HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving 101 - Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake



The Comfort Family's Farm on Lumber Lane in Bridgehampton. A great place to get your pumpkin if you are lucky enough to live on the East End.  
           Beyond Roast Turkey and Stuffing, there's nothing that says Thanksgiving more than pumpkin.  But this year, instead of pumpkin pie, how about a phenomenally delicious Pumpkin cake?  This one, with it's brown butter frosting and pecan topping, really does take the cake.  
        For Thanksgiving, Andrew is always bitten by the pumpkin bug…well, not literally, but he goes into high pumpkin mode.  With help from Fine Cooking, the magazine we really think would make a terrific addition to your kitchen, he made this  remarkable cake:  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving 101: Gratin of Sweet Potatoes and Leeks



        My friend Betty once told me a riotous story of being invited to a Thanksgiving dinner and being asked to "bring something".  When she arrived on the big day, there were 12, count 'em, sweet potato casseroles.  Lesson learned: If you're going 'potluck' on Turkey Day, assign the side dishes.  And you couldn't do much better than this deliciously rich gratin. It's a true example of  over-the-top Thanksgiving cooking. Fair warning…this is one of the richest things (aka fatty) I’ve made in a very long time.  But it was so delicious and really satisfying in tiny portions that I’d make again in a heartbeat…assuming I still had a pulse after consuming the pancetta and cream involved in the dish.
The other great thing about this dish is that it benefits from being made ahead. You can put the whole thing together a couple of days in advance and take it right up to the baking stage on the big day.  It also is very forgiving and can be cooked longer than the time given which is always a huge help when you're putting together your Thanksgiving dinner.  Another advantage to it's timing is that it's a lot easier to serve in beautiful little squares if it rests before serving.
All in all, it's a winner in every way.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Baking...Chocolate Babka from Martha Stewart



            One day last summer, Andrew was in a huge rush to catch the Jitney out to Bridgehampton.  Starving, he ran into a gourmet shop on Lexington Avenue.  Prior to this occasion, Andrew’s only encounter with Babka was on an episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry and Elaine were thwarted in their attempt to buy a Chocolate Babka and had to take a Cinnamon Babka instead.  Andrew was much more fortunate and was soon tucking into this glorious over-the-top indulgence with obscene amounts of chocolate miraculously held together by Brioche-like bread.  And something more:  A great Babka not only contains masses of chocolate, it combines all that chocolate with, yes, Cinnamon!  And as if the whole piece wasn’t already flawless, the Babka Andrew ate was covered in streusel.  I don’t think he was off the Jitney five minutes before he headed straight to the cookbook library we keep in our kitchen.  In very little time, he landed on a recipe calling for staggering amounts of chocolate, tablespoons full of cinnamon, streusel topping and no less than 5 sticks of butter.  Eureka!  Martha Stewart’s Mother’s Babka was coming to our kitchen.  And as I started to think of Thanksgiving recipes, I thought back to that Babka. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Make-Ahead Meatballs for Beef Stroganoff


  
        I don't think it constitutes a trend but two of my food magazines published recipes for basically the same dish this month.  The magazines in question hardly rival Gourmet.  “Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food” is geared to the home cook and one who generally doesn’t like even the mildest surprises when they cook.  “Cuisine-at-Home” comes with 3 hole punches on every page so you can build your own cookbook with their pretty basic recipes. These are not generally go-to resources for me:  I prefer to be more adventurous and at least challenge myself with new flavors and cooking styles. But somehow, I cannot resist a new take on meatballs.  And Beef Stroganoff is one of my favorites from way back. Calling as it does for fillet of beef however has dimmed my enthusiasm. With the price of beef fillet approaching the stratosphere, if I am going to cook one, I am not about to cover it in sour cream.  Not too long ago, I made a version using sirloin, which is about the best buy in beef I can find—at least here in New York.   What a disappointment that was!  Way too tough!  But the dueling photos in the two magazines really did appeal to me.  Topping egg noodles in one and spaghetti in the other, they were just the kind of comfort I was looking for. And in Chinese menu fashion, I made the dish with the meatballs from one and the Stroganoff from the other.