Monday, August 27, 2007

Heat Wave Denial food, Pt. 2

Another heat wave? Yes. Did I seem to care? Not so much. But I am posting a recipe that I think is pretty damn good(and easy, and you can wait until cooler weather to make it). I also used fresh ricotta in more things than I have in my entire life. It is delicious.
First, the rundown:

Lima Bean and Tomato Risotto
White wine, butter, olive oil, shallots, basil

Sauteed Mustard Greens, Jalapenos, Capers, Salt

Cream of Zucchini Soup with Parsley

Black Pepper Popovers

Fried Eggplant and Ricotta thing(someone would probably call it a napoleon) with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Pecorino Romano, Fresh Basil
Mustard Green & Wild Concord Grape Salad with Sesame Oil

Not really cooking, but delicious: White Peach, Portuguese Sweet Bread, Fresh Ricotta, Honey

Black Pepper Popovers stuffed with Poached Eggs, Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Ricotta, Green Chile Jam(made at the Taos Food Center and ridiculously good), Pecorino Romano, and this strange, soapy herb from the Prospect Park/15th St Greenmarket that I have yet to identify.

Portuguese Sweet Bread French Toast, Sour Cherry Syrup, Fresh Ricotta, Cantaloupe

Baked Egg with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Fresh Ricotta; Red Potato, Zucchini, Jalepeno Hash.

Roasted Eggplant, Pistachio and Beef Meatballs with a light Tomato-Wine Sauce; Lemon Cucumber and Tomato Sambal; Crazy Soapy Herb, Basil and Almond Pesto; Fresh Ricotta

And here is the recipe:

English Muffins
After some fiddling with a basic bread recipe, and consulting whatever data I have collected in my brain every time I bake anything, I devised this recipe.
3 cups of flour(2-1 all-purpose to whole wheat is what I did, but feel free to experiment)
2.5 tsp wheat gluten
2 tsp salt
1 .5 tsp sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
150 ml warm water
150 ml milk
1 Tbsp Barley Malt(dissolve it in the water and milk)

Combine the dry ingredients well in a large bowl. Add the water/milk/malt mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or your hand until a soft, smooth dough forms, adjusting with additional water or flour if necessary. You con't really want to knead it very much, and if the dough feels right you can simply leave it in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a damp towel until the dough has doubled in size.
Seperate the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls, then flatten until 3/4" thick and transfer to a lightly floured board. Cover with a cloth(or reuse that same piece of plastic wrap) and let rise until doubled in size.
Heat a heavy pan(preferably cast iron) until very hot and cook the muffins a few at a time until brown(but not burnt) on both sides(approx. 3 minutes per side).
You can fork-split and toast them further if you want. Or simply split them and eat them like this:

Cato Corner Womanchego Cheeseburger on Homemade English Muffin with Arugula and Dijon Mustard; Lima Bean, Corn, Cherry Tomato, and Yard Long Bean Succotash.

Red Pepper and Arugula Homefries; Poached Egg; Fresh Ricotta; Pecorino Romano; Weird Bagel Bread(made with english muffin dough which was boiled and baked - a respectable attempt and a delicious bread)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Holiday, sort of.

So last week I went to Martha's Vineyard with my family to stay in part of our friend's rambling ramshackle house. It was wonderful as always. The Vineyard is probably my favorite place out of everywhere I've been because I can go there and not think about anything. It's like riding a bicycle(which I also do more there than normal) - as soon as I get there it's as if I never left.
But of course I had to cook. I brought some ingredients with me(everything there is REALLY expensive), including 10 or 11 lbs of the tomatoes shown above(picked at previously mentioned Starlight Gardens in Durham, CT). I didn't take many photos, so I may struggle to remember everything. Here we go...

Cornmeal-Fresh Corn-White Nectarine Pancakes with Homemade Butter.

Some grapes growing behind the house. I made a proto-verjus.

A brandade-ish codfish spread. Fresh cod smoked with pecan wood, white onion, heirloom tomatoes, mayonnaise, smoked paprika.

Green Beans with Sweet Onion, Pink Salt, roasted Green Peppers, Sungold Tomatoes, Protoverjus.

Summer Squash Terrine with Basil Paste, Basil Oil, Balsamic Vinegar.

Crispy Potato-bottomed Tomato-Cheddar Frittata with Fresh Herbs.

Homemade Fettucine(to use up the eggs in my fridge before I left town) with Fresh Tomato Sauce(very basic - a mix of tomatoes through the foodmill, salt, olive oil, parmesan rind) and turkey Meatballs(with golden raisins)

Cucumber Salad(mayonnaise, protoverjus and cream dressing)

Beer and Milk Fried Chicken with Halaby Pepper

Layered Baked Ratatouille with Basil Oil and Garlic.

Chowchowish condiment - tomato, cucumber, green pepper, plum, onion, protoverjus, salt, sugar

Whole wheat-Cornmeal-Banana-Whipped Egg White Pancakes

Cornmeal Fried Cod and Pan-Grilled Steak Tacos with Homemade Whole-Wheat Tortillas(thanks Maggie for the perfect rolling with that plastic coke cup!), Tomato-Sweet Onion Salsa, Cucumber-Green Pepper Salsa

Five Star Bakery of New Bedford Portuguese Sweet Bread french Toast with Blueberry-Peach Salad, Bacon

Mustard Seed Grilled Swordfish

Smoked Paprika Grilled Squid

Cold Corn Soup

Grilled Summer Squash, Green Peppers, Onions with Balsamic

Bok Choy and Strangely Oversized Green Bean Salad.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Rumors of My Death Were Mildly Exaggerated

Hello everyone. I am happy to report(for my sake at least) that I have not died and gone wherever it is one goes when that happens. I have just been a jerk and ignored this thing. Not that I haven't been eating or cooking, I just haven't been doing as much of it as usual, as people seemed to want to visit with me, and when people visit I don't have a lot of time to cook. AND NOT that I don't appreciate a good visit now and then, but I can only eat at restaurants so many times before I start to go a bit mad. And though there were some highlights of these meals cooked by others(Shopsin's milkshake, Noodle House in Flushing for soup dumplings, Dumont burger, some pretty good barbecued brisket given a pastrami treatment at Fette Sau, etc) sometimes I'm just not that impressed with or interested in restaurant meals.
So to keep this short I am sticking to highlights of my own cooking since the last post, plus maybe a few photos I thought were nice(for example, the wild apples above which were picked in a graveyard(OOOOoooooOOOOOOoooooOOOOOO) and are now sauce in the back of my fridge).
Here we go...

This flour and egg became the dough for zucchini ravioli. I can hardly remember what it was served with - three-corner-field farm sheepmilk ricotta and something else... This was part of a meal I cooked at my parents' house for the first family dinner in a while. There was also a cold corn soup with dill and a cold tomato soup with dill flowers.

And a salad of Lollo Rossa lettuce, Upland Cress, duck confit and a poached quail egg.

And then Sugarplum Sorbet and Sugarplum Shortbread(abstracted from a super-classic scottish recipe from a Scottish hospice nurse, with help from my baking brother).

And then exceptional wheat flour/corn meal pancakes with the whipped egg white method, plus massachusetts blueberries, ny apricots, and raspberries and blackberries from the back yard.

My variation on Keller's crazy ratatouille(actually a vegetable bayaldi) from the amazing film "Ratatouille." I guess "Vegetable Bayaldi" isn't a terribly catchy name for a film, and also does not contain the word "rat." Turkish eggplant, two kinds of heirloom tomato, a delicious kind of zucchini(all from Yuno's farm, my favorite) with a roasted red pepper puree, olive oil and Halaby pepper, a Lebanese crushed sweet-hot pepper. Served atop some whole wheat couscous with whipped middle eastern yogurt.

Vegetable Biyaldi filled crepes.

Zucchini, roasted red pepper and shishito pepper sauté with crispy fried egg and the incredibly dense whole wheat bread(with raisin and apricot puree as a yeast feeder)

Two okras two ways(purple okra sauteed, green okra rolled in cornmeal and fried) with charred tomatillos, heirloom tomato and green shiso

Blueberry-Almond Flour pancakes

Spaghetti alla Chitarra with fried Turkish eggplant, tomato, escarole, pecorino romano and egg yolk.

Roasted red pepper, garlic and almond puree; roasted eggplant and labneh puree; whole wheat couscous and shishito pepper.

Potato cake cooked in duckfat, green heirloom tomato, escarole, pink salt

Arborio rice dumplings, okra, padron peppers, yogurt, olive oil

Braised short ribs in green pumpkin seed sauce; charred corn and tomato salsa; mizuna and fresh cheese(I made cheese!) and homemade flour tortillas(thanks to HomesickTexan for posting the great recipe - it is so ridiculously simple that everyone should make them).

Sweet corn soup with basil puree, fresh cheese, and pink salt. Thank goodness for foodmills.

My take on Imam Bayaldi("The Imam Fainted"). I call it "Aşçı Bayaldi" or "The Cook Fainted" because it took so much work. Zucchini, smoked onion and bulghur-stuffed Japanese eggplant with smoked tomato sauce and mizuna salad.
I figured out how to use my wok as a smoker. I am very excited.

Chocolate ice cream with ground sumac, nutmeg, and orange flower water. My ice cream maker is working again. I am very happy about that.

Green bean, grilled yellow zucchini and white onion salad with sesame oil.

Adirondack All-red potato gnocchi with basil pesto and fresh cheese. I am almost getting the hang of gnocchi. These were almost light and pillowy.

Sweet corn, avocado squash an red onion hash with poached eggs

Mizuna, heirloom tomato and salt salad

Orange Watermelon

Coconut Peanut ice cream

Avocado squash, yellow zucchini and tomato casserole with Halaby pepper.

Green bean, red onion, and Adirondack All-red shoestring fried potatoes with basil pesto.

Mizuna, fried red onion, and crisp braised short rib.

Next week I am on Martha's Vineyard, and plan on cooking some updated and/or deconstructed versions of dishes from the Martha's vineyard cookbook, and also doing some squid jigging, otherwise known as fishing for squid. I promise I will post more often from now on. Probably.
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