Posting Will Resume Tomorrow

Today, please send prayers, good thoughts, hope, love or whatever kind of positive energy you believe in to everyone affected by this morning’s shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

And hold your loved ones a little tighter when you see them.

From the Market: Stone Fruit Edition

Stone Fruit Edition

“You’re gonna get the shits.”

It was the late 70s and I was maybe 10 years old — 10 being my default age for somewhat indistinct childhood memories — and the wind was whipping my hair into a rat’s nest. It was summer and I was riding in the back of a pickup truck with a group of kids, heading back to our meeting place after an afternoon of picking peaches. Oh, there was an adult riding with us who was there in a supervisory capacity, because there has to be ONE responsible grown-up around when you’re transporting a bunch of kids IN THE BACK OF A PICKUP TRUCK. No, we weren’t day laborers or or migrant peach-pickers, but a group of Mennonites gathered for a weekend pig roast in Mississippi to celebrate the dedication of a new church building. I suppose the adults wanted to get us out of the way and thought we’d burn off some energy gathering fruit.

I don’t remember the activity of picking itself, but the trip home is firmly planted in my memory. As I rode IN THE BACK OF THE PICKUP TRUCK, feeling the exhilaration of flying down the road while smiling with my mouth closed to prevent accidental bug ingestion, I saw those sacks of peaches before me and was overcome with a powerful peach-lust, the likes of which I’d never felt before. The scent was overwhelming, the skins so soft! I almost could imagine how Roberto Benigni felt about those pumpkins in Night on Earth! So I did what any kid would do; I devoured many peaches and started a full-scale peach-eating frenzy among my compatriots, complete with pit-spitting from the truck. I can only imagine the extent of the chromosomal damage done by eating so many unwashed fruits sprayed with who-knows-what insecticide was popular back then. After seeing me pluck one peach after another from the sack, the lone adult interjected that I miiiight possibly be concerned about my bowels later on if I continued (not a word about chromosomal damage, though). Lucky for me, there was no grand shitting incident then or later at the pig roast, but that experience did inaugurate my life-long love of peaches and, by extension, all stone fruits.

So when I saw the bounty of organic stone fruits at the Orchards of Concklin booth at the Ringwood Farmers’ Market, I got a little giddy. But my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and I came home with far too many fruits to eat on their own before they spoiled. Good thing there’s no shortage of recipes for such a problem at this time of year. I remembered saving this grilled kale salad from Bon Appetit to one of my Pinterest boards, and it turned out to be a perfect lunch. Grilling kale is nothing new, but the tartsweet plums, the creamy goat’s milk ricotta from Edgwick Farm, and honeyed balsamic vinaigrette shone against the background of smoky kale and set this apart from a standard salad preparation.

gluten-free

While I was grilling the kale, I cut the rest of the fruit in half, oiled it lightly, then tossed it on the grate to cook so it would last through the week. It made a great, simple dessert right away — an assortment of grilled fruit with more of that luscious goat’s milk ricotta drizzled with a little aged balsamic vinegar (the sweet stuff, not the grocery-store variety), fresh thyme and truffle honey.

gluten-free

Need. More. Of. This. Better add it to the list for this weekend.

gluten-free

With the rest of the grilled fruit, I made a mixed-fruit butter. The skins slipped off after grilling, so I threw the fruit halves in a saucepan with a little sugar and a splash of brandy, then cooked them down till the sauce was thick. To get it velvety smooth, I puréed it in my food processor for a bit. I’m not too proud to admit it’s pretty satisfying just spooned from the jar, but if you make this, save a little, because it’s stellar with pork chops. And eat to your heart’s content — I’m sure you won’t have any, er, troubles.

Chocolate Cake!

gluten-free chocolate cake

I saw this chocolate-sour cream cake on Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn last week and simply could not get it out of my mind. A two-layer chocolate-sour cream cake! I had to make it. HAD TO. Because Gil’s birthday was just a few days ago, it gave me the great excuse I didn’t really need (because I have this here blog, you see). I used Jules Gluten-Free Flour in place of the AP flour in the original recipe.

gluten-free chocolate cake

So I got to work as soon as Gil left for for the office this morning, and it still took most of the day because I’m not much of a baker. Nor am I much of an icer, from the evidence presented above. Still, a crumb coat must be applied, no matter how messily.

gluten-free chocolate cake

I think it looked pretty nice once I was finished. And even though powdered sugar-based frostings aren’t really my thing, I couldn’t stop sampling. I think it was the sour cream that made it so irresistible.

Just to be safe, though, I decided to add a layer of poured ganache. What could it hurt?

gluten-free chocolate cake

You really should’ve seen my absurd setup for this shot: Seated on the floor, camera balanced on my right knee with auto focus engaged (I hoped), while my left hand stretched as far as possible to get the ganache close to the center of the cake. Oh, and let’s not forget the big reflector balanced on my left shoulder. It’s a wonder I ever get anything in focus at all. The things I do for you!

gluten-free

Naturally, I allowed the ganache to cool just long enough lose the completely smooth surface I made it for IN THE FIRST PLACE, so I rummaged around in the fridge till I found a visual distraction — pecans. PECAAAAANS! (Have I mentioned that I’m not much of a baker? Because I’m not. At all.)

gluten-free

See? All you notice is the pecans, right?

Another Hanukkah, Another Macaroon

Hanukkah treat

I’m heading to Louisiana tomorrow for an extra-long (and warm-weathered) Christmas visit with my family! (Cue happy dance.) Gil has to work this week, so he’ll join us after spending a few days alone with the dogfaces. Since I won’t be around for the start of Hanukkah, I thought I’d make Gil a batch of chocolate-drizzled macaroons to remember me by.

Hanukkah
I was still working on my drizzling technique with these first few, but they’re charming in a jolie laide sort of way, right?

Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate it! Next up: something savory to balance all of the sugar I’ve been posting…

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “Another Hanukkah, Another Macaroon”

Changing it Up

I’ve been in the breakfast doldrums lately. My daily dose of yogurt holds little appeal, and oatmeal and eggs aren’t doing much for me, either. Still, a girl has to eat, so I whipped up a quinoa porridge which fortified me for a long, cold walk with the doggies. The texture’s closer to steel cut oats than to rolled or instant, and it has a wonderful nutty flavor even when cooked with milk. I made it with one part quinoa to 2 1/2 parts liquid (milk & water), but will distort the proportions even more next time to see if I can get it to a rice pudding consistency. I topped it with a little extra milk, cinnamon and a drizzle of honey, and it really hit the spot.

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Remember the roasted pears with amaretto mascarpone from last weekend? Well, I repurposed the leftover cream into semifreddo and it might be even better now. So easy to do — just lightly oil a loaf pan, line it with plastic wrap, spoon the cream into the pan and smooth it down, then fold the excess plastic wrap over the top. Freeze until you’re ready for dessert! We had it with some of the leftover pears, chilled and sliced.

A brief hello

We’ve had a busy, busy, busy few weeks. Between traveling to St. Louis for Passover, catching up at work, and puttering around the house, I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking by my standards, though there has been some. More updates coming soon, but for now a picture from today’s birthday brunch at Double Crown — Samuel Delany (the guest of honor) posing with his picture from last week’s New York Magazine.

Happy birthday, Chip! Here’s to many, many more.

Almost heaven, New Jersey…?

091115_sunset1

Sure, I moan about missing summer, but a sunset like this makes it easier to consider the glass half full — the stripped-down trees guarantee an unobstructed view of any late afternoon glory that comes our way. (As always, click on the images to see the larger view on flickr.)

091115_sunset2

Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Coldberg!

Thanks to everyone for their submissions in the Name My New Refrigerator contest! We have a winner!

If the sheer number of entries was the deciding factor, Marcella (or Marcilla) would’ve won hands-down. Your persistence is admirable, Claudia, but…

Frigid Moynahan held the lead for most of the day, and I just didn’t see how anyone could top that, but…

Nothing made me laugh as hard as Colda Meir. It won with a combination of timeliness (the high holidays are approaching) and visual accuracy (let’s face it, for all her charms, Ms. Meir was a bit, erm, boxy).

So let’s hear it for Kate! You get to select your prize now. What’ll it be? Cookies? A baby portrait session? Babysitting (and any day now)?