Showing posts from November, 2009

Apple Pie For All Tables

Nothing says you care like a pie!

When asked to bring a dessert for Thanksgiving (or other holiday party situation) my first thought it is not pumpkin pie. I respect pumpkin pie's place on the menu, but acknowledge it is up to the host to serve it or not. Inevitably there will be a taste comparison, and possible pie flinging. 2 pumpkin pies are not as welcome as 1 pumpkin pie and 1 apple pie. Apples are convientally avalible year round at fruit stands and grocery stores. Go granny smith (a texture that holds up to heat), maybe with some mackintosh thrown in for sweetness. You can play around with other apples, but I stick to those 2 varieties.

Apple Pie

2 1/2 cups flour (I use 1 1/2 cups unbleached white + 1 cup whole wheat)
1 pinch of salt
1 big pinch of sugar
1 cup chilled butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/4 - 1/2 cup ice cold water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 lbs apples, peeled, quartered, cored, sliced 1/8" thick
1/2 cup sugar, or more
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tsp van…

Thanksgiving Tradition I Broke and Paid For

Ready - set - unmold, but follow the directions!

Traditional Thanksgiving recipes are in place to greet and comfort us every last Thursday of November, gently reminding us we love our nation and family. Wrong. They are here because we know they work, and we know they can feed a crowd. A crowd of friends, family, and family that (sometimes) needs to be impressed. I broke this tradition by attempting to update my favorite cranberry dish. A satisfying slurry of fruit and sugar joined with jello. A dish that makes the turkey oh so tasty/sweet/sour/and moist where there is (most times) no moisture. I used apple juice in place of sugar, and hence the jello did not gel, and the cranberries tasted bitter. Also I tried dark cherry jello in place of the suggested flavors, which was too over-powering. Do not try that version, instead I present a recipe that works in all its sugary glory and tips on molding this cran glam salad.

Donabedian/Lyon Family Cranberry Salad

1 3 oz package of orange jello
1 …

CSA The Last Week

Looks like Mr. Carrot left the house without pants, dirty!

I thought the size of the zucchini my first week of the Ditmas Park CSA was obscene, well-hell, nothing is more shocking then the very perverted looking carrot I got today. Today also brought sweet potatoes! I love em up, and thanks to Jorge for an extra one. Did he remember that I asked earlier in the season about my favorite sweet tuber? And cheese! That's right, Jorge has made a batch.

Multiple this times ten, as usual.

2 Squash, spaghetti and ?
2 heads garlic
1 onion
2 peppers
5 green tomatoes
1 head of cauliflower
1 head of broccoli
4 sweet potatoes
many Yukon gold potatoes
4 turnips
1 bag of greens, turnip top greens, maybe

Farewell to my Ditmas Park CSA until next late spring/early summer. Until then I will manage on grocery store vegetables, but try not let it get me down.

A-B-C Easy Vegetable Broth

Make everything better, even your congestion.

Add x-y-z cups of water and boil for 1-2-3 minutes. Its a basic step in cooking savory sauces, gravies, vegetables, soups, rices, and more more more. Using broth in place of water makes a meal better than mom's.

Broth is just scraps. The ends/skins/cores/stems of veggies. That's it. The dark green end of leeks are my favorite broth ingredient. Leeks make pretty golden and slurping good broth. Onion and garlic skins are in second place, followed by peeled carrot skins and green or red pepper cores, and herb (rosemary, thyme, parsley, and sage) stems. After I finish chop chopping up vegetables for a meal I put the unsightly ends in a zip bag for the freezer. When its full, time for broth, free broth!

A-B-C Easy Vegetable Broth

1 gallon of water
1 teaspoon of salt
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
2-4 dark green ends of leeks, thoroughly rinsed and roughly chopped
ends and skins of onions, roughly chopped
skins of garlic
a few fresh herb stems and a…

Cauliflower Roasted in Herb Oil

Side dish to show off

I find cauliflower a severe white mussy vegetable, especially boiled. Its sulfurous taste is meaner than broccoli or brussel spouts. Roasting it mellows the flavor, making it nutty and a touch crispy. I like to cook my cauliflower at a high heat in the oven. Roasting can scorch garlic, and often make herbs bitter. Infusing oil with the seasonings before drizzling over the cauliflower evenly distributes flavor, but prevents the seasonings from burning before the cauliflower is ready.

Cauliflower Roasted in Herb Oil

1/2 cup olive oil
10-15 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1 stem of fresh rosemary and leaves
10 leaves of fresh sage
1 1/2 lb cauliflower, coarsely chopped into florets
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put the first 6 ingredients in a small sauce pan, and heat on low. The oil will be just barley bubbling, and you should hear little to no sizzling sounds. Cook until the garlic is golden on the edges, swirling t…

Pot of Local Black Beans and Company

Real meal.

Black beans are a popular favorite in my kitchen. Velvety soft with a deep savory flavor that stands in for meat. Once the beans are ready they are happy on a plate with other foods including eggs, rice, pork or chicken, sweet potatoes, corn bread, kale or chard, and many more mid-autumn and winter favorites. I buy mine from Cayuga Farms, which has a stand at Wednesday's Union Square Farmer's Market. Get them in bulk, make fewer trips, and take benefit of Cayuga's price breaks.

Pot of Local Black Beans and Company

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 tblsp olive oil
12 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped, divided
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped, divided
2 cups dried black beans, rinsed
2 qt water
1 bottle of beer (you can even use a local one, I use Brooklyn Larger!)
1 tsp plus 1 tblsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sriracha (chili paste), optional
1/2 cup olive oil
4 large leaves of kale, sliced into ribbons
salt and pepper

Saute the onion in 2 tblsp olive oil until transparent in a lar…

CSA Week 20

Cool weather vegetables.

This would be the last week of my CSA, but I bought into the extended share. The arrival of different vegetables confirm my enthusiasm. Two kinds of turnips, oh yeah. My farmer is still harvesting tomatoes. Miraculous. Jorge says he planted 4 times, and has greenhouses. The only problem I have is whether or not the couple I am sharing my CSA with will follow through! No check, and no replies to my recent email, uh. I may be choking down a full share every week, or most likely, finding ways to freeze, and preserve.

3 tomatoes, ripe
3 tomatoes, green
1 onion
3 turnips
3 purple and white turnips
8 yukon gold potatoes
1 bag of spinach
1 large bunch of kale (tastes better than any other week)
1 bunch of sage
1 medium head of cauliflower
2 green peppers
3 lbs red and green apples
1 half of a large butternut squash