•September 21, 2012 • 1 Comment
Late summer’s tomatoes are particularly sweet, and going to the farmers market this time of year brings tomatoes in every which color and hue – green zebras, Italian hearts, sun golds and bright yellow fully fleshed out tomatoes. They pair particularly well with bitter dandelion greens, and just to add more summer (in late September, one can never have too much summer), I thinly, and safely, sliced a yellow squash on my mandolin. The thin slices of squash were treated to a bit of salt to bring out the water, a squeeze, and a gentle saute. Whisking together a bit of red miso, mirin, rice vinegar, sesame oil and pepper, I dressed the greens lightly before adding in the tomatoes (and their accompanying sweet juice) and the sauteed squash.
Before that little foray into summer, I had started on the blini batter, and not realizing the recipe called for yeast and 2.5 – 3 hours of letting the yeast do its thang, I gave it as much time as possible before lightly frying the blinis. Skipping the sour cream, and not being able to properly hand whisk the egg white into stiff peaks, did not result in the most light and fluffy blinis known to man, but the crust was lovely, and let’s be honest, the blinis were just a vehicle for my prized birthday treat of Russian caviar! Ta-da! Exploding like riots inside my mouth, the salmon roe had all the salty goodness of the sea, and by the 5th or 6th blini I had stopped using the blini as a vehicle, and just started using a spoon. What a treat!
Wholewheat Blinis with Caviar
•June 10, 2012 • 2 Comments
The threat of rain and a very special, newly arrived VIP chased us indoors to a make-shift picnic on the living room floor but still retained all the celebration in the name of the Queen’s Jubilee.
Dandelion greens, lemon, and almond salad
Cheese & chutney sandwiches in adorable brown paper bags
Mushy pea fritters with a light and only slightly tangy yogurt sauce
Strawberries from the farmers market with freshly whipped cream drizzled with quince sauce
Scones from England and jam
Chicken Liver Mousse with Thyme Riesling Gelee (the last jar!)
Pre-dinner snacks and candies from China courtesy of Leah’s recent trip
White wine and Chinese liquor aka rubbing alcohol
The Queen herself
•June 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Ever since I tried the strawberry rhubarb hand pie from One Girl Cookies in DUMBO, I’ve had a desire to replicate these delicious hand-held treats in my own kitchen. And since I hadn’t cooked rhubarb before at all, I thought I’d get some at the Grand Army Farmers’ Market and make not only hand pies, but the rhubarb syrup for soda that Tasting Table posted recently.
Spiced Rhubarb Soda Syrup
The soda syrup recipe is a breeze, combining rhubarb, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, peppercorns, cardamom and instead of celery seeds, I added fennel seeds (taking a note out of Saffron and Honey’s modification). Strain, chill, add to seltzer water and enjoy! I know I have been!
Tasting Table’s Rhuby Red Soda Syrup
Strawberry-Rhubarb Hand Pies:
Although it seemed a shame to use the ripe in-season strawberries, there were a few that were a little overripe that were perfect for baking. The recipe from Biscuits and Such called for a little sour cream, and vegetable shortening, but of course, next time I could try lard for the crust. These turned out beautifully!
A few oozes but perfectly golden crust!
Biscuits and Such’s Recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies
•June 1, 2012 • 1 Comment
Ksenia and I ventured to The Brooklyn Kitchen one Wednesday night in May to take a class on pig butchering, but not before stopping in the Kitchen to purchase some Weck jars. The class started by Sara informing us on where the roughly 7-month old Berkshire pig she was about to break down came from – Farmer Bruce, from Sir William Berkshire farm in Dutchess County, NY. Throughout the class, she broke down the pig, literally from head to tail, making 3 major cuts on the body, while also cooking up some very tasty Meat Hook made sausage and simply prepared pork sirloin chop from a pig that had been butchered that afternoon.
Sara displays her butchery arsenal.
The Meat Hook’s meat locker
Wrestling the leg joint out of ham
After such displays of meat, I purchased some Boerewors sausage, traditional South African sausage meaning ‘farmers sausage’, and cooked up some supper, along with some spring peas, spinach and scallions.
Add in some roasted peaches, and I can taste summer already.
•May 23, 2012 • 2 Comments
I’m a sucker for chicken liver.
Once I have a taste, even just a small teaspoon, I’ll be back for seconds and thirds until a sizable chunk is missing. Ever since Bon Appetit published a recipe for Chicken Liver Mousse with Thyme and Riesling Gelee in their December 2011 issue, the recipe has lingered at the back of my mind, until I had to give in and not only try my hand at the chicken liver, but also at baking bread for the first time. Hello Test Kitchen Sunday.
The creation of the chicken liver mousse was, I’m sure as you can imagine, quite un-glamourous involving soaking the livers in milk and pureeing butter into the liver, but the end result was incredibly delicious. A girl can’t eat all these jars of chicken liver by herself though.
One jar to the office. One jar for Mother’s Day. And another jar carefully stowed in the freezer for a not too far in the future picnic.
Bon Appetit Recipe: Chicken Liver Mousse with Riesling-Thyme Gelee
NY Times and Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread Recipe
Chicken liver mousse with thyme and riesling, along with freshly baked bread, made a decadent addition to Mother’s Day brunch and thus was all gobbled down. Thank goodness my mother likes chicken liver mousse.
Below, the spread: asparagus and leek frittata, ripe cantaloupe, hot cross buns with a liberal helping of coffee and mimosas.
Next time – Weck jars for presentation! Hurrah for Test Kitchen Sundays!
•May 3, 2012 • 1 Comment
It was almost warm enough to enjoy the backyard at the James Beard House, and while some took to the outside as respite from having to manhandle your way through the hors d’oeuvres, it wasn’t summery enough for the House to fully set up drinks and appetizers outside. But spring is blooming, and as the beautiful bouquets in the dining room were any testament, spring is on its way.
Dinner from Chez Pascal, Providence, Rhode Island
The spring bouquets – irresistible!
Terrine of goat cheese, early spring vegetables, and hard boiled eggs
Chicken drumstick stuffed with fava beans and raclette with crispy potato anna
North Atlantic halibut en papillote with ramps, fennel and spoonful of rather tart lemon, parsley and mustard
Slow roasted pork neck roll with a potato and morel gratin and buttered turnips
Lemon souffle pudding with rhubarb soup, strawberry gelee and garnished with tiny ribbons of mint
Not only did we sit in the grownup section but we were luckily not seated with some of the rather verbose dinner guests who have a tendency to force everyone to make toasts at every course. Hurrah!
•April 15, 2012 • 1 Comment
Celebrating at Hot Bird, old school with Ring Dings and crayon candles and pretending Brandon and James turned 5 and 4, respectively.
James blows out his candles
Candles relight for Brandon
Food tatts courtesy of Tattly