Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Photo Dump

The boy and I have been tag-team-babysitting our Tartine bread. We have had varying success in our first four three-day batches. Artisan bread, challenge of the year.
It may be fast food, but it is locally sourced everybody. Burgerville is the place to be for a quick outside lunch when running errands in da 'couve. 

This jalapeño is the pride and joy of our heat-loving crops. She will be moving outside full-time this week, all 10 flowers and all.
I cooked up an extremely locally raised rabbit low and slow from a rabbit pie recipe. I served it over polenta.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sweet Onion and Thyme Dip

First barbecue of the season and everyone was positively thrilled just to be able to sit outside until 9pm and still be able to see each other. There is something so freeing about being able to be outside late into the night without feeling like anything is coming to an end. And of course nothing makes staying outside all night better than a charcoal barbecue turning out delicious, smoky, grilled burgers and veggies? Well, maybe dip. I love dip. It is a sad part of the night when the chips run out before the dip. This dip goes great with a barbecue. Toss it out with some potato chips and eat up. It is the lightest of onion dips, yogurt and thyme keep it tasting fresh and bright. Plus slow cooked onions, this is a scrumptious dip. I bet you could even smear some on your burger, or dip any assorted vegetables in it. I can't wait to spend more nights outside, eating, drinking and enjoying the company of great people, this summer is going to be good.
Sweet Onion and Thyme Dip adapted from Sunset Magazine 

Makes 2 cups

2 cups finely chopped sweet onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus some for topping
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat Greek yogurt 

1. Cook the onion in a large frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Add chopped thyme, salt and pepper and cook for another minute. Let cool. 
2. Stir in yogurt and transfer to a bowl. Chill for at least 30 minutes (it's even better the next day. Garnish with thyme sprigs.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Honey Roasted Pineapple

It was tropical breakfast time at my place, even though it was dreary outside and spring has barely sprung, I snagged a few sweet smelling pineapples and wanted to use us some of the multiple bags of (different varieties) of shredded dried coconut. Don't forget to use coconut milk in these coconut pancakes and top the whole thing with leftover glazing syrup. The pineapple get warm, soft and even sweeter in the over with beautiful caramelized ends. And keep in mind, every thing an oven can do a barbecue can do better. I am planning on bringing a marinated dish of pineapple to grill up at a party this weekend. Some beautiful grill marks, extra caramelized edges and a touch of smokiness would be lovely on these pineapple spears. They could be sliced up for burgers, or served with ice cream for a quick outdoor dessert. 
Honey Roasted Pineapple adapted from Bon Appetit 

Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons honey
1 medium ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges
1/4 cup creme fraiche or yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 
2. Stir first three ingredients in a large bowl until sugar dissolves. Add pineapple; toss to coat. Let marinate tossing occasionally, for about 1o minutes. 
3. Place pineapple, one flat side down on the prepared sheet; reverse marinade. 
4. Roast pineapple for 15 minutes. Turn, brush with marinade, and roast until tender and caramelized, 10-15 minutes. 
5. Let cool slightly, divide up among plates spoon yogurt alongside and drizzle with remaining marinade. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Salt and Vinegar Potato Crisps

I can devour salt and vinegar potato chips, especially the thick cut ones with a liberal sprinkling of that salty vinegary seasonings coating the crisp chips. It is ridiculous, I can't buy the things because I have no self control around them. But I found a way around this problem, (not around the lack of self control) but a way around the fried version and around having to buy a giant bag. Just make your own. These crisps are boiled in vinegar so they are tangy all the way through, you salt use as much salt as you want and even spruce them up with a variety of other spices. This original recipe call for grilling the potatoes, which I think would add an amazing smoky flavor and really nice looking grill marks. I was even planning to grill these ones at my backyards first barbecue of the season but then I avoided the tedious flipping process and threw them in the oven. They came out crispy, salty and delightfully vinegary. I think I will be sneaking vinegar from the pickling supplies so that I can eat these all summer long.
Salt and Vinegar Potato Crisps adapted from Heidi Swanson

2 cups white vinegar
2 pound of potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch slices (use a mandolin) 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. 
2. Pour the vinegar into a medium saucepan, add the potatoes, adjusting as needed to that the vinegar covers them completely. 
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the potaotes are just fork tender. (You want them to hold their shape, so they don't fall about when you move them around later.) 
4. Let the potatoes cool in the vinegar for 30 minutes. Drain well, then very gently toss with with the olive oil, salt and pepper. 
5. Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, flipping once. Keep an eye on them, they can burn quickly. 
6. When crispy sprinkle with a pinch of salt and serve immediately. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Almond Coconut Granola

Mmm granola, it has been done before, but after smelling batch after small batch toast away, I wanted to make a small batch  myself. I wanted this small batch to feature at least one of the bags of dried coconut that keeps falling off of my shelf (I might have gone a little crazy in the bulk dried fruit section). So coconut was the starting point. While pondering over this granola I decided that I really don't like dried fruit in my granola. It messes with the texture. This granola has a very uninterrupted texture, just toasted oats, coconut and almonds. It might benefit from a little ground ginger or tiny diced crystallized ginger, if you are into that kind of thing. I have been tossing a handful of this nutty, coconut blend over yogurt with some fresh mango and it is delightful. 
Almond Coconut Granola adapted from Gourmet 

3 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
6 tablespoons honey

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. 
2. In a large bowl stir together oats, almonds, coconut and salt. 
3. In a small saucepan melt butter with honey over low heat, stirring until combined. Pour butter mixture over oat mixture and stir until combined well. 
4. Spread the oat mixture in an even layer on a baking sheet (it may take two pans). Bake in middle of oven, stirring every 5 minutes, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. 
5. Cool before serving. Granola may be kept in an airtight container at cool room temperature for 2 weeks. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pickled Peppers with Shallots

 I really, honestly made this recipe because I think it is gorgeous. A beautiful jar of floating colorful pepper rings combined with slivers of shallot and garlic. The original recipe uses mild bell peppers, I used a variety pack of spicy peppers that was around the grocery store for Cinco de Mayo. Again, I went for pretty and these pepper are definitely to spicy for my taste, but I am kind of a wimp. I rip up my pepper rings and spread the tiny pieces over my plate. My favorite part is the shallots, pickled and spruced up with just a touch of heat from the surrounding peppers. But for those who love the heat, these pickled peppers are divine. They were liberally sprinkled over fish tacos on Cinco de Mayo and would be a great addition to a Vietnamese rice noodle salad, slice of pizza, mountain-high nachos and much, much more. This jar could be the centerpiece of almost any dinner table, or there could be many small jars of varying degrees of spice. Or for the wimpy end of the table and one for the those who love the burn. 
Pickled Peppers with Shallots adapted from Molly Wizenberg and Bon Appetit

1 pound mini peppers (mild bells or a spicy blend), sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch rings, seeded
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cups distilled vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Pinch of coarse kosher salt

1. Place peppers and shallots in a medium bowl. 
2. Mix vinegar and next 4 ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium het, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. 
3. Remove brine from heat; carefully pour over peppers and shallots. Cover bowl; let stand 5 minutes. 
4. Uncover; cool to room temperature. 
5. Transfer to a quart-size jar, pressing peppers into brine. Cover; chill at least 4 hours and up to 10 days. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Homemade Butter

I have been showing this recipe off to my friends and it continues to shock them. It really is, really easy to make butter. All you have to do is shake heavy cream for about 15 minutes and in a few seconds it will transform from whipped cream to large chunks of butter! It is a shocking, exciting and amazingly simple process. It is deeply satisfying to demystify butter for people. It seems that our whole generation does not know where butter comes from. Our parents and grandparents aren't shocked, of course butter comes from shaken heavy cream. It is common sense to them, a practical concept, not at all shrouded in mystery. 
If you think that most of your friends have never made butter, now is the time to get a mason jar and some heavy cream and shake away the mystery. Everyone can pass the jar around and everyone will be extremely impressed by your culinary prowess. Plus if you make your own butter, you can buy cream from your favorite local dairy producer and once you have a jar of homemade butter you can find all kinds of excuses to spread it on your favorite toast, scones or maybe even a cake. Maybe you will make some clams or herb butter. The options are endless.
Homemade Butter adapted from Emeril 

Makes about 6 ounces of butter

1 pint heavy cream, very cold
Pinch salt, optional

1. Fill a large mason jar about halfway with cream. Tightly secure the lid and shake as hard as possible until chunks of butter start to form, 15 to 30 minutes. 
2. Pour the contents of the jar into a strainer set over a bowl. The liquid in the bowl is buttermilk and can be refrigerated and stored for another use. 
3. Rinse the butter with very cold water until the water runs clear. Place the butter in a small bowl and work with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to press out any remaining liquid. Discard this liquid. 
4. Add salt to butter and combine. 
5. Transfer butter to a clean container for keeping, pressing with a wooden spoon or spatula press out any air bubbles. Refrigerate until ready to use.