From the Market: Week 5

gluten-free

Right off the bat, I’ll admit that yes, I cheated a little here. Asparagus hasn’t been seen at the Ringwood Farmers’ Market for the past two weeks, but 1) I had a craving and 2) didn’t it make for a pretty — if slightly pornographic — shot?

Because I operate under the assumption that pretty much everything is better when topped with a fried or poached egg (especially the super-fresh ones we get from Nina), I went with a variation on a shaved asparagus salad from the pages of Food & Wine for Sunday’s lunch:

The ricotta salata I substituted for the Parmesan was creamy and subtle, but I think I’ll try the recipe as written next time for even more of a punch.

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Because I eat yogurt with fruit every weekday for breakfast, I like to change things up a little on weekends, so we had gluten-free pancakes before hitting the market Saturday morning. I’m still playing around with flour combinations for breads and pie crust, but this pancake recipe was perfect as written. (By the way, I have no plans to turn this into a blog about dietary restrictions, but if you’re looking into a gluten-free diet, I highly recommend the Gluten-Free Girl blog. It’s an amazing resource.)

But back to the pancakes. I cooked them in only about 1/2 teaspoon of butter each, but they were so rich-tasting and slightly sweet on their own that they only needed a dollop of the raspberry jam I picked up recently from B&B Jams to put them over the top.

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I didn’t really load up on fresh vegetables this weekend because I went overboard last week and still had quite a bit hanging around in my vegetable drawers. I’ve been on a leftover kick all week long, but only yesterday did I finally get around to using up the last bit of the smoked beef tongue (courtesy of Snoep Winkel Farm) I made last weekend. Of course, on that first day, we had it in tacos as we always do, but during the week it made appearances sliced on crackers with Dijon mustard or just nibbled out of hand straight from the cutting board.

But my plan for Saturday’s lunch included my latest favorite way to use leftover bits of meat and vegetables: Vietnamese bun, a refreshing salad served with cold rice noodles, and the perfect thing on a hot summer day.

This was made entirely with odds and ends from the refrigerator: Tatsoi, cabbage, carrots, red bell peppers, radishes, green onions, basil and cilantro, all tossed with a sweet-sour-salty-spicy dressing, funky with fish sauce and garlic. And hit with a lot of Sriracha, naturally. I’ve found that if you get the sauce right (I used the one from this Vietnamese Chicken Salad), the rest of the salad just falls into place.

It’s been a migraine-y day for me, so I have nothing more to offer at the moment, but I’m hoping to get around to an apricot & goat’s milk frozen yogurt sometime this week. Hope you have a great one!

recipes after the jump

Continue reading “From the Market: Week 5”

Redo weekend

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Sometimes it’s a good idea to revisit old favorites. I’ve been really blah with overtones of meh lately about pretty much everything including preparing meals. Like Milli Vanilli, I’ll blame it on the rain, but that doesn’t make the prospect of cooking any more exciting. So what’s a girl to do when her hair is permanently frizzy, she hasn’t seen the sun in days and can’t be bothered to update her cooking blog? Declare a Redo Weekend!

The day started with an update to the cornmeal blueberry pancakes I first tried last summer. With so many gorgeous berries at the market right now, it seemed a shame to limit the pancakes to blueberries, so I halved the batch and did a strawberry version as well. Couldn’t decide which I liked more, so I just alternated them on the plate and doused the stack with maple syrup.

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Cut to two hours later.

After waking from my sugar coma, I got to work on another old favorite: tongue tacos and refried beans. Mmmmm-hmmmm. I’d picked up a three-pound behemoth at the Snoep Winkle Farm booth a week earlier and it had been weighing heavily on my mind. I tweaked the old recipe pretty heavily, doubling the beer in the braising liquid and adding hefty amounts of toasted cumin and coriander seeds.

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After braising, I set the tongue aside to cool. Then came the peeling, which didn’t skeeve me out nearly as much this time around.

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It still wasn’t pleasant, mind you, but my toes didn’t curl at all. PROGRESS!

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While my hands were still covered in tongue juices (am I not the most enchanting creature ever?), I shredded the meat before cooking it down a second time with onions, additional spices and even more beer.

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The tongue tasted heavily of beef as you’d expect, but turned silky and tender in a way no other cut can. We had the tacos with and without salsa because, again, it was too hard to decide which way was better.

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No picture of the refried beans because I’m just not that good of a photographer, but they were creamy and delicious. I used borlotti beans (an odd choice, I’ll admit) from Rancho Gordo cooked in the usual way — onions, garlic, cumin, beer, beef broth, salt & pepper — until they were soft, then fried them with some bacon fat and onion, mashing them down as they simmered. It might be too soon for another Redo Weekend, but I’m really tempted to do this again for the 4th.

Inspiration has been peeking around the corners for me this week, so I hope to have something new for you soon. But in the meantime, enjoy the weekend and try a redo if you need to.

And now we nap

After all of that stressing out over the turkey, I’m overjoyed to report that the excess dry brining didn’t hurt one bit; that was one delicious bird. It had a very concentrated turkey flavor because the cells weren’t flooded with water, so now I have a go-to method for all of the Thanksgivings in my future. Also, I’m looking forward to being the very last food blogger on earth to try the Zuni method with chicken.

I was so busy cooking and serving yesterday that I forgot to take pictures while everyone was here, but I did remember to capture the first of our (probably many) leftover meals this morning: mashed potato pancakes. Since I used cream cheese in the potatoes, they held together well after sitting in the fridge overnight, so I added an egg and some milk to thin them out a bit and dropped the thick batter by the tablespoon into a hot pan sizzling with butter. With all of that richness, the only thing the pancakes needed was a drizzle of warmed lingonberry jam to put them over the top.

Gil’s family left right after dinner, but our friend Mark and his dog Larry stayed the night, so I had another opportunity to rectify my photo laziness by capturing the Many Moods of Larry this morning.

cute doggie pics after the jump

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Another post about pancakes

The comments section of a well-traveled food blog can be a pretty useful and interesting place to visit. For the same reason I enjoy reading letters to the editor in a magazine, I’ll at least skim comments on a post that has caught my attention.

Sunday morning, I found myself back at Smitten Kitchen‘s pancake tutorial because I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do more with my blueberry stash than to toss them in a big stack of pancakes for breakfast. (My runner-up would’ve been a galette, but you know how I feel about pastry dough, and I just couldn’t face failure so early in the morning; I find it sets a bad tone for the day.) And even though hunger was calling and I wanted to eat close to immediately, I started to skim the comments section out of habit. Good thing, too, because one of them left a rave review of another recipe that sounded more intriguing than the traditional buttermilk pancake. I googled it and was off!

This recipe was posted by The Wednesday Chef, who adapted it from the NY Times Magazine. I adapted it further, substituting blueberries for the cranberries, and loved it; Gil even nodded his approval between bites. The cornmeal in the batter gave these pancakes just the slightest crunch, the hefty amount of baking powder made them light and fluffy, and because the batter wasn’t too sweet, topping them with a goodly amount of maple syrup didn’t send us to a sugary slumberland. At least not right away.

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “Another post about pancakes”