May 20, 2012
It’s the time of year that it’s hard to pin me down. I’m outside. Busy in the backyard, planting, weeding, sitting, contemplating. I just want to be outside. Watching for the return of Chestnut. Seeing if we have any new baby rabbits in the yard. I just find so much peace there, that you’re hard pressed to get a post out of me. I have better things to do.
Because of this I was there, in the backyard, when the peonies bloomed this year. They are my absolute favorite flower: profuse, heavy blooms; heady fragrance. I turned the confetti of abundant petals into syrup. I did this last year, but not as adroitly.
Marry to this that I went strawberry picking with friends last week. And 17 pounds picked meant there was certain to be some jamming. Did there happen to be some master pastry chefs along? Why yes, there were. (Thanks, B.) So I asked them how to incorporate my peony syrup into the jam that was sure to follow all that picking. Add the syrup at the last minute, they said, to keep all the flower essence. But of course.
Ten cups of strawberries
read more »
February 19, 2012
I have a new pastry crush.
It’s on Michelle from Pâtisserie Lallier. She is a French-taught (Le Cordon Bleu, natch) pastry chef that has an almost mystical way about guimauves (that’s marshmallows to you and me). Her Crème de Violette ones are particularly swoon-worthy. The chocolate ones already have a loyal following.
And wouldn’t you know, she is lovely in every way else, too. I met her recently when she and I judged at Taste of OSU, and after that I just seemed to keep bumping into her. She is bright, kind and amazingly hard-working (she’s a full-time banker) all the while making marshmallows and pâtisseries and all manner of laminated doughs practically in the middle of the night for her Pâtisserie. She also has a penchant for local ingredients, even making pawpaw Madelines each September. She’s a girl after my heart.
She is debating a jump to full-time Pâtisserie work because it’s what’s in her heart and
read more »
February 16, 2012
In Georgian cooking, Khmeli Suneli is a spice mix that can be used as a dry rub or as an enhancement to soups and stews. It is essentially a curry, since it’s just a mix of spices. You can choose to use all dried ingredients, or include some fresh, if you have it or it’s in season.
I used this in a mixed braise with lamb and short ribs (expect a post about that soon). But it would also be great mixed with some olive oil and bread crumbs as an herb crust on chicken or fish. Or sprinkle in a heaping tablespoon once you’ve sweated down some onions as a base for soup.
It’s fragrant, beautiful stuff, with forgiving measurements.
Persephone’s Khmeli Suneli
Mix equal parts dried of (I used a tablespoon each):
Whole fenugreek seeds
Bay leaf (I used 2 huge ones)
read more »
November 23, 2011
Oh my goodness. I stumbled on something. Pumpkin water.
Water. Only the complete essence of pumpkin. Much like tomato water. Only pumpkiny-er. Obviously.
I just knew this would make a good cocktail addition. And of course, my friend Molly completely helped me in sussing out some ingredients. Because she’s totally good at it. And she knows all about cocktails. And does stuff for these guys.
So this cocktail is entirely inspired by the season, what I had around (I was roasting a pumpkin for a pie, y’all, and had this left over), the Ohio seasons, and our recent trip back to New Jersey, our former home.
The Rum Whitfield, makes one
1.5 oz. spiced pumpkin water* (**)
read more »
November 3, 2011
There is a vast expanse of Europe between the Black and Baltic Seas commonly known as “Eastern Europe.” Millions of Americans can trace their ancestry from this region, but many of them don’t know exactly where. They came through both the front and back doors of the East Coast in search of something more. They came to mine coal, bend steel, crunch numbers, and maybe raise hell. Many of them saw the horrors of the 20th century up close, and came here to escape. They might not have brought much, but they brought their culture, their spirit, and their food.
At the center of this culinary tradition are Pierogi. It’s the unofficial national dish of Poland, and they are eaten, with different names, from Ukraine to Latvia. They are traditionally filled with potato, cheese, sauerkraut, or fruit preserves.
But most importantly to me, it’s Hades’s favorite food and the in-laws’ official celebratory dish. Needless to say,
read more »
October 24, 2011
It’s simply the best of the last of the garden. Eight ears of the last of the sweet corn. Cobs scraped completely clean, releasing all that sweet corn “milk.” I think it’s what makes this soup special.
But perhaps, too, it’s that I added in the last few peppers still standing on my counter. Another handful of tomatoes that were picked green in the back garden, but managed to ripen despite that deep insult. And green onions picked up at the farmer’s market. Plus two palmfuls of teeny purple potatoes (that were a growing experiment by me) from a more experienced gardener friend. Generous pinches of fresh thyme from the terracotta pot on the patio. Twists of pepper. A blessing of salt.
Poach a few shrimp in the hot soup to make it more substantial. Or some smoked haddock would be perfectly at home. Or if you have leftovers, top bowls of soup with a crumbled a link of andouille and some sauteed shrimp for a take on a gumbo. That’s what I’m going to do.
Corn Milk Soup, serves 6 to 8
4 strips bacon, sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
read more »