Category Archives: winter

Welcome, Spring!

Yes, YOU Spring, over there…

as I listen to the WEATHER WATCH to prepare for 3 or 5 or 7 or 12 inches of snow….

Winter Storm Warning in Massachusetts

Active for next 19 hours ·

Spring is about

the SNOWDROPS,

Snowdrops_Feb_2009BankHall Bretheton2009

not

SNOWDROPPING

 

No more snowballs, PLEASE…

snowball-Ambrogio_Lorenzetti_010

but rather

tennis balls

 

StephensField tennis courts

These tennis courts are just down the street..tennis AND an ocean view. My tennis isn’t pretty, so view matters.

snoball

My fave snowball – even then in limited quantities. Enough already

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Filed under Spring, The 17th century, winter

Not a Pizza

I know, you can have an

English Muffin Pizza

Thomas_recipe_PizzaMuffinEM

Thomas’s English Muffins Pizza-ed

But what if you took a tortilla instead of an English Muffin???

tortillas - flour

Flour tortillas

And What IF you happened to have hummus instead of sauce?

hummus container.png

and then you added just a little cheese….and popped it into a hot oven…It WAS a cold night….and when you took it out you folded it in half to eat it…

Besides Supper  – what would you call it?

It’s Pizza-ish, but not pizza.

The best I could come up with is Quesa-rizza – the place in between the quesadilla and the pizza. Or not.The ‘R’ in the middle is a Massachusetts thing.

My son would combine a burrito inside a little pizza and called it a burr-izza.

♦◊♦

And then the 17th century calls….Spring Training  is not just for the Red Sox.

Time to get ready to get back to 1624….

NEHome

and one of my faves slides…

goatmilking

and then there’s the rest of the PowerPoint, but I don’t know how to link. The Pilgrim ate more meals then just “The First Thanksgiving” is the point of the PowerPoint.

 

 

AND…..

Vinca_minor_Nashville

Vinca – also know as creeping myrtle and periwinkle is creeping everywhere. Did I miss the crocuses and snowdrops?

St Patrick

saint patrick

Snakes be gone!

his day is approaching ….all the green around here isn’t just Spring springing.

Time to make the soda bread. Paula Marcoux has a great recipe at this edible South Shore and South Coast link:

One Loaf of Soda Bread – HOLD THE BLARNEY

 

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Filed under Irish, Pizza, Supper, winter

Darling Clementine

and other sunshine substitutes to warm up the winter…

I haven’t found that many Darling Clementines this winter…until this week!

clementines

The grocers shelves have been full of Halo Mandarins ( a New York Times story on Mandarin growing in California)

and of course, grapefruit

Grapefruit-Whole-&-Split

 

and mangoes – Van Gogh mangoes, no less

van Gogh mango

Van Gogh painted lots of fruit and veg, but no mangoes…although in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam there is a painting by Paul Gauguin of Mango Trees

Mango trees Gaugin VanGogh musuem

 

I bought some beets last week…..

Beets-Bundle.jpg

I once had a bunch of beets on the checkout counter. The cashier held them up and asked,”Bunch of radishes?” I shook my head, and he asked,”But they are a BUNCH???” Evidently ‘bunch’ is a category he could look things up by….we finally got to BEET.

With the bunch of beets you get the bonus greens, good by themselves, good for soup. I roasted the beets for salad, and ate them peeled, diced  with some blue cheese dressing. I was going to mix them with orange, but I just kept eating them (beet and orange) separately.

Lemons were in the markdown bin….

lemons

I’ll juice them and put the juice in an ice cube tray in the freezer. When frozen, I’ll pop them into a baggie (I get the freezer bags because they have a place to write what’s inside) and be able to have a little juice whenever…..

ice cube trays

I love the new ice cube trays! I don’t often use ice cubes, but I like to freeze bits of things to use them later.

I’ve had plenty of roasted pumpkin to keep me warm….I used some to make a pasta sauce. Or I could have used dome to top a pizza…..

roasted squash

.

I had some red and yellow peppers, and inspired by a recent New York Times story,as well as any excuse to use the oven because it’s SOOOOO cold outside,  I made a red and yellow pepper pizza…EXCEPT (you knew that this part was coming…..)

I didn’t have the sausage or the mozzarella cheese…..actually, I HAD the sausage, it was just in the freezer and a little hard to use at the time, so I left it out. Then I realized that I had no mozzarella or ricotta or cheddar… heavy dairy products were put on the shopping list, and I punted along with what I had.

I had some Parmesan.Actual cheese and not wood pulp.

.I froze half of the dough, because 4 pizzas are more then I can manage for myself.

I topped the piece I used with the peppers, and a little hot red pepper and olive oil and grated cheese.A little onion and garlic chopped very fine to mix it all up.  Peppers really need to be cooked a little ahead and/or cut very very small….So a B minus sort of pizza.

As I was washing up, I remembered that there was a little bacon in the fridge. THAT would have made the pizza into B plus/A minus grade.

I ended my meal with some dried apricots….

apricots Sunsweet

and some Jammin’ Lemon Ginger…..because this cold snap is going to break soon, right?:

Jammin Lemon Ginger

As for soups…..I want to cook beans and lentils and other sorts of pulses …with greens. I feel a soup week coming on.

 

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A Tale of Two Recipes, cont

Recipe the Second:

‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; “

I can’t think of A Tale of Two Cities without hearing Ronald Colman ….

roland colman

And now for a far better thing. Not that Broccoli Sauce’d Sicilano was bad…..

When I went to my friendly neighborhood super market and saw these little squashes, cute as bugs ears, live and in living color – and 50 cents a piece – I had to get me 2.  I swear I had seen SOMETHING about them in the last week or so, so I starting poking around……

Chayote_BNC

Chayote – it’s a kind of summer squash

 

But could I find anything that even had that word  in it, that word I’m still not sure how to  pronounce. The cashier called them coyote squashes….hey, she knew they were squashes….

So then I turned to the ‘grow veg/eat veg’, the straight and narrow garden to table books that I have unpacked. Several identified them, but didn’t mention how to use them…..and they have aliases….

Deborah Madison Vegetable Literacy, which I’m thoroughly enjoying and will need to read several times, there’s so much between these covers. No chaypote.

veg literacy

Dominca Marchetti The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, which has a dozen dishes I want to do, as well as small batch of giardiniera (five pints being as small a batch that 1 cauliflower can make) lots of summer squashes and zucchinis, no chaypote.

veg of Italy

Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin not a garden to table, but amazing vegetarian food and lots of great asides …..and the book falls open to the Sicilian Spaghetti with Pan-roasted Cauliflower – and where I sub out the pine nuts I’m not too terribly fond of, so why should I pay THAT sort of money for them, with almonds……shades of saucy broccoli….which may have even been the dish he served up at the book signing. My bus ticket is marking the page, so it was on May 6th 2012, in Somerville. His website is Herbivoracious ,too.

herbivoracious

And then I flipped through The Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon.

CD pasion veg

This book is over 1000 pages, a workout in every reading. I love this cover. Shades of Carmen Miranda!

A little back story: Bean By Bean was where I first met Ms Dragonwagon. But not this revised, 21st century edition, no, not at all. It was a slim booklet, like you’d get from some sort of community group edition. Back in the early ‘80’s vegetarian cooking stuff was still very much a small press/artsy/folksy/hippy-ified/ handmade/crafted sort of thing. I read the whole book standing up in a kitchen, oblivious to the gathering going around me. I don’t remember exactly where or what event, because there was a whole book about beans, and the beans were good. The beans were varied. The beans were interesting. The beans were amazing!

The cover was torn off, so I never saw it till I found it on the internet, much more recently.

CDBean bokk1only

The little pamphlet like book on the left is the first BBB that I met up with – without the colorful front cover.The one on he right is the new, revised edition.

The recipes were all beans and were all vegetarian. Since I knew if you give an Italian woman a pound of beans, she can feed a horde 30 different courses….I naturally had to wonder,

“What was ‘Dragonwagon’ before Ellis Island changed it when they came from Italy?”

Yes, I immediately and completely Italianized Crescent Dragonwagon.

I carried this assumption around for a really long time. Hey – there was no internet in the olden days! When The Passionate Vegetarian came out early 21st century, the cover image only reinforced my belief. Look at her – she’d fit right in an Italian crowd. My people do things with flair. And she was certainly my people…ironically, the very heft and size of The Passionate Vegetation kept me from it for a while.Not forever, but still…

arcimboldo friut basket

Another Italian, another fruit basket worn as a hat…..

Fast forward to 6 or 7 years ago.

I join Facebook.

I join to keep in touch with people who I’d worked with. I re-connected with some people I had seen or heard from in years. Then I discover Groups  – places with topics for like-minded people to gather….groups that talk about food and cooking….and in one of these Groups was

Crescent Dragonwagon

She also had her own pages, and she can tell you her own story – like about her name….. (Here’s a hint – she’s not the least bit Italian) This is her website about her, her writing,and workshops . Because she was commenting on some of the same pages I was reading, and I was even daring to offer some sort of comment from time to time, there were some occasions we were part of a ….conversation.

Now, if you want to continue to converse with certain people on Facebook, you have you request to ‘Friend’ them. You can also un-friend people, which isn’t as drastic as it sounds, and you can downright block people, if they turn out to be a troll (an apt image if ever there was one), and you can also set your privacy settings which helps you control where your stuff goes when it leaves you. In short, though – don’t say anything on the internet you wouldn’t want on the 6 o’clock News, film at 11.

So, I send a Friend request to Crescent Dragonwagon.

She wrote back and said the word friend was one she didn’t take lightly, and could I tell her something about myself that we might have in common (she phrased it much, much better). This is the only time anyone on Facebook has responded this way.

I was thrilled. Where to begin????

So I told her about my Aunt Eileen, who gave me my first cookbook and said,

“Every recipe is a story. And not all of them have happy endings.”

(Good Housekeeping).

I was particularly thrilled because she was working on revising – and by revising she pretty much re-worked it from stem to stern – Bean by Bean

cd bean by bean

Sooooo, as I was looking for chayote…..which in the index said, “Chayote. See Mirlitons”, which in turn brings me to the Squash Family which brought me to Pasta with Pumpkin. A pasta recipe on the same page as Pasta with Hearty Greens and Beans, which is rather a way of winter life for me….and because I had taken some of the roasted pumpkin out of the freezer to make a pumpkin panzanella but what I really wanted as a hot dish, which meant I would have to invent savory pumpkin bread pudding….OR I could just make the Pumpkin with Pasta, have my hot meal and be done with it.

But

WAIT

Read the recipe, the whole recipe and nothing but this recipe right NOW.

I have the actual ingredients, except my punkin is already cooked, so just needs to be heated through…..

And so

Punkin’ Pasta

7 oz fettucine or linguine (half a box)

1 # roasted deep orange pumpkin/squash (no peels, no seeds – I don’t really need to add that, do I?) PS – I love my freezer gold!

1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus more for serving

3 cloves garlic, pressed

Salt and pepper

Parmesan cheese

  1. Cook the noodles. Save about a cup of pasta water before you drain.
  2. Put the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the pumpkin and the garlic, stir madly about, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Breakup any of the larger pumpkin chunks – the smaller ones with break down mostly on there on to make the sauce.
  3. Combine the cooked noodles with the hot pumpkin. Adjust season. Add some of the pasta water to loosen, if that’s what you like (I find there’s such a moisture variation with different gourds, that a little extra water is always good to have on hand.)
  4. Serve hot with Parmesan cheese on top.

2 servings.

Note: These are generous servings. I’ve been eating a big bowl and had enough for a whole ‘nother meal, and still had the orphan portion that was just right for a 3 egg frittata.

Adapted from  Pasta with Pumpkin in Crecent Dragonwagon’s Passionate Vegetarian. Workman Publishing: New York. 2002. p.858.

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Filed under Books, Influencers, Recipe, squash, winter

A Tale of Two Recipes

Recipe the First:

The Recipe not followed…….

‘It was the best of times, it was – not exactly the worst of times, but definitely a sub-prime, not all cylinders sparking, Dickens of time.

Travel back in time to earlier in January. This January.

Weather forecast says clear; next day it snows. Weather forecast says snow. Next day is sunny and warm. The weather is not going to be average, although the stats are going to ultimately read that. Even this week the temperature range is from -11 to +48. In One Week. Which will average out to average which is why: nothing is average and average is lie.

Also – when I shop, I go to the back of the Produce section and check out the markdown rack, and fill my cart out after that. In the last few years (decades) I’ve been able to score cauliflower galore for very very little money. Once upon a time there was a soup recipe that called for roasted cauliflower, before the world had discovered roasted veg….maybe Gourmet or Bon Apeptit. We were living on Pleasant Street. I had my discount cauliflower, broke it apart, tossed it with oil, a little S&P, popped it into a hot oven, let the heat do it’s magic. It came out to be added to the rest of the soup fixin’s but as it was cooling…..I re-wrote the recipe to start by roasting 2 cauliflower, one to snack on and one for the soup.

Cauliflower

And NOW since everyone is roasting veg ALL THE TIME AND there’s a drought in California, cauliflower is now puny and rather sad looking and as expensive as beef…..

I don’t eat as much cauliflower as I have been the last few years/decades.

Which brings me back to broccoli. Broccoli was the standard green veg on our table growing up. Green Beans had their place, but broccoli was the Jolly Green Giant of the supper tale. Boiled and served with lemon and butter. The lemon is what made the difference. We all ate it all the time.

Which meant it was sometimes leftover. Cold, with a little more lemon, great on a lunch salad. When my son was little, leftover broccoli was chopped and added to the next night’s mac and cheese, or sometimes the chopped broccoli and olive oil was the macaroni sauce.

So, when the January 13th, 2016 NYT had a Recipes for Health column headlined:

Broccoli’s Saucy Side

I said YES, I remember that, I used to do that!!!!. I could do it again!

Sidebar – This is the way I generally feel Martha Rose Shulman’s column, and I have several of her books and always get distracted when I dip in. I do so wish that the column weren’t called Recipes for Health which sounds like more heavy lifting and less fun then it is. Why not call it Recipes for a Life Well Lived?

Back- … so I got some nicer looking, more my price range broccoli.

Saucy Broccoli, here I come!

The first part of cooking from a recipe is reading the recipe from start to finish.

Then – gather your ingredients and batterie de cuisine

Do not, in other words, put the water on to cook the broccoli BEFORE you’ve read the recipe the whole way through.

And thus begins the ‘not followed’ portion of the program.

It called for broccoli and I had broccoli – so far, so good. Although I hadn’t weighed it and it was….markdown broccoli. Trimmed and ready to go.

 

It called for fusilli and I had pipettes. In the pasta world, they’re same family, similar enough form and therefore function.

 

fusili

fuselli

pipettes

pipettes

It called for garlic, I got out the garlic.

It called for anchovy fillets and I ….

I often have anchovy in the house, and if I did, where would they be? Or are anchovies one of those staples that I current don’t have? And why didn’t I look at this before I went to the store earlier?

BUT

WAIT

I was just this afternoon reading something something and it called for anchovies and it said, “To make this vegan, substitute chopped capers for the chopped anchovy”

YES. Capers, olives, vinegar and hot peppers are all part of my

Fridge Door Pantry Collection.

Open the Fridge – mustards, rooster sauce, leaf lard, fresh ginger, Parmesan cheese….what, no pickled condiments??????Not even giardiniera? Quel dommage!

giardianero jar

Not even an empty jar…..

Now the pot of water is boiling, so I throw the broccoli in. Two minutes to come up with a B plan…..

Open the fridge, open the freezer, open the ONE cupboard that had foodstuffs in it…….

Hot pepper flakes? Yes. Mise those in place.

Olive oil? Also yes, ready to go next to the hot pepper.

Garlic?

garlic

Garlic? Garlic? Bueller??? Where did I put the garlic?

Fine garlic, play hide and seek….wait, beside the olive oil is the fancy flavored olive oil ….Orange Olive Oil….with some raisins in the cupboard and hot pepper and some almonds…..that’s impromptu sorta Sicilian style. Works for me.

So – put the Orange Olive Oil in a pan, toss in the chopped broccoli, add the chopped almonds, toss in a handful of raisins, sprinkle with the hot pepper flakes towards the end. Save some of the pasta water before I drain the pipettes…..pulling a little pasta water is my new fun thing to do with macaroni. I really helps to keep it loose and doesn’t just water down the flavor. It’s a secret magic ingredient, especially if you can remember to do it before you pour it all down the drain.

Mix the macaroni with the hot veg, toss like crazy. Add a little of the pasta water if you need it. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

And this is how I didn’t make Broccoli’s Saucy Side.

As for the garlic….it was in the other room with the car keys near the door…somethings are best not questioned too closely.

to be continued…..

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To make Chocolate Cream

In 1604 Lady Elynor Fetiplace put together a commonplace book – her receipts for food and medicine.  In 1986 Hilary Spurling published excerpts form this collection, with notes and explanations.

EF pb

This is how I first met Elynor Fetiplace back in the 1980’s.

I was able to borrow this volume, but somehow I never bought a copy for myself.

It wasn’t until this century that I got the transcription from Stuart Press. (The Complete Receipt Book of Ladie Elynor Fetiplace: Late Tudor/early Stuart. Never before published in full this is a 3 volume set transcription of the whole original text. About 90% of the work is household remedies from a country gentlewoman the remainder mainly culinary. Stuart Press    )

ef complete3

In historical documents, nothing beats the real thing. Lacking that, the next best thing is an image of the real thing, a photocopy or an electronic image, some sort of facsimile. But even then there are nuances that can be easily overlooked. Skepticism is an important tool of historical research. Transcript is next best from that, and it’s  only if you assume some  error and omission are present.The question is where and what…..and move forward anyhow.

And in this transcript is a recipe To make Chocolate Cream. It’s on the same page as a Barley Cream.

.

Chocolate Melendez

Luis Melendez – that’s a chocolate pot with the handle from a chocolate mill in the background

 

To make Chocolate Cream

Take a Quart of cream, 3 ounces of Chocolate grated, boyle it well together & let it stand till tis cold, & then put in ye whites of 6 Eggs beaten to a froth & sweeten it to your Taste, and then mill it up.

The Complete Receipt Book of Ladie Elynor Fetiplace. Vol. Three. Transcription. Stuart Press: 1999. p.38.

To Make Chocolate Cream in January 2016:

  • Take a quart of cream – we used heavy whipping cream
  • 3 ounces chocolate – we use a 2.7 ounce disk of Taza
  • TazaClassicCollection_large

    the one that was most chocolate and no added anything

    Grate the chocolate into the cream and heat, while stirring to get the chocolate all melted

  • ChocolatePot 1682

    This is a 17th century chocolate pot. If you look close at the bottom of the pot there’s a chocolate mill there, too.

    The ‘A’ plan for cooling this off was to pour it out of the pot and into a bowl, which we could put in the snow…but no snow this January day, not even very much cold (this is NOT a complaint!) so we had to haul it into a fridge to cool.

  • Because 21st century chicken aren’t raised quite the way they were in the past, and Salmonella is an issue with raw eggs, I had searched , unsuccessfully for pasteurized eggs. I ended up with pasteurized egg whites, so we didn’t actually crack any eggs for this dish.  used a wire whisk for the whipping, lacking a chocolate mill.
  • chocolate mills 1687 French

    1687 French mills – Bleguy

    choc whip frotehr

    sold on Amazon as a Wooden Whisk Stirrer Molinillo Mexican Chocolate Cocoa Stirrer Frother. Yep, that about sums it up.

     

    Sweetened with a little sugar, whipped some more……

     

    chocolate cream 30Jan2016

    This is what our final product looked like – a very light very tasty chocolate mouse sort of dish.

    There was none left.

That good.

Sometimes the past should be repeated.

Again and again.

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Filed under Recipe, The 17th century, Wicked Wayback, winter

Candlemas Eve

Ceremony Upon Candlemas Eve

 

Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and misletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all
Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas hall;
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind;
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected there, maids, trust to me,
So many goblins you shall see.

– Poem by Robert Herrick

Herrick’s talk of Rosemary and Bays makes me think of Beef Stew…..

Rosemary_ca_1500

Rosemary – decorative and tasty!

Today is 39 days since Christmas, so get those Christmas decorations and gee-gaws put away  because tomorrow is the last day of Christmas.

In some places Carnival has already begun. Because before Lent begins, there’s still time to party! Mardi Gras is right around the corner.

Is it just me or are some of these masks a little…goblin like? Perhaps they didn’t get all their Christmas branches pulled down and put away!

Bergaigne_P_A_Carnival_Ball

Pierre Bergaigne Carnvial Ball – 17th century – some of these costumes would fit right in in Venice this week

It’s also the feast day of Saint Brigit of Kildare, one of the patron saints of Ireland. She’s often portrayed with an eternal flame.

Brigid bigbrigid large

The days are getting a little longer on each end….the darkness of deep Winter begins to lift.

 

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Bits

The assorted Foodways miscellany that is running around in my head…

Parade Magazine this Sunday had a story on

“Muffin Tin Magic”

muffin tin

No ordinary tin – MAGIC muffin tin!

  • Here’s a keeper: take 2 soft 10” tortillas -they used spinach. (Tortillas were on sale last week so I got – dear Lord, I shouldn’t shop before a meal – a high fiber/low carb one and a Light/fewer calories version. The Light ones are smaller than the Lowcarb ones. Neither says how big it is….   And they are between 7 ½ and 8 ½ inches, and they weigh in differently. The low cal one is 39 grams and the low carb on is 62 grams…..Regardless, I’m gonna try the tortilla cups for avocado and blue cheese salad next week) Cut 2 soft tortillas into quarters. Press each piece into a muffin cup. Brush the cups with olive oil. Bake 5 minutes at 350 ° or until crisp. Cool on a rack. Then fill with salad….you can figure out the rest.
  • Using them as freezer molds for broth or stock – freezer broth pucks would definitely work, measure first so you know how much (1/2 cup or so) and label the freezer bag you store them in.(the label it is a note to self)
  • Using them as a mold for cookie bowls….this would be great to serve individual portions of ice cream in, just make sure your cookie isn’t sturdier then your spoon.
  • But wait – there’s MORE
  • It also suggests using muffin tins as a mise en place. Don’t do this. After you carefully measure everything out into the cups, how do you get things out without spilling half all over the table/counter/floor? Unless it’s toppings for your taco bowl salad…
  • GrabNGo Granola Cups – Granola mixed with 1 large egg and ½ cup honey pressed into a muffin tin (the grated lemon peel was a nice touch) baked to make a little cup and then filled with plain yoghurt flavored with vanilla – how is this not gonna run down your arm after the first bite? 1 cup of yoghurt for 12 muffin cups and each get 1 raspberry – and how long before the bottom sogs out? This seems to be in the close, but no cigar category. It’s very close to something.
  • Spaghetti and meatball nests – cook spaghetti add sauce and mozzarella and 3 large egg whites, press into cups and bake. Place 1 packaged frozen meatball…Wait! don’t use packaged frozen meatballs this way. EVAH. If you must use frozen packaged meatballs, use them in a brown gravy (like Swedish Meatballs or Sweetish Meatballs, with the grape jelly and the chili sauce or the one with cranberry sauce where you mix it up and they sit in a slow cooker for a while. Frozen meatballs should NOT go in any kind of red sauce or red gravy.) Put an egg in instead, and bake a few minutes to shirr it….

Meanwhile in the New York Times Magazine….

  • A Winter’s Tale – Project cooking and cassoulets
casoluet NYT 24Jan16

This is the image that went with the story

Cassoulet is really the Mother of all Casseroles, and has become a high end Professional Dish, although beans and bits cooked slowly is the very definition of ultimate peasant food. The bits (pig) in this particular cassoulet include knuckles, belly, lard, ears, but no tail. I feel a little mislead by the title.

The adviser on this story was not an ancient grandmere somewhere in the South and West of France, but an ambassador of the Universal Cassoulet Academy…it also includes 3 pork knuckles (which is what you call the hock before it’s smoked, in most places, and pigs ‘round here have 4) and 3 duck legs (duck round here have 2 – and if you cook 2 ducks you won’t have to go shopping for duck fat, which is also listed). Anyhow – the reason you need to shop so much for this dish NOW is that you’re not using up the bits and bobs you would have left if you were eating seasonally. The ducks, the pig, the sometimes goose  – all part of what’s around for winter. All those different roots – celeriac, turnip, carrot, and rutabaga – would all be in your garden or root cellar, needing to be used up sooner rather than later. The carrots, anyhow. Turnips can stay in the ground even after a freeze, although a thaw may harvest them for you; rutabagas, ditto. Carrots don’t like freezing and don’t last as long as other things. Most people think they don’t like turnips because the cellaring does NOT improve them, but newly pulled from the ground they are sweet and not rank. It is also the second (or is it the third?) recipe I’ve read this week that refers to a slow cooked pork dish as ‘sticky’ as a selling point.

FC Jan2016

From the January Family Circle I had earmarked (actually dog-eared) a One-Pot Cavatappi dish.

cavatappi -

Cavatappi – the corkscrews a/k/a amori, serpentini, trivelle, stortelli….

I proceeded to make it not quite the way it was written…I wasn’t testing the recipe, it was a concept  I was trying out – put the sauce and the pasta in the pan together, and cook them up. No big pot of water.

Sometime back in December or November, Harold McGee had an article internet floating about the waste of water in cooking pasta, and experimenting with using less. Not entirely sold on this, and as much as I love McGee (I have both editions of On Food and Cooking because they’re each that good) I can’t help but notice that McGee is not an Italian name….so his pasta standard might be a little different than mine.

mcgee

Blue is the first edition, red the second. Known as ‘McGee’

Anyhow – cook the pasta in the sauce.

One

  • I didn’t have cavatappi, so I used fettuccine;
Fettucine1

Fettuccine are little ribbons, not corkscrews. Still good.

  • it called for turkey sausage, I had Hot Italians;
  • it called for grape tomatoes and chicken stock and I used a big (32) oz jar of tomatoes from the Web of Life Farm that I got at the Plymouth Farmer’s Market.
  • It called for 5 oz of fresh baby spinach; I used I package frozen chopped broccoli (I had some baby arugula that I thought I’d use, but I ate it all up in salads before the weekend and Baby Arugula always makes me hum the Raffi song Baby Beluga);
  • it called for ricotta and I used Romano.

Excuse me, I had to stop to laugh out loud. I should have labeled this recipe an inspiration piece, not really a recipe.

Two

  • Using a Dutch oven, brown the sausage; the recipe called for 12 oz turkey sausage out of the casings and crumbled. I wanted some portion control, so I had 4 sausages from a 1 pound package and kept them whole;
  • add some chopped onion and garlic and cook a little more;
  • Because my green veg addition was a frozen block I could have run it through the microwave, which I didn’t think of doing until I was writing this out, I added the frozen brick to the oil, onion and sausage and hacked it around a little until it wasn’t one big frozen thing, 2 minutes or so.
  • Then stir in some broth (2 cups) or a large jar of last summer’s tomatoes and a little broth to make it soupyish (wine would have been a better choice at this point, a ½ cup or a full cup red wine)
  •  I used ½ box fettuccine (about 7 oz). This is the place to add some salt. It called for garlic salt (1/4 teaspoon) which I don’t usually have and I already had a pretty large onion in so I didn’t add more. It doesn’t call for salt in the recipe, but it was pretty flat, and I topped it with Romano cheese. A little salt
  • Bring it to a boil, stirring to keep it from sticking. 8 minutes. I had my colander ready….and then put it back away. Duh. Old habits die hard.
  • Mix in ricotta (which would make it creamy, but blander)
  • I divided the pasta into 4 servings, each serving got a sausage.
  • One for supper; one for lunch Tuesday; one for frittata, one for freezer.
  • Top with grated Romano. Enjoy!

The noodles were a little soggier then I really like them. The sauce really needs to full and rich to get away with this technique. On the try again list.

 

 

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Winter Blues

Ready for the Snow – George Lucas

 

Snow, snow, snow. Cold, cold, cold. Short days, but getting longer, but not nearly long enough. Long nights getting shorter, but not short enough. Not quite enough sunlight. At least the snow makes the full moon light brighter.

Beth went to  some sort of Publishers Book Fair earlier this month and brought me back some samples. (Thank you Beth! XoX). These are books that haven’t yet been released, the advance reading copies, which makes them doubly delightful, being both new reads and being ahead of their own time, as it were.

One book had menus as chapter headings, and the first chapter was Xmas, so I dove in – what better to read in a snow storm/Jonas/apocalypse?

It turned out to be about a woman pursuing a career (that she’s AWFULLY ambivalent about) with a marriage that she’s outgrown and then she re-invents herself as a single in the city …and since she’s had a career for over 20 years, she’s not exactly a Spring Chicken, but on the other hand she has a young daughter…sometimes….and a non-romantic interest nonagenarian (that’s a 90 something) who is a cook/philosopher. And she finds a Mister Man of Her Unrealized (at the books opening) Dreams before the end.

But of course.

A Twenty-First Century Sleeping Beauty/Snow White/Cinderella Fairy Tale, complete with Disneyesque Princess and unnamed Prince Charming.

disney_live_Three_Princess

Even Disney can’t tell them apart anymore

Each chapter in this fairy tale begins with a menu, and some of the dishes have descriptions or almost recipes written in, and good kitchen advice as well. And drinks. There is plenty of alcohol fueling this fairy tale, too.

As I was reading, I was imagining who would be cast in the movie version…Jennifer Lawrence, perhaps,

Jennifer Lawrence

even though Sandra Bullock would be more age appropriate, and no doubt Dustin Hoffman

dustin_hoffman

could play the Yoda/spatula wielding-leading man… or maybe it could be a limited run TV series, that’s part Drama/part Cooking show with cookbook/life manual to go with it. Since she doesn’t write about his death, and he’s ninety something in 2009, there’s sequel material out there……

And so I went to bed. It’s not until this morning that I realized the name of the leading lady is the same name as the author…both first AND last names, a woman who had done the sort of work that the leading lady had done and that the book is dedicated to someone who has the same name as the darling and mostly absent daughter, and

in a Dawn Breaking over Marblehead moment

dawn over Marblehead

Dawn (or light) breaking ovah Marblehead. We take our figures of speech literally round here.

did I realized this might be

MEMOIR.

As a novel, I’d have more to say about this, but as someone’s portrayal of their life……although my own life is sometimes

A Movie Directed By Mel Brooks,

Mel Brooks

it is not a telenovelas or a soap opera or reality show. And it certainly wouldn’t be  in my written versions. That kind of DRAHMA I can’t sustain for longer than a cup of coffee. If that long.

 

On the other hand, Our Leading Man put a homemade blue cheese dressing on avocados, which make me want that combination in the worst way. And since I have some Blue cheese in the house, and a recipe for blue cheese dressing   This one is a creamy version. I have another vinaigrette somewhere….If I can figure out where the book is -it might be on the shelf of the little bookcase that is still at the ancestral home.

Avocados are on my shopping list, even though I still don’t know how to buy one or keep it or eat it in the place between rock hard and tasteless and brown and slightly oozy and scary bad. But avocados and SuperBowl Sunday go together hand in glove, so there are plenty to go around and at a good price, too.

I’ve also been eating orange and red and yellow food, just for the color warmth.

Squash soup made with the frozen squash and some cranberry apple cider that got much sweeter as it cooked; I searched Anna Thomas Love Soup and she had a version of squash soup that had red lentils in it, so I added some of them, and some water. Her soup also had some spices, turmeric, cumin, red pepper – which sounds a lot like curry powder, of which there was none in the house. And although the vegetarian Anna Thomas wouldn’t suggest it, sausage would cut the sweet…

Love Soup

Curry powder and sausage go on the grocery list.

The lentils reminded me of Simon Mujumdar’s Life Saving Dahl, so find his book and put dahl on the list, too. Is Eating My Globe at the ancestral home, too? Interesting what got save first, and once safe was moved to the no worries list…..ah, internet:

EatMyGlobe

 

Life Saving Dahl – Simon Majumdar

And now, back to blues, as in foods.

 

Stiltob cheese

Stilton cheese – a blue cheese

 

 

I bought the bit of supermarket Stilton for a rarebit….and then  took a little trip down a rabbit hole as well.

Just what IS the difference between rabbit and rarebit? When did this become a dish and not just toasted bread and cheese? Inquiring minds want to know!

The short version of which is: It’s confusing! Both rarebits and rabbits abound and there are also a few other names for cheese on toast.

Hannah Glasse (The Art Of Cookery Made Plain & Easy) has the earliest printed Welsh Rabbit recipe, and it’s a rabbit, in 1747. Welsh not the only rabbit in Glasse – there is also Scotch and English rabbits there. In the next chronological reference I could find (this is all rather haphazard and not the least academic) in 1753 (The Ladies Companion)there is A Scotch, A Welsh A Portuguese and An Italian…. and later on there is also Scotch Buck and English Monkey and Blushing Bunny….and the rabbit/rarebit divide isn’t just between England and the US or even between centuries. Both countries and both 19th and 20th centuries use both names. Rabbit Hole.

Alice in Wonderland Tennial

Rabbit or Rarebit?? And just where are you from??????ONE answer, please!

I’m close to crying ‘Uncle’ in all of this, and then it will be a Wicked  WayBack Wednesday post.

In the meantime, this is the blue cheese rarebit that I clipped from Bon Apetit back in 1994 and have enjoyed numerous times since then, especially since I found that the local convenience store sells milk not only in Gallons and Half gallons and Quarts, but also in 14 oz. to-go bottles. As someone who doesn’t drink milk, buying even a quart means I have to come up with at least one other way to use it, so instead of 12 oz of milk, I use the 14 with no harm.

Stilton Rarebit

1 ½ T butter

1 ½ teas flour

1 tsp Coleman’s dry mustard

1 ½ C milk

1 C Stilton (4 oz)(an English blue cheese)

1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

4 slices WW bread, toasted

Walnuts, chopped

 

  1. …Whisk flour in and cook 30 seconds. Whisk in mustard.
  2. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  3. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer till thickened, whisking occasionally: 5-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add ½ the cheese and whisk until melted. Add remaining cheese, whisk until melted and smooth.
  5. Season with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  6. Cut toasted bread slices on diagonal and overlap 4 halves on each of 2 plates. Ladle rarebit over.
  7. Garnish with chopped walnuts.

2 servings.

  • Bon Appetit magazine. Dec 1994 issue (New Year’s supper 1994)Bon Appetit Dec 1994 cover

In my notebook it’s on a page with Dylan Thomas quote:

….there was sherry and walnuts and bottled beer and crackers by the dessertspoons….

By 1994 I knew that ‘cracker’s’ in this case were NOT saltines…..

christmas-cracker_

 

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Gold in them there Gourds

Because,

if you’re house-sitting the week of Halloween and have already been displaced so you’re at your ancestral home but 2/3’s of your stuff is at your former dwelling where the fire was AND you’ll be moving in November….did I mention it was the day before HALLOWEEN…..then you should definitely give into the temptation to buy, not one, but 2 giant and rather unattractive ‘decorative gourds’.

But they were substantial and hefty and the price was right – and they had the promise of being tasty culinary gold.

And after Halloween ALL the Gourds and Pumpkins  will be

GONE

Gone gone gone. As if they had never been here at all; as if there was no need for a Pumpkin or a Gourd in Winter. Winter is for Squash, alone.

Poor squash. Alone, poor lonely squash.

pumpkin 2015

They actually looked quite a bit like this, a Speckled Hound variety, but there were more warts.

amygoldmancompleat squash

SOMEWHERE I have a copy of this book, which has everything you could want to know about squash and pumpkins between it’s covers.  But think I learned well. Thank you, Amy G.!

The upside is that not only have they been decorative, but once I had time to hack, seed, peel and cook one……I have over 10 pounds of delicious golden squash/pumpkin/gourd (because they’re different names for essentially the same thing) .

You can’t freeze squash or pumpkin without cooking it first (consider the water content – you’ve seen this on front steps everywhere you look every year around a Halloween frost). Keep them indoors where the frost doesn’t go and you have much more lee-way. When the weather is cool  – and this week has been downright cold, and windy and rainy/snowy/sleety – it’s a perfect excuse to keep the oven going, as you roast it up to store in the freezer.

My excuse to keep the oven on and the kitchen toasty on an otherwise far too gray a day . Like John Alden, I shall speak for myself.

In typical fashion, the first quarter of the pumpkin took more  (or at least as much) time as the last three quarters.  I weighed the seeds and peelings when done – a little over 5 pounds. I wasn’t particularly wasteful; it really was that big.

I did have the option of roasting it whole, which I did once several years ago to a giant Blue Hubbard, Hubbard being my Dad’s favorite. That squash had been used for decorative purpose, and I saved it from the Dumpster. It was a carry in both arms /bigger then a big baby big.

Hubbard_squash

Blue Hubbard

I actually brought it to the ancestral home, poked it with an ice pick (evidently the real reason that that was still hanging around. Even though we called it an ‘ice box’ it was an up to date Frigidaire, frost free and everything) and put Baby Blue on the biggest baking sheet in the house and put it in the oven for a couple of hours until it was all  schlumpy. When it was cool enough, we used the stainless steel serving spoons to break in, separate the gold from the skin and the seeds and packed the gold  into baggies. Lots and lots of baggies. Which we stored in the freezer until there was need for gold. And it got us both through the better part of the winter.

But if you roast a squash or pumpkin whole, you end up with pulpy pulp, and I wanted to hold onto a little more structure/texture.

My new kitchen has 4 windows, so I set my cutting board on the table and was able to watch the dogs walking their people on the green, and cars coming and going at the street corner and the sun moving on the  horizon….I was also paying attention to the big knife that is necessary to cut a big squash…and my knives are home! Knives are sharp. No wounds to report.

Cut the giant in half.

Seed with the ice cream scoop. Seriously the right tool for the job.

Ice+Cream+Scoop

Ice cream scoop/pumpkin seed scoop – a multi-tasker!

Cut into whatever shapes make it possible to peel, peel, peel.

Toss with a little oil, sprinkle with a little salt, spread out on a baking sheet and pop into a 375° oven until it’s done…..20-40 minutes – poke it with a fork, you’ll know.

pumpkinNimono_of_japanese_pumpkin_2014

This is what it looks like coming out of the oven. You can eat it just like this. While humming happy food songs.

Some I ate off the roasting pan as it came out of the oven….lunch.

  • I kept  three of the chopped pounds to add to an equal amount of potatoes for slow cooker  for Squash and Potato with Rosemary that I’ve made before.

 

Italian slow cooker book

  • I’m going to use some of the leftovers of this to make a version of the squash and potato soup. I’ll puree the already cooked veg mix with the broth, and since I’ve already seasoned with rosemary I might leave the sage out. Note to self: Next time cook squash and potato with sage instead of rosemary.
  • Some of the squash/potato mixture will be mixed with eggs and fried in olive oil, a golden and easy fritatta. I fried a chopped shallot in some olive oil, added a little more oil, put the egg/potato/pumpkin in. When the bottom was browned, lowered the heat, put a lid on it and waited impatiently for it to be done.I had thought to sprinkle a little cheese over, but I forget and it was LOVELY.A glass of pear cider and a greens salad with pecans and blue cheese dressing made up the rest of that supper.
  • Some will be thinned with a little broth (or wine) and mixed with some hot macaroni, I’m thinking some hot pepper to season that…

Smoke & Pickles by Edward Lee has another version of Squash Mac and Cheese that I’ll be trying with freezer gold.

Gold updates  as they occur.

 

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Filed under squash, winter