Archive for ‘Gardening’

February 24, 2011

Warmth | Carrot and Corriander Risotto

Spring has forsaken us for a moment here in Ohio.  The 40’s are not really doing it for me.  Yes, I remember it’s still February.  But I long for barefoot weather.  I crave a muddy, just-pulled summer carrot and the sight of my coriander having, once again, gone to seed before I can get a decent couple of salsas out of it.  I yearn for warmth.

In absence of warm outdoors, I made some sunshine in the kitchen with this sweet, herby risotto.  You can take your time with the stock, as it says in the recipe, or you can certainly make a quick and dirty one, starting it only a few minutes before you start the risotto (no whole onion, cloves, juniper berries required).

I will be making this one again, late this summer, with carrots from my garden that is yet to be planted, and the new cilantro plants that will spring unassisted from coriander seeds that found their way into the cracks around my patio.  I will stretch out barefoot on the grass and be content with the warmth.

Carrot and Coriander Risotto

1 bunch of carrots with tops
1 medium onion
2 cloves
Small handful parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
10  peppercorns
4 or 5 juniper berries
1 t whole coriander seeds

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February 16, 2011

Like an Enemy Defeated…

…the snow hath retreated.  To reveal barely beginning-to-green parsley plants.  Be still my heart.

December 16, 2010

South Texas Locavore | Mushrooms on Toast, Poached Backyard Egg

I am so happy to have a friend who is raising beautiful chickens.  Her name is Mylene, and her urban “farm” in a North San Antonio neighborhood produces all manner of vegetables and flowers, and as of November, the little jewels that star in this dish.  Upon arrival, I found her chickens happily pecking around Mackey Farms, softly clucking their pleasure.  Cherub had a fantastic time following them around and tempting them with deep green leaves of kale, like chicken catnip.  I had fun holding them and watching them.  It’s like an avian version of an aquarium.  But make no mistake, these birds aren’t a quirky diversion.  Just like the vegetables in her beds, they’re there to put food on her family’s table.

I will never, ever turn down a few fresh eggs.  I will honor every ounce of the effort that chicken gave to produce that egg and eat it with all the reverence of a holy meal.  So when she offered me five, including one that was laid while I visited, I knew exactly how I would use them – mushrooms on toast.  It’s a true bistro classic, elevated here by earthy Texas mushrooms and, of course, those transcendent eggs.  It’s a simple, humble dish – you can have it for lunch, you can have it with your tea.  Please, I urge you, try it.

Mushrooms on Toast with Poached Backyard Egg, Serves 2

4 cups of fresh, local mushrooms, diced.  I used 2 cups of crimini and 2 cups of shiitake.

1 shallot, finely diced

2 thick slices of the crusty bread of your choosing.  I used a buttermilk sourdough.

Vermouth, a splash

1 leaf of Texas sorrel, cut into ribbons, for garnish

1/2 t butter

olive oil, salt, pepper

2 beautiful Mackey Farms eggs

Coat the bottom of a large frying pan very generously with olive oil, and heat until shimmering.  Add the mushrooms, allowing them to sear, about 3 minutes.  Deglaze with the vermouth.  Then add the chopped shallots and turn the heat to medium-low.  Season well with salt and pepper, and stir regularly for another 3-4 minutes.  This is a good time to make your toast.

Now poach the eggs for 2 1/2 – 3 minutes in simmering water – long enough from the white to be firm, but without cooking the yolk through.

Add the butter to your mushrooms and give it a stir to incorporate

Spoon the mushrooms onto your toast, and top it with the egg and a tiny sprinkle of sea salt.  Garnish with the sorrel ribbons.  There is no doubt you will enjoy this.

Playlist included Maybe Sparrow, by Neko Case.

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November 8, 2010

Sunday Dinner, Porch to Table | Roasted Pumpkin with Italian Sausage

If you have friends or family coming over for an unexpected Sunday dinner at your house, don’t be alarmed.  You may already have what you need and have to look no further than your front porch

I couldn’t bear to just let the beautiful green Hokkaido pumpkin go to waste that we brought home from Rennick’s Family Farm a few weekends ago.  I came up with a dinner that requires almost no clean up aside from a pasta pot, but is still kind of a showstopper.  You’ll be surprised how easy this recipe is, requiring only about 15 minutes of hands-on time.  Italian sausage, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and lots of fresh sage and thyme roasted in the pumpkin for about an hour turns these ingredients into a melange of marvelous Fall flavors for a bed of pasta.  Serve with a nice wine, some crusty ciabatta and a good olive oil, you’ll have a table full of happy company amazed at your skill in the kitchen.

Roasted Hokkaido Pumpkin Stuffed with Italian Sausage and Mushrooms

1 large, about 4 pounds, or 2 medium about 2 or 2 1/2 pounds heirloom pumpkins (Long Island Cheese or Green Hokkaido are good choices)

1 pound Italian sausage, a combination of sweet and hot, if you like, sliced in 1-inch pieces

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October 17, 2010

Hungry Caterpillar

In putting all the garden to bed for the fall, we pulled up the last of the tomato and pepper plants.  We found this “little” guy on one of the pepper plants.  He had pretty much cleaned off most all the leaves.  Cherub was fascinated and who could blame her.  It reminded us of the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland.  This is either a tobacco hornworm or a tomato hornworm.  I’m leaning toward a tobacco hornworm.  But whatever it is, it doesn’t sting or bite.  We tossed it in the compost with the rest of pulled up pepper plants after our photo shoot.

 

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