Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Monday Monday

October 19, 2009

Wow – cold snap!

This weekend was miserably cold and damp, and I was not ready. Where was my cool fall weather? Crisp air with warm golden sun? Nothing!

Thankfully, the chill was kept at bay with a beef stew made from a lovely round roast from the Greenmarket with Japanese white turnips (Yunnos), onions, and red wine as a base. I served all that up with the last of the chestnut/mushroom polenta, and roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

A reader who follows our Twitter asked me how I roast my sprouts, and I promised I’d mark it next time I did it. It’s easy: Preheat oven to 450 while you trim and clean sprouts, drizzle with olive oil. Put oiled sprouts on a baking sheet. Put in oven for about 20 minutes. You’ll want to check at 10 minutes. All ovens run a little differently – mine it takes about 20 minutes for the sprouts to get that lovely brown edge to them.

This morning seems more like fall with the sun out – but still cold. Definitely a day for Irish cut oatmeal laced with fall wildflower honey (Tremblay Apiary) and pistachios. Mmmm.

~baconbit

Pickled Fruit

September 17, 2008

OK, first of all, I actually took some photos this time, but due to iPhoto being uncooperative at this time (I’m redownloading it), I won’t be posting them just yet.

Honey Hollow had the biggest mushroom I’d ever seen – a 16 lb hen-of-the-woods (maitake) mushroom. It was glorious. It is also my favorite. I only bought a little bit of it. YUM.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk to you about fruit, and pickles, and pickled fruit. See, we’re headed for the end of the season soon, and soon there will be no fresh local fruit to be had. We can freeze our fruit, and it is delicious. But we can also pickle it – which is also delicious, if no longer common.

There was time when people at a LOT of pickles, and they still do. In fact, we still do though we don’t recognize them as pickles. Ketchup? It’s a pickled condiment that can be made of many other things other than tomatoes – oranges, walnuts, plums. Chutney? A kind of pickle! But you don’t have to buy it jars at an ethnic food market – you can make it at home very easily.

And fruit. Oh…. pickled fruit. It sounds weird I know, but the following recipes – both from Linda Ziedrich’s “The Joy of Pickling” hit the flavor spot that balances just between sweet and savory. You can serve pickled fruit as an accompaniment to roasted meats, or over ice cream for a sweet/sour treat.

I swear, I never used to be pickle crazy. And in some ways I’m not – cucumber pickles are OK, but I don’t crave them. Homemade pickles are a different story. Homemade pickled beets are amazing and flavorful and intense. The pickled pears? I could eat a quart in one sitting.

I strongly encourage people to run out and get this book. It’s one for the ages.

You’ll need a few things though. Namely, you are going to need pint, or quart, mason jars. I saw them being sold by the dozen at the Broadway Panhandler on 8th street near University Avenue in Manhattan, so that’s the first thing.

The second thing is to not get scared. This is the beginners form of canning, OK? You are going to use what is called the “Hot Pack Method” for canning these suckers. You will not get botulism and die. OK? Pickle juice is extremely acid, and has a LOT of sugar, and the likelyhood of you getting sick is VERY low, because you are going to be packing boiling syrup into jars that have been sterilized in the oven at and are 250 degrees F hot, and capped with metal caps that are 212 degrees. IT WILL BE OK. I’ve done this for a number of years now, and am still alive. If I weren’t, the fact of this blog post would be extremely impressive!

THE HOT PACK METHOD:
1. Wash your jars.
2. Put the jars, mouth UP, on a cookie sheet or roasting pan. They can be damp.
3. Put the cookie sheet & jars into a COLD oven
4. Close oven door. Turn oven on to 250 degrees F.
5. Boil a pot of water.
6. 10 minutes before you need them, put the lids of the jars (and the rings) into the boiling water. Cover the pot and turn off heat.
7. When ready to jar your pickles in boiling syrup, take out the jars. Keep them on the sheet/pan for easy handling. Put them right next to your pot of boiling hot stuff.
8. Put your boiling hot stuff into the extremely hot jars.
9. When they are full, but still have about 1/4″ space at top, take a chopstick and give a quick swirl to release any trapped air bubbles among your fruit/chunks.
10. Put a lid from the boiling hot water bath on each jar.
11. Put a ring on and screw down the lids.
12. Place jars somewhere they can cool down slowly. I like to use a cookie rack so there’s a bit of airflow under there.
13. Be patient. Eventually you’ll hear “POP”, and you’ll know that a vacuum seal has been achieved. If none of your jars seal, or if a couple of jars don’t seal, that’s OK. Still usable! Just store them in the ‘fridge instead of the pantry 🙂
14. Label. Eat in winter when you miss summer most of all.

OK. Now that we have that out of the way, lemme tell you, this week is the week to get both peaches, and tiny, sweet, Seckel pears. I like to pickle the peaches in quarters, but the pears whole.

PICKLED PEACHES
1 3″ cinnamon stick, broken OR 1tsp cardomom & 1 tsp. black pepper (my change)
1 tsp. blade mace
1″ piece of fresh ginger, sliced thin
1 tsp. allspice berries (whole)
1/2 tsp whole cloves

3 cups sugar
2.5 cups water
3.5 cups white wine vinegar
4 lbs ripe & firm peaches

1. Boil a big vat of water. Blanch peaches for 1 minute, and then plunge into a sink of cold water. This will make peeling the peaches much easier.
2. Peel peaches, and quarter them. Put them in a bowl of cold water & a splash of vinegar to keep from browning.
3. In a nonreactive pot (like stainless steel – NO ALUMINIUM), put the spices, sugar, water & vinegar. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
4. Reduce heat & simmer for about 10 minutes.
5. Add peaches. Simmer for a few minutes (about 5 should do it) until they are heated through and *just* tender. You don’t want them to fall apart!
6. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon and pack them into the hot jars.
7. Boil syrup so that it thickens a bit. About 8 minutes. NOTE: I had WAY more syrup than peaches. That is OK!
8. Pour hot syrup & spices over peaches leaving a 1/4″ of headspace. Seal jars with hot 2 piece caps.
9. Store jars in a cool, dark place, for at least one month before eating.

PICKLED PEARS
For these, I like to peel the pears and pickle them whole. Then I can grab them by the stem and pop the whole thing in my mouth, sucking off the flesh and leaving the core behind. It’s awfully fun! These are exceptionally good served alongside roasted pork, in the depth of winter. They are also incredible to bring to Thanksgiving Dinner. Very impressive, and very beautiful in their jar!

The Seckel pears are small and a pain in the ass to peel – but it is SO worth it! Keep from browning by putting peeled pears in water with a splash of vinegar.

Four 3″ cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons whole cloves
1″ piece of fresh ginger, sliced thin
3 cups water
2 cups white wine vinegar (cider is great too!)
4 cups sugar
6 lbs of peeled Seckel pears ($1.50 a lb at the greenmarket)

1. Combine spices, water, vinegar & sugar in a nonreactive pot.
2. Bring to a boil & stir to dissolve sugar, then reduce the heat. Simmer syrup for 5 minutes minimum, but I like to do 10 myself.
3. Add pears and cook gently until just tender. About 5 minutes, but use your judgement. If there isn’t room for all the pears, do them in 2 or 3 batches, transferring the cooked pears to your hot sterile jars.
4. Pour the boiling syrup over the pears leaving 1/4″ headspace. Don’t forget to run a chopstick around to release hidden air bubbles.
5. Cap with hot 2 piece caps.
6. Store in a cool dark place.

Enjoy! And pick up a copy of the book. I’m hoping to do my pears next week (too busy this weekend) along with some pickled beets. Those are fantastic on salads…..

~baconbit

Of Squash and Carrots

August 18, 2008

For weeks now, there have been summer squash everywhere. It is ubiquitous, and we never even mention it on the blog. While I like summer squash quite a bit, I sort of regard it as a vegetable filler. A lot of fiber and fullness for very little in terms of calories – and oftimes taste. I’ve grown to love Yunno’s “Avocado Squash” which has an excellent texture and is not overly watery like a lot of zucchinis – but still, I don’t mention it that often.

The squash I can never get enough of is autumn squashes – difficult to peel, their sweet flesh is music to my mouth, and I’m waiting for my favorites to reappear like a schoolgirl waiting to catch a glimpse of her crush on the basketball team.

I saw a tiny glimpse today! DJ’s had two types of hard shelled squash out on their table today, labeled “Chinese” Squash. To me though, it looked like one was a ghost pumpkin type, and the second was butternut.

I didn’t buy them, but soon. My favorite squash is Hubbard, and I’m hoping to see a few this year at the market. Last year I dragged more than one home on the subway. When you consider that they look rather like Yoda, in coloring, size, shape, and impassivity, this is revealed as no mean feat.

Today though, I skipped it. Instead of that, I bought a bunch of red skinned carrots from John Maduras because I have been dying to try this recipe for Carottes Râpées. I love all things French (I am a bit of a francophile) and have thought ever since I first read this recipe, that it would be simply gorgeous with red carrots, the colors being yellow at the core, and red at the outer edge. Besides, David Lebovitz never steers me wrong.

So, tonight I shall break out the manoline, and grate some carrots. I’m going to serve it alongside duck fat flavored beans & rice. Or a stirfry of pork & bok choy. Hey, I may be a francophile, but I’m a New Yorker first and foremost. The melting pot is where I feel most comfortable!

~baconbit

Almost Famous!

August 11, 2008

Danielle, over at Gothamist, posted my recipe for Pickled Garlic Seeds that I developed last year. You can make these with regular garlic too.

These would be a very good complement to your chopped liver. I also love to put them in egg salad. They are deliciously mild.

~baconbit

What am I? Chopped Liver?

August 11, 2008

Today is nightshade day at the market – everywhere I saw a multitude of peppers of all sorts, table after table of heirloom tomatoes, and piles of eggplant. Now is the time to stock up, roast slowly, and freeze for winter’s delight.

Last week I was dithering between a Tamarack Hollow duck and chicken. I finally decided on the chicken and paid and took my prize home.

As I prepped it for roasting, I thought, “These legs seem smaller than usual. And the heart and liver! So big! I’ve never seen a chicken with a neck this long and meaty.”

Oblivious, I roasted away, and when I pulled out the pan, I thought, “So much fat melted off this! I really ought to keep it in the ‘fridge….” The liver was so huge I roasted that too and turned it into chopped liver.

It wasn’t until the next day, as I sat snacking on my chopped liver, and thinking about how much it tasted like paté, that I realized I must have bought a duck and not a chicken.

I should have realized it earlier – I wish I had. My duck would have been more tender with a different roasting techinique – however, I’m so glad I saved that liver! Chopped liver never tasted so good! Plus, I still have about 1/2-3/4 of a cup of duck fat in the ‘fridge, plus duck bones in the freezer. Stock! But what to do with all that delicious duckfat?!

Accidentally High-End Chopped Liver
1 big duck liver from your duck from Tamarack Hollow
1 hard boiled egg, peeled
5 leaves fresh sage
3 tablespoons reserved duckfat
1 clove of garlic, diced
fresh pepper & salt

1) As you prep your duck, either sauté your duck liver, or roast it alongside in a little tinfoil pan, in the oven.

2) Fry up your garlic & sage in the duckfat.

3) Combine ingredients in a food-processor. I use the food-processer attachment on my stick blender!

4) Puree into a paste.

5) Spread on crackers or bread, either immediately or keep in fridge to snack on over a few days. Good enough for guests, homey enough for lunch. Better than your bubbehs, but don’t tell her I said that!

Enjoy!

~baconbit

Peach Salsa

July 21, 2008

Hello darlings! I’m back, and I’m married. I’m keeping my name though, so feel free to simply refer to me as Ms.Bit, and not Mrs.Bit’sHusband’sName. Thanks!

It’s a beautiful day at the market, and I bought big ripe peaches and mint for salsa tonight. You see, sadly, I have a bad food intolerance to all the members of the nightshade family: tomatoes, peppers (sweet & hot), potatoes and eggplants. They seem diverse, it is true, but all are part of the family Solanaceae, and all upset my intenstines terribly. My mouth loves them, but my belly does not.

But what is a girl to do in the summertime when she’s craving salsa and chips?! Especially a girl who remembers the taste fondly?

Make peach salsa. Seriously.

I first made this as mango-salsa, long before I pinpointed my issues with nightshades, but peaches work beautifully, are local, and in season. Feel free to freeze too, for the depths of winter. This is fantastic on chips – but also topping fish, marinated & grilled tofu, or anything else your little heart desires.

    Peach Salsa

You will need: peaches, garlic, mint, hot peppers (optional), and lemon juice.
Peel & cut up 1 or 2 peaches, dice up some cloves of garlic, dice a handful of mint, dice as many hot peppers as you like (none, in my case) and squeeze a lemon. Combine. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, but better yet, a day or so. Eat. Laugh with joy and do a little dance in your kitchen, or around your table.

~baconbit

Something Different

July 9, 2008

I could do yet another post where I rave about the gorgeous lush produce of the market – but aren’t you bored by that? Not that the produce is boring – but each week of the high season, what else is there say? It’s all beautiful, delectable, verdant, lush and abundant. What the heck will we DO with it all?

Today I found myself missing a summer favorite – a dish I call “Fruit Pizza”. Fruit pizza takes advantage of the best fruit of the season, the beautiful sheep’s milk ricotta I saw at the market this morning, and the infamous (or is it just famous now) NYT “No Knead” Bread recipe. It is dead easy, and can be eaten for breakfast with a cup of coffee, at lunch or dinner with a salad and glass of New York State white wine, or as a snack in the afternoon with tea. It may be eaten hot out of the oven, or cold from the ‘fridge. Truly, this is a food made for this day and age – and made from our local foodstuffs. What could be better?

    Fruit Pizza

1 ball of No Knead Bread Dough, that has risen fully once or twice
2 cups of your favorite fruits prepped (either taken off the vine or sliced if large like a peach)
1/4-1/2 lb ricotta, or goat cheese, or other fresh soft cheese
2 tbsp. honey, maple syrup, or other sweetener

Get out a cookie sheet and spread your dough out nice and thin on the sheet. About 1/4″ thick all around – you know – like pizza! Mix sweetener with ricotta. Spread ricotta & fruit on dough. Bake at 400F until top is lightly browned and bubbling. Take out, cut, and eat.

Other additions that are tasty: pinches of cinnamon, fresh ginger, fresh basil, lavender, really anything you like with fruit.

Enjoy!

~baconbit

Five Dollars? Really?

June 16, 2008

I usually don’t go to the market on the weekends – I live uptown, and the market is downtown, and well… there you go. I stock up on Friday and eat off my purchases until Monday. This Saturday I happened to be in the vicinity and stopped by to ogle the produce and pick up some kind of animal protein. 

On Saturdays – the meat at the market is much more varied. I got some duck breasts (which I am cooking tonight) and better yet: duck eggs & pheasant eggs! I decided I’m not a big fan of the pheasant eggs – but duck eggs? WOW.

I saw some of our same vendors – and a few who seemed to have higher prices than they do during the week. Perhaps it’s an issue of supply and demand – and certainly farmers aren’t rolling in the dough, so it’s difficult to whine too much. But I was still glad that I’d bought my veg on Wednesday.

As to $5 – sugar snap peas are $5 across the board at the market today. Everywhere I looked, $5, $5 – however shell peas are $3.50 *except* at Philips Farm, who’s shell peas are also $5. Hmmm.

I bought mine at Maxwell’s for my frozen peas project, along with extras for salad over the next couple of days. 

Yunno’s still has chiogga beets – and today they had fava beans for $4 a pound. I’ll peel them tonight and blanch them. YUM. I don’t like favas dried, but fresh? They are truly lovely. Need inspiration? Habeas Brûlee has a recipe for favas with seaweed poprocks. If that is too exotic for Monday night dinner, try them with furikake instead.

Speaking of furikake – yesterday I made popped corn. I had gotten the grains from the market in the fall and am still working my way through them. I do my popped corn the old fashioned way on the stove top! I don’t like butter – and didn’t feel like salt. Instead I dressed my popped corn with dark sesame oil and furikake. Fantastic! Do try it sometime.

~baconbit

Japanese Turnips and Furikake

May 23, 2008

Last week I tried Japanese turnips for the first time. I bought them from Mignorelli’s – and today I got them again but this time Cunuco (spelling?). They are beautiful white globes, thin skinned, and O! So lovely and sweet! At $3 a bunch, they are a great bargain – and you can eat the greens! A double dose of goodness for your moola!

I try to procure most of my food locally – but there are some things that I don’t hold to doing locally only, and the big one is seasonings and spices. Lately I have been crazy for furikake, a Japanese condiment of crushed toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, sugar and salt. I make mine with just salt, sesame seeds, and nori all crushed up in a mortar and pestle. I love it on hard boiled eggs (I just had some from Tellos actually for breakfast!), and rice, and steamed shrimp, and Japanese turnips!

Here is how I’ll be preparing mine tonight:

Cut the greens from the turnips, wash, and put aside for a little bit. Wash the turnips and cut off the tap roots, the top stubs, and quarter the globes. Do not peel! They are thin skinned and the vitamins all live in the skin!

Place the turnip quarters in a steamer (I got mine for $15 in Chinatown) and steam for about 15-20 minutes. When tender, sprinkle with furikake.

While your turnip globes are steaming, heat up your wok and prep your turnip greens by shredding them into long strips. Take the green garlic you bought at Yunnos, with the gently swelling bulbs, and cut up a whole one: strips, dice, whatever you like best (I like strips). Sauté your garlic, and then add your shredded greens. When all is tender through and through, add a splash of soy sauce and sesame seed oil (YUM).

Serve with your favorite protein (in my case some broiled fish) and rice. Revel in the spicy bitterness of turnip greens, and the tender sweetness of the turnips themselves, and the interplay of umami and salt of the furikake.

~baconbit