Tartine Bread: Lovely Video!

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A Day with Ruth

I have just enjoyed my first day off in several weeks and it was wonderful. Between cleaning, cooking and laundry, I watched one Adventures with Ruth after another (on gourmet.com). Ruth Reichl combines travel and cooking for an informative, engaging presentation. I highly recommend not only her show but her recipes which are do-able and lovely! I will try her Chicken Tagine with preserved lemons on Tuesday evening when the “fellows” come for dinner.

Ruth Reichl’s Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon: 1 t. saffron threads, 1 (31/2 lb.) chicken cut in quarters, 3 T olive oil, 2 medium red onion sliced, 3 garlic cloves minced, 2 t. ground ginger, 1 t. ground cinnamon, 1/2 t. ground turmeric, 1 t. lime juice, 4 T chopped cilantro divided, 2 preserved lemons, 1/2 cup purple Moroccan or Greek olives. Toast saffron in dry skillet until fragrant. Mash garlic with 1/2 t salt in mortar and pestle. In 12 inch tagine, toss oil with onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, lime juice, 3 T cilantro, 1 t. salt, 1/2 t pepper, reserved saffron. Arrange chicken pieces over the mixture. Chop the pulp of preserved lemons and sprinkle over chicken. Reserve the lemon peel chopped into small cubes. Add 3/4 cup of water to tagine and simmer, covered, 30 minutes until chicken is almost cooked through. Add more water if necessary to keep meat from burning or sticking to pot. Add olives, cover and cook 10 more minutes … sprinkle with lemon peel, cilantro and salt to taste.

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Pickled Beets – Ann’s Recipe

Last weekend, Hannah and I went to Ann’s (my mother-in-law and Hannah’s grandmother) to pickle beets … beets that were home grown in Ann’s beautiful garden. We had a wonderful time – all three generations together – and the pickled beets are delicious. Ann’s recipe is borrowed from her Amish friends in Middlefield, Ohio.

From the Amish Pantry: Pickled Beets: Boil the beets until soft (but firm). Remove from heat. In separate saucepan boil: 3 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 cups liquid from the boiled beets, 1 tsp. salt, 2 cups of granulated sugar. Double or triple this if you have lots of beets (like we did!). Cut your beets up into bite- size chunks and place in pint sized heated jars. Add 1/2 tsp. pickling spices to each pint jar. Liquid brine/cider vinegar liquid over beets until each jar is filled nearly to the top. Wipe edges of top of jar dry and place lids on jars. Process for 30 minutes in boiling water (enough to cover jars). Remove carefully and allow to sit until jar lids pop and the jars are cool. Store out of sunlight. I can eat a whole jar of these all by myself!

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Midnight Farm Corn Spoon Pudding

We’ve just returned from Martha’s Vineyard where our family enjoys a week or two together every year. We always wish it was longer. There’s a wonderful store called Midnight Farm in Vineyard Haven that has its own cookbook Potluck at Midnight Farm by Tamara Weiss. There are quite a few great recipes in here – this is one:

Corn Spoon Pudding by Mary Steenburgen. Normally I would never try a recipe with box mixes in it but this was an exception. Recipe: Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish (I use a 9″ round ceramic casserole and think the end product is better since the smaller dish creates a thicker and nicer pudding). Combine all ingredients except the cheese: 1 (8 1/2 ounce) box corn muffin mix; 1 (7 1/2 ounce) can whole kernel corn (drained); 1 (7 1/2 ounce) can creamed corn; 1 cup sour cream (I use plain yogurt); 2 large eggs beaten; 1/2 cup melted butter; 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese for the top (I skip this and think it is better without the cheese). Bake spoon pud for 35 minutes, sprinkle cheese on top, and then bake an additional 10 minutes. Pudding is done when a toothpick comes out clean. (I bake the pudding for 45 minutes straight through and skip the cheese).

This is delicious warm … and only okay cool. So if you have baked the pudding earlier in the day, heat it back up before serving. A great early autumn dish – possibly a new addition to my Thanksgiving menu.

Always eat one slice as soon as it comes out of the oven. Like fresh bread … it is never as good as it is the minute it is done!

This is not the official Midnight Farm. But, this is Cate & Emma at the beautiful Chilmark barn on the property we rent on the Vineyard … “our own Midnight Farm.”

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Pimm’s Cup

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed the taste of fresh herbs … and ever since Oxford four summers ago, I have adopted the “Pimm’s Cup” as my summer drink. But I mix it a bit differently. I don’t like the drink too sweet so I use Reed’s Ginger Brew in place of the normal lemonade soda and I add cucumbers, lime and mint without lemons or strawberries.

Pimm’s Cup (single serving): 3 ounces Pimm’s; 8 ounces Ginger Premium Beer; 3-4 slices of cucumber, 2 lime wedges (1 squeezed), large branch fresh mint, lots of ice. A perfect warm weather drink!

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Ina Garten’s Seared Tuna Salad

Every time I visit my daughter-in-law’s home, I enjoy a new wonderful recipe. This last time, Liz introduced me to The Barefoot Contessa’s Seared Tuna Salad – a perfect summer supper. The dressing on this salad is full of a variety of flavors that match the rare tuna and avocado chunks perfectly.

The Barefoot Contessa’s recipe is as follows: Brush 2 lbs of very fresh tuna steaks (1 inch thick) with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook the tuna in a very hot saute pan for just 1 minute on each side. In a small bowl whisk 4 T olive oil, 2 1/2 t. kosher salt, 1/2 t. coarsely ground black pepper, the zest of 2 limes, 1 t. wasabi powder, 6 T. freshly squeezed lime juice (3 limes), 2 t. soy sauce, dash of Tabasco according to taste. Add two chopped ripe avocados to the vinaigrette. Chop tuna in chunks in large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of minces scallions and 1/4 cup of red onion small dice. Pour the avocados with vinaigrette over tuna mixture and combine carefully before serving. This is a fantastic recipe. I like this salad with a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc.

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Gratin de Fruits Rouges

We tried several different dessert recipes yesterday. The first was a cherry almond clafoutis (shown in second photo) which I found in the Fine Cooking magazine and thought I would love; but, despite how beautiful it was, I found it very bland. So, I decided not to share that recipe and go back to the drawing board which in this case happened to be a wonderful cookbook called Cooking in Provence by Alex Mackay with Peter Knab. They have a delightful recipe which not only looks gorgeous but tastes fabulous. The first evening I made the gratins in individual le creuset molds and the second evening in a round baking dish. Both turned out to be lovely.

Gratin de Fruits Rouges: (for 4): 101/2 oz. strawberries, hulled; 10 1/2 oz. raspberries; splash Grand Marnier. (cut strawberries and add raspberries with splash of Grand Marnier. If the fruit is not very sweet, add a tablespoon or two of sugar. Allow to sit for up to 30 minutes while making the sabayon).

For sabayon: 4 egg yolks; 4 1/2 oz. sugar; juice of 1 lemon; 1 gelatine leaf (optional) soaked in cold water and squeezed dry (I used a sprinkle of powdered gelatin); 3 1/2 fl. oz. whipping cream. Place egg yolks for sabayon with the sugar and the lemon juice in a double boiler over simmering water. With an electric whisk or beater whisk eggs yolks until they double in volume and have thickened enough to make a figure 8 clearly in mixture. Add gelatine (if using) and start whisking off heat until the mixture is completely cooled. Whip the cream and gently fold into sabayon. This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated up to one day in advance. When ready to serve, toss berries with liqueur  and let sit for at least a few minutes. Place berries in four heatproof plates or one large dish and top with sabayon. Glaze the gratin with a blow-torch until softly golden (or place under grill for brief minute). Serve immediately. This is a very special dish which I intend to use again and again with a variety of fruits (including nectarines and sprinkled with hazelnuts, etc.).

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