Monthly Archives: June 2014

June Links

So much great stuff hear – play with your food! and other treats – thank you Kitchen Counter Culture

Kitchen Counter Culture

Hooray for the Vegetable Orchestra, and hope you enjoy listening while you peruse below.  As usual, articles, resources, links et al. are piling up on my to-share list.  They’re the customary Kitchencounterculture mix of political, community, and DIY domestic.  Hope they are of interest…

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Choclava, this time with the chocolate…..

Foodways Pilgrim

In what can only be considered a glitch in the space/time continuation, I managed to post a recipe for chocolate baklava WITHOUT ACTUALLY INCLUDING THE CHOCOLATE. I have correct that glaring/mind-boggling/insane  omission in this re-post. This is also more – much, much MORE!  – to my personal baklava/paklava/choclava story, so stayed tuned for further installments.

In the 1980’s chocolate finally came into it’s own in a way that has stayed the course.

Choclatier Magazine, Vol 1, Number 1 - I've got that Chocolatier Magazine, Vol 1, Number 1 – I’ve got that

It was a chocolate happy decade….like anything chocolate can be UN-happy! In this  premier, charter issue of Chocolatier Magazine was the first place I saw the words ‘chocolate’  and ‘baklava’ together, two great things are are even greater together.Was I a charter subscriber? Oh, YES I was. Do I have years worth of back issues that are now commanding fairly high prices on e-Bay? Hmmm, maybe some photocopying…

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Choclava, this time with the chocolate…..

In what can only be considered a glitch in the space/time continuation, I managed to post a recipe for chocolate baklava WITHOUT ACTUALLY INCLUDING THE CHOCOLATE. I have correct that glaring/mind-boggling/insane  omission in this re-post. This is also more – much, much MORE!  – to my personal baklava/paklava/choclava story, so stayed tuned for further installments.

In the 1980’s chocolate finally came into it’s own in a way that has stayed the course.

Choclatier Magazine, Vol 1, Number 1 - I've got that

Chocolatier Magazine, Vol 1, Number 1 – I’ve got that

It was a chocolate happy decade….like anything chocolate can be UN-happy! In this  premier, charter issue of Chocolatier Magazine was the first place I saw the words ‘chocolate’  and ‘baklava’ together, two great things are are even greater together.Was I a charter subscriber? Oh, YES I was. Do I have years worth of back issues that are now commanding fairly high prices on e-Bay? Hmmm, maybe some photocopying is in order, and then…….but first, back to

CHOCLAVA

This is a word that has a happy sound.

The recipe I’m going to share is from the cookbook Caramel Knowledge, because the ’80’s gave us more then one version of the chocolate baklava, and although I remember making them, I never noted which one was THE ONE.  Sometimes there’s more then one, and that’s OK, too.

CHOCLAVA

1 # frozen filo dough

1# walnuts

½ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

3 ½ sticks unsalted butter, divided

8 (1 –ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate (or 1-1/3 cups chips)

Syrup:

3 cups sugar

2 cups water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Thaw the filo (take it out of the freezer the night before)
  2. Chop the walnuts very fine. Add sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  3. Trim the stack of filo sheets to the size of your raised edge baking pan – 11 x 17 or 11x 15, whichever you’ve got. Cover the stack of filo with a barely damp towel, and keep it covered while working. Dried out filo can get pretty messy……
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter.
  5. Melt the remaining butter with the chocolate.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°
  7. Brush baking pan with melted butter. Lay on one sheet of filo. Brush filo with chocolate/butter. Top with another filo sheet, brush with chocolate/butter. Repeat until you have 10 sheets of filo in the pan.
  8. After the 10th sheet is brushed with butter/chocolate, sprinkled evenly with the nut mix.
  9. Now filo with chocolate butter, and then a second one…
  10. Another ½ cup of nuts all around on top of the chocolate butter…
  11. Continue sprinkling ½ cup of nuts on every other sheet on top of the chocolate butter.
  12. The last 2 or 3 sheets should have no nuts, just chocolate butter.
  13. Chocolate butter on top of the top sheet.
  14. With a sharp knife, cut the cholava. Cut it before it’s baked or you’ll end up with a very large pan of really tasty crumbs. Really. A very messy pan of very tasty bits that can be served over ice cream, but will not look good at all on a serving plate. Make a series of parallel cuts one inch apart down the length of the pan, then make diagonal cuts 2 inches apart from the side to make the classic diamond shaped pieces. Or make squares.
  15. baklava-diagram

    This is a diagram on what the straight line/diagonal lines should look like. Or not. But if you want more then one GIANT serving, cut it before it goes into the oven and gets all crispy on you.

  16. Smooth out the top layer.
  17. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes
  18. Lower oven temp to 300° and bake for another hour.
  19. Make sugar syrup :
    1. In large saucepan stir together sugar, water and lemon juice until sugar is dissolved.
    2. Cook over high heat – without any more stirring – until mixture comes to a boil
    3. Lower heat and continue boiling for 20 minutes
  20. When the cholava is done and out of the oven and still hot, spoon about two thirds of the syrup over it
  21. About an hour later when the first part of the syrup has soaked in, spoon the rest on.
  22. Allow it to rest several hours before serving. If you didn’t cut it into pieces before you put it into the oven, go and buy some ice cream now and use the chocolaty/nutty/cinnamony/crispy/ buttery goodness as a topping…..
    1. “I am told that baklava will keep for several weeks if merely covered with plastic wrap and not refrigerated. It can also be frozen, I am informed. I don’t know. I didn’t have that much left.” Al Sicherman
    2. Ditto. KMW

Al Sicherman. Caramel Knowledge. Harper & Row, 1988.p.220.

Caramel Knowledge

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Minty Fresh

I’ve had mint on the brain recently.

Actually, on my hands…then the scent of it gets into your head, in spite of all the allergies the pollen wants to send my nose-way, and it’s a short trip from the nose to the brain…..

Mint, Ordinary mint, Mackerill Mint or Spearmint

Mint, Ordinary mint, Mackerill Mint or Spearmint

Mint is growing in my pilgrim garden, everywhere, except in the garden beds…and I do mean everywhere. Last Sunday I cut a bushel basket full of mint, and there was plenty left for the woodchucks to snack on.

Good thing mint is so  good for so much.

Wild mint of North America - Mentha canadensis. That's right, Canada Mint!

Wild mint of North America – Mentha canadensis. That’s right, Canada Mints!

Necco-Canada-Mints-and-Canada-Wintergreen-packages-2012

The other Canada Mints

Pa Flynn, my great grandfather who worked at Baker’s Chocolate, always had the little red and white peppermints in his pocket, so the smell of mint – and certain pipe tobaccos – remind me of him. They say that scent is the strongest sense to support memory. red and white candy

The Rx: Mint

The Target: IBS, headaches
The Dose: 1 cup of tea daily

Chewing on peppermint can freshen your breath, but there’s another reason you should try the herb. The menthol in peppermint helps prevent muscle spasms, one of the reasons peppermint oil effectively treats irritable bowel syndrome. The oil is also useful for relieving headaches. Rub some on your temples or wrists and breathe in the minty scent.

Botanist James A. Duke, PhD, author of The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods, recommends brewing mint tea for any type of pain. Pour boiling water over peppermint leaves and steep until the tea is as strong as you like. Add wintergreen leaves for an extra pain-fighting boost; a compound in wintergreen called methyl salicylate blocks the enzymes that cause inflammation and pain. “You could call it herbal aspirin,” he says. A final squeeze of lemon will help you extract as many pain-reducing chemicals as possible from the plants.

http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/10-healing-foods-fight-pain?s=9&?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-Rodale-_-Food-_-10FoodsThatWorkJustAsWellasMedicine

Peppermint and Corsican mints

Peppermint and Corsican mints

My favorite mint is – no surprise here –  chocolate mint

choc mint

Chocolate Mint

he York Peppermint Patty - pretty close to perfect

he York Peppermint Patty – pretty close to perfect

My newest chocolate -mint combo treat – toothpaste.

Chocolate Mint flavored toothpaste. Oh, Yes!

Chocolate Mint flavored toothpaste. Oh, Yes! Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!

 

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Caramel Knowledge

Caramel Knowledge is a cookbook from the 1980’s,Caramel Knowledge

not to be confused with the movie Carnal Knowledge,a product of the ’70’s….

Carnal Knowledge

Jack Nicholson, Art Garfunkel, Ann-Margret and Candice Bergen

I bought the book for the title. ANYONE who could get away with a title like that is a friend of mine, and I would support that friendship by buying his books. But since the author, Al Sicherman,

Al Siderman

Al Siderman

is in Minnesota, still working at the Star Tribune we’ve never actually met.

It was in Caramel Knowledge that I first learned of  The Theory of Cooking Relativity

But I remembered it wrong. So after I tell you what I actually read, the words that have remained on the pages all these many years, then I will tell you MY theory, with the words that have been in my head (and coming out of my mouth ) for many of these same many years.

It starts with popovers. Al has a a no-fail popover recipe that someone has all sorts of trouble making.

Popovers - I've only tried them once, and since they came out 'meh' I haven't tried them again, even though Al has offered me a fail safe recipe. Maybe someday, maybe never - either way, I,m OK with it.

Popovers – I’ve only tried them once, and since they came out ‘meh’ I haven’t tried them again, even though Al has offered me a fail safe recipe. Will I try again?  Maybe someday, maybe never – either way, I,m OK with it.

A reader of Al’s, Esme Evans, suggested

Evans Theory of Relative Competence: Every time you figure out how to cook something new reasonably well, you cease to be able to cook something you had thought you had mastered.” p. 43.

She has examples – fallen cakes after mastering baklava; good pie crust = unable to separate eggs (making a lemon meringue pie  becomes a  trail….)

There’s a certain amount of sense in this, which is how in my brain I came up with The Theory of Cooking Relativity.

The theory states: Each person has a set point of culinary competence, which varies with each person. Some people can be extremely good at lots of things  – think Bobby Flay or Julia Child – this is the high end of the relative scale. There are a few – a very few – who are not very good at most things . You know – the ones who are not up to the challenge of Campbell’s soup.

Open can. Dump and add water. Heat. Easy, yes and yet sometimes.....

Open can. Dump and add water. Heat. Easy, yes and yet sometimes…..when good soup goes rogue…

Most everyone else fall somewhere in the middle. Some people are extremely good at one or two things – signature dishes. Others are relatively good at lots of things – no blue ribbons, but no horror stories.  This is where Evans Theory of Relative Competence is most apparent.

What all this means is  – there IS a cooking gene, and not everyone has it. Some people are born to cook, and some are born to set the table. What’s important is knowing where you are in the spectrum, and that there IS a spectrum, and we’re not all at the same place.

The  band Swing Set just showed up at the Kiskadee Coffee Company…time to stop and smell the coffee – and listen to the jazz.

 

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Kale

Kale is one of those vegetables that is never out of season, or it least so it seems. It is often the the workhorse green, and only recently has gotten trendy.

Kale - this is the curly kind

Kale – this is the curly kind

Tuscan or black kale

Tuscan or black kale

It seems that the words ‘kale’ and ‘chips’ are now partnered, like ‘potato’ and ‘chips’  or ‘fish’ and ‘chips’ or even ‘wood’ and ‘chips’……

Kale Chips from Wiki How

Kale Chips from WikiHow

Since you might very well have kale on hand right this minute…here are some suggestions from what I’m reading right this minute.

Good with

  • Garlic – lots of garlic
  • Something sharp – lemon juice, vinegars
  • Something mellow – olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes, hot pepper sauce
  • Bacon – just a little – or other strong sausages – linguica and chorizo are very good
  • Smoked paprika and smoked salt
Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison

Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison

from Deborah Madison. Vegetable Literacy.Ten Speed Press: 2013. p. 134.

 

But when I think of kale, I think of potatoes…like Colcannon or Caldo Verde. Not the trendy kales, the traditional ones.

So here’s a soup that right anytime of the year, and is all but guaranteed to make any day better.

BACK TO BASIC KALE AND POTATO SOUP

3 TBL olive oil

8-10 garlic cloves, minced (or just use the whole head)

¼ – ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 Quarts vegetable stock (or water)

4 cups peeled and finely diced potatoes (about 4 medium – she calls for waxy potatoes, which will hold their shape, but I also like it when the potatoes give up their shape…)

1 # kale, washed and stripped of the nasty rib (DM says, “It’s as tough as rope and will never get tender, ever.”) and chopped or cut into ribbons

1 teaspoon salt (used a smoked salt to change it up or if you’d like less garlic)

 

  1. Heat the oil in a pot large enough to hold everything by the end over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minutes. Do not let the garlic get as all brown. It should smell good (it should smell GREAT) – you’re infusing the oil to help those flavor compounds carry.
  2. Pour in the stock (or water), raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the potatoes, lower the heat and keep at a lively simmer. Cook the potatoes for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the kale and the salt and cook 15 more minutes.

Serves 4-6 as a main course.

Adapted from Jeanne Lemlin. Simple Vegetarian Pleasures. HarperCollins, 1998. p. 119.

Simple Veg Pleasures

There are 2 covers for this book...of course I can't remember which one is mine, even though I looked at it 3 hours ago and I've owned it pretty much throughout this entire century

There are 2 covers for this book…of course I can’t remember which one is mine, even though I looked at it 3 hours ago and I’ve owned it pretty much throughout this entire century

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May on June

Robert May, that is, another Bill Of Fare from The Accomplist Cook , 1677 for Wicked WayBack Wednesday….notice how this is a little heavy on the meat, and VERY light on the salad/veggie side of things. I’ve added a few notes for clarity

A bill of Fare for June.

1 A shoulder of mutton hasht
2 A Chine of Beef.
3 Pasty of Venison, a cold Hash.
4 A Leg of Mutton roast.
5 Four Turkey Chickens.
6 A Steak Pye.

A Second Course.

1 Jane or Kid.

Goat - Meat Milk Cheese - Mark Scarborou and Bruce Wein

Goat – Meat Milk Cheese -Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough – all you need to know once you get your goat!

2 Rabbits.

3 Shovelers.

Northern Shovler Anas

Northern Shovler Anas clypeata

4 Sweet-bread Pye.

Sweetbreads are the thymus and/or pancreas of cows or  sheep

Sweetbreads are the thymus and/or pancreas of cows or sheep

5 Olines, or pewit.

The Northern Lapwing is one bird also known as a peewit

The Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) is one bird also known as a peewit

6 Pigeons.

Passenger Pigeons were the most common pigeon in North America....until 100 years ago....

Passenger Pigeons were the most common pigeon in North America….until 100 years ago….

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