Wednesday, October 13, 2010

End of the Harvest

This summer, we received a weekly visit from the Fennel Fairy. Our neighbor kindly bestowed the extra vegetables she received from her organic farm share. Alas, it's nearing the end of the harvest...which means, the pickin's are getting slim.

This week's harvest: apples, basil, green onions and daikon.

A giant "thank you" to our neighbor for sharing so much delightful produce.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Pie Crust Experiment

It's fall, and there's no better time for apple pie. So, I decided to make one this weekend.

Making pies makes me yearn for home. As a kid, my sister and I could be entertained for hours by our Mom and Grandmother (aka Nana) if pies were involved. We helped at each step in the process, excepting the actual baking part. Without the comraderie of my sister and mother, I chose to forge ahead anyway, and to up the ante by making two pies. Longing for Cortlands or Empires or McIntosh apples, I settled for a bag of generic red apples.

The experiment: a taste-test pitting my Aunt Ceil's pie crust recipe against America's Test Kitchen's Foolproof Pie Dough recipe.

Aunt Ceil's Pie Crust
(Makes 5-6 Shells)
2-1/2 c shortening (Butter-flavored works well)
5-1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vinegar
1 egg

Step 1: Crumb shortening, flour and salt together.
Step 2: In a 1-cup measuring cup, beat egg with vinegar. Fill remainder of cup with cold water.
Step 3: Add to crumb mixture
Step 4: Bake according to directions for filling.

The result: YUM in both cases. My great-aunt's recipe calls for fewer ingredients and might be a bit less "fussy." Our palettes noted little difference in the taste. The result: I'll keep proudly making Aunt Ceil's recipe.

(Co-author's comment: ATK's recipe has vodka in it... daddy like!)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Baba Ganoush

It sounds exotic, daring, and hard to make. For me it belonged in that category with unagi, saag paneer, gyros, and pupusas. That is: the food you love to eat at a restaurant, but would never honestly consider making at home. This is the food that you aren't even sure you know what's in it. Sure, they translate that it is an eggplant dip, but is something lost in translation?

I can say that after making Baba Ganoush on Sunday, the mystery is gone. It was delicious and only lasted four hours before we devoured all of it.

The recipe I used boils down to this: grill the halved eggplant for 30 minutes, let cool over a collander to eliminate some of the juice, process the meat of the eggplant with oil, peanut butter (or tahini if you have it), lemon juice and herbs, enjoy!

Lesson, don't be afraid to try to make something with an exotic sounding name. It may be quite easy to make and taste delicious.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Polenta vs Cornmeal

So yesterday Theresa and I were musing about polenta and cornmeal. What is the difference? At first we thought, they must be two entirely different things. Polenta is polenta and not cornmeal. However, if you've watched Alton brown's polenta/grits episode, you'd realize that polenta and grits are, for all intents and purposes the same.

So why not grits and cornmeal?

After a little research on the most trustworthy of sources, we found a reference to cornmeal and polenta. The author said in essence polenta is nothing more than coarse ground cornmeal.

So this morning, we made our favorite cornmeal recipe, substituting polenta for cornmeal. The recipe was Alton Brown's Hoecakes recipe from his "Going Dutch" episode.

BIG MISTAKE! These, psuedo pancakes were awful. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but they were not good. They tasted a little too salty, a little too earthy, and a little too something else.

I am going to get to the bottom of this mystery. If anyone has any tips on what the difference between cornmeal and polenta is exactly, please let me know.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Los Cabos--Delicious Peruvian Buffet

Since there isn't much open for lunch downtown, we wandered into uncharted territory today. I'm happy we did because we stumbled on Los Cabos.

Los Cabos is a friendly and delicious introduction to Peruvian food. They had a buffet with a wide variety of items to try. The food ranged from white fish with red, white and yellow sauces to cebeche to carne seca. Normally I shy away from seafood in buffets, but they were busy enough to keep it fresh. The waiter was friendly and even brought us a couple of beef skewers to try something off of the buffet.

The atmosphere was comfortable. The stuffed animal alpaca was a fun touch.

If I had to complain about anything, I would say the price was a little steep at $15 and the non-buffet item we ordered was a little slow. To be fair, the weekday buffet is only $8.95 and it was main attraction.

All in all, I recommend Los Cabos as a fine introduction to Peruvian food. If you go, don't miss the carne seca. It was my favorite.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Garbage Disposal

It's 4:30pm on Thanksgiving, guests arriving any minute for 5:00pm dinner and our friend Rob 's torso is buried in the sink cabinet, playing Operation with the pipes.

We averted an absolute disaster because we're lucky (and because Rob is handy). I shouldn't say "we," I should say "I." What caused the sink to back-up? I put sweet potato peels in the garbage disposal.

Which raises the question of what can and can't be put in the garbage disposal? And from our research, there are differing answers. One web site states that peels are ok but egg shells are not, while a fellow blogger sites the reverse.

There are some items I wouldn't dream of putting in the disposal (anything that gets larger when put in water, like rice). Are there rules for what should (and shouldn't) put in a disposal?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Scoring Contraband

We've found a resource for raw goat's milk and it's less than 30 minutes from home! Our "contribution" supports a youngster's 4-H efforts, as she learns how to manage a profitable business.

As I write, we're pressing off the whey and turning it into goat milk cheddar. The recipe recommends aging it for 4-12 weeks. Patience, grasshopper.