Archive for June, 2011

June 24, 2011

Strawberry Week | Strawberries in Pimm’s with Basil Cream

This is PK’s contribution to Breakfast at Wimbledon.  The Championships are perfectly situated at the dawn of summer, and so strawberries and their best friend cream have become as important as the tennis.  It’s a very simple version of a late-June favorite, but with some lovely refinements.  Just drown the berries in Pimm’s, a handful of sugar, and a whisper of ginger.  Then steep the cream with freshly-snipped basil leaves, whip it lightly, and you’ve re-made an old favourite.

Henman Hill* Strawberries and Cream, Serves 4

4 c strawberries, halved or quartered or left whole if they’re lovely and small

handful of sugar

12 scrapes of a fresh knob of ginger (I used a microplane to get it very fine)

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June 22, 2011

Strawberry Week | Jam, Two Ways

As you might remember if you read this blog with regularity, I picked ten pounds of strawberries over the weekend.  This left me with plenty to jam.  Plenty.  Especially since I’m (gasp!) kind of a novice canner.   Between picking and managing a boisterous Cherub, I chatted with a very sweet friend, Jenn (editor of the tremendous Greener Grocer newsletter) and she told me she had recently made some great strawberry balsamic jam.  Well, that’s right up my alley.

She kindly forwarded me the recipe.  I decided I’d do that (a recipe that is pectin-free – Demeter is convinced I don’t need it) and a strawberry rhubarb jam using pectin (I’ve been told by Rachel at Hounds in the Kitchen that Pomona’s is the best kind to use).

The strawberry balsamic with pepper is a jam purist’s dream.  Lots of low simmering, pleasurable skimming, and

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June 20, 2011

Strawberry Week | Panzanella Salad

This past weekend, Cherub and I, along with some Slow Food Columbus members and friends descended upon Schacht Farm Market for the last weekend of you-pick strawberries.  I left with ten pounds.  Ten pounds.

I knew there would be jam, cobblers and desserts in store, but I wanted some for lunch.  And it wasn’t like I had to worry if there would be enough.  There were obviously plenty.

I quickly cobbled together a strawberry panzanella salad that just hit the spot after a morning’s work of picking.  It didn’t hurt that we had a bit of past its prime ciabatta that made the base. And growing the in back yard is plenty of basil, parsley and mint.  I sliced up some green onions I’d picked up at the farmer’s market, although I do prefer and adore red onion in this salad.  As for a dressing, a generous drizzling of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, few twists of pepper and a pinch of salt are all you need, lemon if you have it.  And of course the berries.  Lots of those.

Strawberry Panzanella Salad, Serves two (plus a little four year old)

2 c slightly stale bread, cut into large cubes (I used ciabatta)

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June 15, 2011

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Sugarplum Soother

Mama said there’d be days like this.  And when there are,  you might consider adding a bit of lemon balm to your evening cocktail.  It’s been used since the middle ages to reduce stress and anxiety, and promote sleep.  Plus with a lovely lemony scent, and pretty toothed leaves, it makes a gorgeous garnish.  Sometimes, I’m all about the pretty.

This evening’s local cocktail was a sweet combination of the juneberries (a.k.a, sugarplums) from our generous next door neighbor muddled with the lemon balm that so generously reseeded itself along the patio edges.   After a tough day (read: extra loud, bossy Cherub), this is exactly the cocktail I want in my hand.

Sugar Plum Soother, makes one

Small handful of juneberries

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June 13, 2011

Backyard Foraging | Juneberry Muffins

It is a great pleasure to identify edible plants, trees and flowers to include in my culinary endeavors.  Most recently I rang my neighbor’s doorbell to ask if he wouldn’t mind if I picked a few bowls of berries from his Juneberry tree (a.k.a., saskatoon, shadbush, sugar plum, service berry, et al) in return for some baked goods and perhaps a cocktail, some jam and maybe some ice cream, or a cobbler.  The possibilities are endless.  He didn’t say no.

This recipe is not for a sugary sweet cupcake that masquerades as a muffin.  No, these are delicate-crumbed cakes – almost savory –  plump with jammy berries and a whisper of almond, echoing the notes of the berries’ seeds.

Old Fashioned Juneberry Muffins, makes 10, adapted from James Beard

2 c. sifted flour (I used unbleached all purpose)

1/2 c sugar

1 T baking powder

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June 9, 2011

About Town | Easton Farmer’s Market

Photo credit: Bethia Woolf

I visited Easton Farmer’s Market this afternoon with friend, fellow foodie and owner of Columbus Food Aventures, Bethia.  We were both so pleased to see so many vendors and such a comprehensive market for something so new.  In only its second week, it was a veritable grocery store in the parking lot just behind Fadó and J Crew.  Go figure.

Produce highlights include fresh produce from Rock Dove Farms (from whom I scored fresh shelling peas), Wishwell Farms (which had gorgeous fresh

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June 6, 2011

Spanish Tapas | Almond Toasts

Lately I’ve been enjoying the idea of meals with lots of little bites.  Doesn’t matter the country or the culture.  Just about everybody has the concept.

Sunday, with the addition of some sage flower sangria (the sage flower syrup was from my friend Kate) we had a lovely meal of Spanish tapas.  My favorite bite was this almond toast from Steve Parle, whom I stumbled across in his terrific writings for The Telegraph.

I really love his aesthetic.  He has the dream job of researching and uncovering truly local foods from around the world.  And honestly, if I could do something everyday, it would be to travel everywhere and find out how people are cooking in their homes in all corners of the world.  I am inspired.

It’s the Belle Lorraine of Alsace, the liquor distilled from the yellow Mirabelles that are local to Nancy and Lorraine.  It’s the puffy tacos found only in San Antonio, Texas.  Or it’s takoyaki  from Japan that is now found in a little stand on the streets of Columbus, Ohio.  Or Korean bibimbap.  My plate is eternally full.  Everywhere, each day, cooks – especially home ones – are transforming local ingredients and family recipes into moments that encourage everyone to slow down, savor and remember.

This little two bite wonder is a symphony of flavor: smoke from the grilled bread, citrus, fresh mint, rich Marcona almonds and perfect umami from anchovies.  It’s perfect paired with that sangria and encourages you to do just what you’d love to do: relax.

Playlist included Lover’s Carvings by Bibio.

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