Everybody's Gotta Eat
I really have to get back to updating more often. I'm forgetting the details. AND I'm going to try to write recipes more.
Wednesday Dinner: Right Dish, Wrong Season
Pork Meatballs with Red Spinach, Thumbelina Carrots and Coconut Milk; Sticky Rice. Not sure what brought this on, but it was completely wrong for the weather. Fish sauce, shallots, can't recall what else. Good though.
Thursday Breakfast: There Was Still Bacon in the Fridge
Coconut Milk Crepes filled with Coconut Jam; Sheep Yogurt; Jowl Bacon. These crepes were problematic. I was a little too liberal with the coconut milk, but I didn't want to use another egg. But they ended up crispy around the edges and very tender in the middle(to the point that a few of them fell apart a little). But man o man, they were good. Some wheat germ for a little added character. And that coconut jam is really good. I think it's just cooked-down coconut milk and palm sugar. Just don't put in the refrigerator if you ever want to get it out of the jar. I learned that lesson with the last jar. Available at better Asian markets(or not-so-great ones as long as they carry Filipino products).
Thursday Dinner: Raw Food
It was hot, and I had learned my lesson the night before. So I made some completely uncooked food. I don't know how I feel about raw food diets. I think eating some raw food is good for you, but everything? Some vegetables taste much better slightly cooked. Raw shell peas? chalky. And no poached eggs? That's not a life. Who wants to live until their 100 anyway?
So I made two things. First, the soup above. Tomato, zucchini, green bell pepper, olive oil, sumac, sherry vinegar, a couple of hedge mustard seeds.
Then a salad. The most powerful salad I have ever eaten. Raw chiogga beets, 2 cloves raw garlic, arugula, cider vinegar. Sinus-clearing to say the least.
Friday Dinner: Fancy Snobby New Ingredients Day Dinner.
Poached Purple Thumbelina Carrots wrapped in a Shiso leaf, Carrot Syrup, Sesame Oil, Sumac, Sea Salt.
Seared Sea Scallops, Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes, Lollo Rossa Lettuce with Hedge Mustard Dressing, Blackened Shishito Peppers, Hawaiian pink salt.
The difference between seafood bought from a local one-boat operation and from some huge trawler halfway around the world may be totally mental, but I'll be damned if it doesn't taste better. Best sea scallops I ever had. Sweet, perfect texture. I mean, I cooked them pretty well too. But the quality cannot be mistaken.
Also, I made sharbat-e albalu. Iranian sour-cherry syrup. I had it once, but never really thought about making myself. But then I read a little essay about it in the NY Timed Dining Section and saw it included a recipe. And then I saw sour cherries at the Greenmarket. So I made some. And I added vanilla, which is traditional but was not in the recipe. It is really good. And I also have a jar of sour cherries in syrup, which I will have to find a use for.
1.5 lbs of sour cherries, stemmed and washed.
2.5 cups of sugar
juice of one lime
1.75 cups of water
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Combine sugar, lime juice and water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, wrap cherries in a double-layer of cheesecloth and tie securely. When syrup boils, gently lower cherries into the pan. Cover, turn burner to low, and cook for 25 minutes. Lift cherries out of the syrup, holding above the pan to allow syrup to drain out. Set cherries aside to cool. When cherries and syrup have cooled, put cherries in the bottom of a clean jar and pour syrup on top. I ended up with enough syrup for two quart jars, so I put the cherries in one jar and left the other only syrup. Mix 1 part syrup with 3-4 parts water or seltzer. You could also put it on ice cream or yogurt or make a cocktail with it if you want.
Pranzo di Sabato
I was inspired, or bored, or both. But whatever it was, I spent three hours making myself dinner. It was the most Italian dinner I have made in a long time. So I have translated the dishes into Italian. I hope I was accurate.
Fagiolini al Pesto e Fiori di Zucchine con Purè di Pisella
Wax Beans with Basil Pesto and Fried Zucchini Flowers with Pea Puree
I am not the biggest fan of wax beans. I guess the name is in reference to the color, but usually it seems to describe the taste as well. But the specimens from Yuno's Farm were so beautiful I gave them a try. And they taste as good as they look, or at least have some flavor which is normally lacking from wax beans. And green beans and pesto is one of my favorite things, so I thought I'd try it with the wax beans. The pesto was basil, almonds, pecorino romano, olive oil.
The pea puree from the ravioli of last week was so good I wanted to use it again. I found squash blossoms(9 for $3!) at the Greenmarket. Really simple batter(olive oil, milk, flour, salt, seltzer). I burned the roof of my mouth eating the first one directly out of the pan, but it was worth it.
Orecchiette con Polpettine, Pomodoro e Menta
Orecchiette with Meatballs, Tomatoes and Mint
I made orecchiette for the first time. Supposedly there is a trick you do with the tip of a knife to shape them into shells. I do not know the trick. The only description I could find(in The Silver Spoon) was to "drag them, one at a time, slowly over the counter using the tip of a knife to form small shells." I'm sorry, but that is not terribly descriptive. But I think I figured it out on the last few. And I made them with an egg dough, which is not typical. The meatballs were pork, pecorino, cayenne, salt, and black pepper, made very small(approx. 3/4" in dia.) and browned in butter. Sauteed shallots and sliced tomatoes, Kentucky Colonel Mint(from Keith's Farm, very strong), sea salt and olive oil. The orecchiette could have been more consistent in thickness, but the texture and taste were good.
Semifreddo di Yogurt della Capra
Goat Yogurt Semifreddo
I bought some goat's milk yogurt from Saxelby Cheesemongers that comes from my favorite goat dairy upstate, Stone and Thistle Farm. Anne said it was pretty tangy(she had previously recommended the 3-Corner Field Farm Sheep Yogurt over it, which is very good) so I thought I would give it a try. I have been in a frozen yogurt mood of late, but due to my ailing ice cream maker that was out of the question. And I had never made a semifreddo before, so I tried it. And it is good. Be aware that this will use a lot of bowls. This makes enough for two people. I exhibited unnatural self-control and only ate half. I will eat the rest tonight.
Goat Yogurt Semifreddo
1 egg, separated
1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/2 cup goat yogurt(or sheep or cow)
1/8 cup of sugar(superfine if you have it)
In one bowl, whisk the egg white to stiff peaks. In another bowl, whisk the cream to stiff peaks. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolk and sugar until pale and sorta fluffy. Add the yogurt to this until well-combined, but gently. Gently fold in the egg white, then the whipped cream. Line a small bowl with plastic wrap(16 oz or so, or souffle dish or mold or whatever. I used a little pyrex bowl that made for a nice dome shape). Gently pour or spoon the mixture in to the lined bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. Seven or eight hours is a good idea. remove the semifreddo from the freezer 30 minutes before you want to eat it. I ate it with pureed raspberries, but the sharbat-e albalu might be nice. I will try tonight.
Sunday Breakfast: Pancakes Again
Whole wheat, wheat germ, almond flour, corn meal, with Grade B maple syrup from beautiful West Glover, VT .