HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Vegetables. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vegetables. Show all posts

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Zucchini Corn and Parmesan Fritters




         I’ve always gotten a kick out of stories of massive Zucchini crops suddenly emerging in August and causing their growers to wonder what on earth to do with all of them.  When I was in Elementary School, I distinctly remember a classmate whose mother’s solution was to send her son armed with enormous bags of Zucchini to school each day.  He was quite systematic in his giving.  He would go to a different teacher’s classroom every day and deposit a bag on her desk, beaming.  The first teacher was overwhelmed with his mother’s largesse.  But by the end of the week the last teacher was simply overwhelmed, likely because Teachers #1, 2, 3 and 4 had already shared the bounty of Gordon’s mother’s garden with all their fellow teachers.  Did she go home and make Zucchini bread? Or Zucchini pickles? I can’t help but hope that she made Zucchini Fritters because undoubtedly Gordon and his well-intentioned mother would have been forgiven.   These wonderful cakes, fried to a crisp, are an American classic.  Did you know that Crab Cakes are actually fritters?   And while you can make them with everything from apples to pineapples to peas, the season’s bumper crop of Zucchini and Corn make an irresistible fritter.  Especially when freshly grated Parmesan cheese is added to the batter.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Thomas Keller's Ratatouille

         Thomas Keller, arguably the most influential chef in the country, recently wrote about Ratatouille in the Los Angeles Times.  He wasn’t talking about the 2008 movie of the same name, a fanciful food fable that won the Oscar that year for best Animated Feature.  He was referring to that summer classic that incorporates so many fresh vegetables your kitchen looks like you’ve robbed a farm stand.  What Chef Keller pointed out was how adaptable the dish is.  It starts out as a vegetable stew that’s an incomparable side dish or a vegetarian meal all by itself.
It is quite labor intensive so there’s no point in making a tiny batch of the stuff. Instead Chef Keller encourages making a recipe that yields 16 1 cup portions.  This, he points out, gives you the basis for any number of pasta sauces, a perfect soup base-- even a sandwich spread.  The one thing the dish requires, besides a cornucopia of fresh produce, is time.  The start to finish on the dish is 4 hours.  I’d say that actually errs on the short side. But a lot of that time is spent while the ratatouille sits in the oven reducing the liquid away until you’re left with beautifully tender vegetables in a thick, silken sauce.  So you can sit back and stir occasionally.  All that time is a perfect opportunity to re-view “Ratatouille”, the movie.  If you’re uninitiated to its charms, it’s the story of an ambitious young chef and, yes, a Rat who cook away in a Parisian restaurant.  And what foodie doesn’t want to revisit Paris?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A summer starter and a side: My Chilled Cucumber Soup and Marinated Summer Vegetables adapted from Bon Appetit



         A bowl of chilled soup can really start a summer meal off right.
Make enough of it, and anytime you want, there’s a bowl of cool comfort waiting in the fridge.   As to today’s side, it’s a terrific way to have vegetables on hand and at the ready.  You do a simple roast of the farm stand’s best, then while warm douse them with a marinade with just enough garlic and fresh oregano to give them some lift.  I wish I could say the Cucumber soup was farm stand material. The recipe calls for something from fairly far away. All the way from a greenhouse in California.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A melange of Asparagus and any Green Spring Vegetable you'd like


        
Asparagus season is here and we can’t get enough of the stuff. I’ve already served it in last year’s spicy stir-fry with chiles. http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2011/05/spicy-pork-with-asparagus-and-chile.htmld. And then as a dinner salad that makes a meatless meal  http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2011/05/spicy-pork-with-asparagus-and-chile.html and then of course, there’s roasted asparagus which can be served as a side dish,an appetizer or, adding an egg, a light supper: 
http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2011/06/roasted-asparagus-with-lardons-and.html.  Now to add to our collection of asparagus recipes, comes this symphony of green.  It combines not only tender asparagus spears but Spring’s green beans or haricots verts, Fava beans or Edaname, baby peas—even lettuce if you’d like.  It started off as a recipe in La Cucina Italiana magazine entitled “Primizie verdi con scamorza e olio picante” or Green Spring Salad with Scamorza and Spicy Olive Oil.  You’ll notice there’s not one word about Asparagus in the name of the recipe.  But on closer inspection,
Asparagus was a key ingredient among several others. At a recent dinner party we gave, instead of offering up steamed, boiled or roasted asparagus exactly like everyone’s been eating it since asparagus season began, this gave us the chance to introduce it with several other Spring vegetables. The result is a side dish that looks like you went to an inordinate amount of trouble to make.  In fact, it’s amazingly easy.  And what I also discovered was this is an incredibly adaptable recipe and that you can use virtually any green vegetable you’d like.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tian of Summer Vegetables served two ways

One night it's a glorious side dish...
The next day it's a delicious lunch!  

            With our local farm stands brimming with the most beautiful vegetables, it’s a fun challenge to find ways to eat them every chance we get.  Last week I turned to a tian to make use of some glorious summer squash, zucchini and field tomatoes.  The word “Tian” is French and originally referred to the clay cooking casserole used to prepare this Provencal-style mix of vegetables roasted to perfection au gratin -- covered with a layer of cheese.  Interestingly, the French use the word ‘tian’ to describe not just the vegetable version of the dish but anything layered—even a dessert. And in a wonderful coincidence, “Tian” is also the Chinese word for “Heaven”.  And I have to concur: this is heaven especially when I discovered the leftover Tian created a second meal the next day.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Joe Beef’s Big Beautiful Roasted Mushrooms



         I’ve already waxed poetic over Joe Beef, that phenomenal Montreal restaurant where we craved everything we ate.  Almost everything we tried was truly over the top.  And Andrew and I were not the least bit surprised to see that “The World According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of sorts” tops most Top Ten Cookbooks of 2011 lists.   The book is just a delight and just as delightful as Frederic Morin whom we were so pleased to meet when we ate there.  I literally bought the book the first day it came out in the US.  And of course, I couldn’t wait to try the recipes that he and his partner, David McMillan have put together for their readers.  But it may come as a surprise that the first recipe I tried was one for simple large white mushrooms. And I thought, “if we’re doing 12 days of Christmas recipes, why not include this one?”  It’s a perfect accompaniment to any holiday roast—beef, chicken, pork or lamb.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Andouille Sausage and Shrimp with Creole Mustard Sauce adapted from Bon Appetit and Stir-Fried Green Beans with Cumin adapted from Suvir Saran



         One of the great joys of cooking for me is finding flavor combinations that work together beautifully even though they come from completely different cooking traditions.  That’s what this dinner does. It takes a wonderful Cajun dish from Bon Appetit full of shrimp and spicy sausage in a truly delicious mustard sauce and pairs it with an Indian side dish. In itself, each dish is wonderful to eat.  Put them together and you create another sensation on the plate.  And it even comes down to color: The green beans are the perfect counterpoint to the bright red peppers, pink shrimp and golden sausage.  And to top it all off, you can get the whole dish on the table in something like 35 minutes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Simple Grilled Lamb Chops and Chickpeas in Star Anise and Date Masala


      The great challenge of home cooking is finding ways to bring new life to everyday family favorites.  At our house, this is a true mission since every meal is a candidate for this blog. We are constantly on the lookout for ways of making meals that are new and different.   One of the easiest ways of doing this is changing up the sides that go with, for instance, grilled lamb chops.
      Lamb chops are a staple at our house.  We buy trimmed loin lamb chops for an amazingly good price at Costco .  The last time I looked at our butcher’s,  1 lb. of them were the same price as the entire 10 pack that I’d bought there !  We divvy them up, use our Seal a Meal, then freeze them and pull them out and defrost them in the fridge.  They do not seem worse for wear and they are very juicy with the distinctive rich flavor that makes lamb so deliciously different from any other meat.  I marinate them in Worcestershire sauce then grill them under the broiler for 6 minutes a side. Perfection!  But last fall I was reading the New York Times Sunday magazine when I discovered a great accompaniment that really makes the simply grilled lamb chop a whole other dinner.