I am literally throwing salad greens at the neighbors, meanwhile, I've eaten so many salads myself I'm in danger of getting bored. Yet here lies the loveliness of nature: it is continuously changing. Right when you think you can't eat another snap pea or bowl of spinach, another crop feverishly comes on. This continues throughout the growing season, with yields robust enough to effortlessly put by for later months. A true treat when you are enjoying a peach smoothie in October.
But I have not tired of raspberries yet, although I've eaten without abandon. Whirled with creamy coconut milk and maple syrup, this raspberry ice cream is sheer frozen summertime bliss; just in time for the blueberries to arrive. Oh the possibilities. . .
Fresh Raspberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream: (Requires an electric ice cream machine)
*1 can (or 13.5 oz) high quality full fat coconut milk
*scant 1/2 cup real maple syrup
*3 heaping handfuls fresh ultra-ripe raspberries (about 2 cups)
Prepare ice cream machine (I recommend Cuisinart's model, about $45) by freezing mixing vessel for 8 hours prior to ice cream making.
Whisk coconut milk and maple syrup together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour into ice cream maker. Add raspberries after churning has begun. Once contents freeze to desired consistency, (about 20 minutes) immediately scoop into bowls and serve. Leftovers (if there are any) can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Special in its ultra-simplicity, roasted cauliflower is one of my favorite ways to eat this commonly under appreciated brassica. The deep, nutty flavor brought out by roasting makes this dish a great side to anything from grilled meats to garlicky dips and spreads. Anne from Gaining Ground Farm had a gorgeous assortment of purple and white varieties displayed last week at market.
If you often ignore cauliflower for lack of knowing what to do with it, you will be pleasantly surprised how flavorful it truly is, tossed with nothing more than olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper before a brief hiatus in the oven. I like when some of the best dishes are this effortless.
Here are some more reasons to put this veggie on the table:
Cauliflower contains a phytochemical called sulforaphane which has been associated with preventing cancer. Another chemical also present in cauliflower, known as indole-3-carbinol, enhances the repair of DNA, decreasing the rate of cancer cell growth. In particular, those who consume high levels of cauliflower have a reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
In addition, you gain a relatively high amount of fiber, folate, and vitamin C when consuming the vegetable. Eat up. . .
*2-3 fresh cauliflower heads, rinsed and chopped into florets
*extra virgin olive oil
*fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375.
In a medium mixing bowl, toss cauliflower florets with enough olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Spread onto a lined baking sheet and roast until slightly golden, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove from oven. Serve warm or cold.
Add toasted pine nuts, almonds or fresh chopped basil after roasting.
Friday, June 10, 2011
At a recent party, my friend David (stonescaping extraordinaire by day, creative foodie by night) arrived with an appetizer worthy of recreation. His brilliantly stuffed marinated peppers lit up like little packages of flavor in your mouth. Not only were they fantastic to look at, they drew party goers to them not unlike a confident street performer. They arrived, took their position, then worked their magic.
Thin slivers of blood orange and lemon peel elevated the filling of creamy goat cheese and salty olive perfectly. They did not last long. And thankfully, as I was pulling pulled pork from the oven, a friend came up to me and insisted I take a moment to go and try one. Only a few remained.
The best part? No heat of the oven required, and assembly is stress-free. May they become a welcome addition to your next gathering.
David's Stuffed Peppers:
*15-20 marinated peppers (often found on olive bars of specialty grocery stores)
*15-20 pitted cured kalamata or green olives
*4 oz package high quality chevre, room temp
*1 organic blood orange
*1 organic lemon
*handful of garlic chives
Choose firm peppers when shopping for ingredients. Begin by fitting a pitted olive into each pepper. Cut the corner tip from package of chevre. Pipe into the center of each olive, overfilling slightly.
Peel the rind from blood orange and lemon, avoiding the white pith. Cut lengthwise into very, very thin strips. Place lemon and orange slivers into the goat cheese filling with a small garlic chive sprig. Serve at room temperature.
Can be assembled in advance, wrapped and refrigerated until serving time.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
It's that time again- when I gush on a recent food image which literally stopped me in my magazine-flipping tracks. Of course, it appeared in SAVEUR. Somehow this foodie publication never fails to capture the brilliant moments in food culture.
The cropped image of these two women, (photographed by Todd Colman) says so much. (I had the magazine turned to this page while cooking, thus the addition of splattered cream). I love everything about the photo: from the mismatched stools to their fantastic old-school aprons. I gather they must know one another, perhaps are even sisters, and no doubt, know exactly what they're doing with that dough.
If I were standing there watching; their practiced hands expertly slapping pieces of dough into disks, I would enjoy overhearing their conversation. It probably included plenty of good neighborhood gossip intertwined with guttural laughs and broad smiles. I imagine the sun has made its mark upon their faces. I know they can cook meals fit for kings. . in their sleep. Yet they most likely cook mainly for family and visitors with as much ease as breathing itself.
I bet the meal following this dough session was one to remember: rich with pungent spices and years of fine tuning, steeped in centuries of authentic Mexican tradition. For a Scotch-English white girl, I can almost taste it as if it were my own.