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Showing posts from March, 2011

Fig Bars

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Fig Bars better than you remembered
Loving a food is nice, calling it your favorite is serious. You crave it, you dream about it, you go out of your way to bring it to your life. That was the way I felt about Fig Newtons before I cut out processed foods or most things with corn syrup. If you've ever eaten the brown clump plastic wrapped fig bars often stacked in lopsided piles at the register of NYC deli's you'll know there aren't too many good commercial replacements. THEN this recipe came to my life and offering a newer better kind of fig bar. Try remembering your favorite part of the fig newton, and then imagine it made 10x times better with butter, rich dried fruits, and a touch of almond. I adapted this recipe from the allrecipes website. It still has quirks, but it's good enough to pass on.
Fig Bars (makes 40)
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) 1 1/2 cups sugar 3 eggs 1 tblsp vanilla 1 tblsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup almond flour 3 cups flour
2lb figs 1 lb raisins 1 …

Dirt Talk Two Tonight at Sycamore

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I'm proud to present (for Prospect Farm), but still hesitant to host tonight's Dirt Talk Two: Garden Design at Sycamore Bar + Flowershop in Ditmas Park with Sustainable Flatbush.

Dirt Talk Two: Garden Design
With Speakers Tom Angotti with Jesse Alter (Hunter ) and Chris Kreussling (AKA Flatbush Gardener)
March 16th, 2011
7 – 9:30 pm
Downstairs @ Sycamore Bar and Flowershop, 21+
1118 Cortelyou RD, BK (Q train to Cortelyou)
$5 suggested donation (proceeds benefit Sustainable Flatbush & Prospect Farm)
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Tom Angotti and Jesse Alter led a group to Cuba in January that studied urban agriculture and organic farming. Tom teaches urban planning at Hunter College and helped start Prospect Farm in Brooklyn. Jesse is a graduate student at Hunter and works at the Center for Cuban Studies in New York.

Chris Kreussling (AKA Flatbush Gardener) is a garden coach with more than 30 years gardening experience in NYC. Chris is also the Director of the Urban Gardens and Farms initiative of Sustai…

Tomato Soup

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Really this red and really better than can soup from a can
I was sick earlier this month eating bread and soup for 7-10 days. Campbell's Tomato soup became dinner on more than one occasion. The soup has a nostalgic but salty sodium and tinny flavor. I discovered this weekend that it doesn't take much to make a soup that blows Campbell's lingering memory out of the way in 30-45 minutes. I also discovered the line between tomato soup, tomato sauce and bbq sauce can be a tricky one to walk. I used canned tomatoes, with summer a distant memory. You could easily roast fresh tomatoes if your climate or season allows.
Tomato Soup
1 red pepper 1 large onion, chopped 2 tblsp vegetable oil 36-38 oz canned crushed tomatoes (one big and one normal sized cans) 12 oz vegetable or chicken broth 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/4 tsp cayenne 1/4 tsp sriracha 1/2 tsp smoky Hungarian paprika 1 tsp sugar 4 drops liquid smoke (optional) 2 tblsp olive oil salt and pepper to taste
Core and de-seed red pepper. Wrap i…

Salmiakpastiller

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Strong candy, beautiful Finnish packaging

If you hadn't guessed from my Piparkakut recipe, I enjoy Finnish food, culture, and people. I had a chance to visit in 2003 traveling from Helsinki to Mantyharju to Rovaniemi to Pyha in Lapland and back. A beautiful trip filled with lakes, trains, reindeer, hiking, coffee, beer, and lots of great food. My travel companion and I stayed with JaakkoMatilla who led us berry picking in the countryside. Afterwards I pulled together a blueberry pie with the small blue berries (like the Maine variety) that no one has ever forgotten. The rest of the trip was filled with herring (creamed, pickled, fried, and stuffed in bread) and lots of liquorice treats.

Lapin Kulta, a not so fancy beer I enjoyed in Finland, 2003

Jaakko is visiting NYC this week, and I've been treated to an impressive ring of ruis rye bread from Nordic Breads NYC. I'm told is better than the kind in Finland. Jaakko also brought a bag of Salmiakki, or should I say SuperSalmiak…

Mini Pies

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2-bite sized perfect mini pies

Mini (palm sized) pies are roughly equivalent to cupcakes, plus a little bit of extra work rolling dough, minus the frosting, which no one but sugar freaks actually like anyways. My good pal Craig (Sugar Daddy) invented this idea one Christmas handing out individual mince pies at a party. This recipe is dedicated to him! So simple they should a phenomena found everywhere. Fill 'em up with apples or whatever pie you like. If you want to be fancy make 2 small batches of filing for variety. McDonald's has nothing on these.

Mini Pies

Whole Wheat Pie Crust
1 cup ice water
1 tblsp apple cider or white vinegar
1 cup fat (butter, or shortening, or a mix)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 egg, beaten

Apple filling
t tblsp water
1 tblsp brandy
8 oz dried fruit (pears, figs, apricots, raisins, dates etc), chopped coarsely
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced 1/4 - 1/2"
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinna…