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Entries in recipe (4)

Wednesday
Jul142010

Midsummer Harvest

July 14, 2010 - 

Harvested today:

1. Rainbow Swiss Chard - we had planned to pull the plants, but found we just couldn't do it when we saw the tiny, new chard leaves when we cut the big ones. Come on little guys! The great grandaddy leaf is 26" tall. These leaves are so beautiful and colorful, it almost seems a shame to cut them up. Almost.....

2. Green beans. See previous post. Strange little varieties, but all good. Tonight they will be dinner along with some grilled fish. 

3. Basil - threatening to flower & needed to be cut back. Pesto for the freezer!

4. Two nicely sized zucchini.

 

Planted today:

1. 12 little cilantro plants. Planted in the shade as the others are bolting to flower

2. 6 dill plants

3. A new parsley patch

4. More red leaf lettuce. 

 

Progress:

1. "Giant" variety pumpkin -This plant grows about four inches a day. It is now halfway around the back of our house. I will worry when it starts to encroach on the front door.

2. The corn has actual ears......with silk and tassles - wow!

3. Tons of tomatoes - all green so far, but in varying sizes

4. The zucchini plants are so big and prickly it was hard to get the squash out. My arms are itching from the prickly leaves. 

4. Everything is suddenly really bushy. 

5. The garlic we planted last fall is nearly ready to harvest and cure. The "scapes" (flower blossoms) are straightening out. 

 

Eating:

Green Beans with Dill, Shallots and Tomatoes 

Though it is early for our tomatoes to ripen, I will break out one of the remaining three pint jars of tomatoes canned last September for these perfect little beans. 

1# green beans with the stem end snapped off

1 large shallot,  minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup super sweet tomatoes - chopped. Remove the skins if you are picky  or leave them on for their flavor

2 TBL fresh dill

1 1/2 TBL extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

Saute the minced shallot in 2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add the cleaned and dry green beans to the pan and sear well. Add the garlic & stir for about one minute. Stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer until beans are tender. Stir in the fresh dill, taste for seasoning & drizzle with two tsp. extra virgin olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

NOTE:  This is only worth making when the green beans are really sweet and tender and the tomatoes sweet and ripe. This is a dish to dream about in the cold winter months when summer is a distant memory. 

Wednesday
Jun022010

The end of one crop, the beginning of another & what to do with all that Chard!

Early last fall, we put in a single row of Swiss Chard that was about 40 inches long. The little seeds eventually germinated and grew to be about an inch high where they seemed to stall. Like the enthusiastic gardeners that we are, we cheered them on, watered them, fed them and waited patiently for our first tastes of this crop. It seemed to take forever. Then, suddenly, it seemed, they were tall enough to harvest a bit. I began harvesting by cutting the plants to the ground, beginning at the front of the row. Each time we wanted chard, I cut just enough for our meal. When I reached the end of the row I assumed that that was it and moved on to other interests. 

By late January I noticed that the plants had doubled and tripled and were growing with a vengeance!. I began to selectively harvest the largest leaves for consumption and had enough to share with friends. 

Here is the Swiss Chard, ready to cut.  "Short row," I thought. "I'll just pull it, process it and be finished in 30 minutes." HA....

Cleaned, it covered the width of my kitchen counter. 

....almost ready to be blanched. 

Our little crop weighed in at 10 pounds after allowing for the weight of the towel we wrapped it in. 

Ta da!  Packages of chard ready for the freezer. 

Ok, little rainbow chard babies....you have some big shoes....er roots to fill. Get with it!

 

Cooking Swiss Chard:

I posted my favorite method for quickly cooking (or see the side bar"simple sides or the whole meal) here:http://marilynnergord.squarespace.com/journal/2010/2/11/simple-sides-or-the-whole-meal.html (sorry, the "insert link" tool seems to be on the blink)

Another longtime favorite recipe for greens is:

All purpose spinach (or chard, kale, etc) filling. Use it in vegetarian lasagna, stuffed under a chicken breast before cooking, folded into an omelette or rolled in a crepe and drizzled with Hollandaise sauce....

 

 5 # greens, cleaned, chopped, blanched in boiling water & drained well. 

1 large yellow onion

2 large cloves of garlic

2 TBL olive oil

1 TBL butter

1 1/2 # sliced fresh Crimini mushrooms

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 1//2 cups fresh whole milk Ricotta

1/2 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg

2 + tsp Kosher salt

1 tsp pepper

(adjust seasonings to your taste)

1. Squeeze as much water as you can from the prepared greens & set aside

2. Add butter & olive oil to a large saute pan & heat until bubbling. 

3. Dice the onion & saute until translucent. 

4. Add the garlic & continue to saute about another minute over medium heat. (don't burn the garlic!)

5. Stir mushrooms into the pan & continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are cooked through,have given up their moisture & most of that moisture has reduced away. 

6. Add the greens & seasonings, stirring well. (you may want to remove this from the heat & wearing gloves, mix with your hands. 

7.Add in the cheese & stir well. 

Now, use this great mixture in one of the above noted applications, or tuck in into freezer bags and save it for future use!

 

Monday
Jan182010

Saturday Marketing

 

Saturday morning we took a nice walk along the local rec trail which meanders along the coast and through Monterey's historic cannery row. On the way home we made a detour to the end of Wharf #2 & The Monterey Fish Company. Open to the public, this no frills fish market offers some of the best and freshest local seafood. 

Our plan was to grill halibut collars for the main course for a little dinner party. We bought the halibut collars and,  also found some gorgeous, local, Monterey Bay sardines. 

 

We bought just a pound (one dollar a pound!) and served them as part of our mixed  seafood grill.They were the hit of the night and we were all sorry that there weren’t more.

Grilled Sardines:

Allow 3-5 per person. Serve with crusty bread and Green Sauce (recipe follows)

Gut,clean and leave the head on. Remove the scales with a sharp knife. Rinse well inside & out & keep chilled.

Marinate in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, sherry wine vinegar & parsley for an hour, then grill on the barbecue over high heat. This is a little easier with a barbecue basket, but can be done without. They take about 1.5 to 2 minutes per side and are just delicious. Watch out for the tiny bones. 

Green Sauce

Ingredients:

1/2 bunch flat leaf (Italian) parsley

2 cloves garlic

1 small Serrano chile

1 small minced shallot

2-3 tsp Spanish Sherry Vinegar (or to taste)

3-5 TBL extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Procedure:

Rough chop the parsley leaves & add to food processor with shallot, garlic, serrano chile, vinegar & 2 TBL of the olive oil. Pulse until you have a rough paste. Add additional olive oil to make the sauce. Add salt and pepper & taste for correct seasoning. 

This sauce is also great on grilled meat or mixed in with scrambled eggs. 

Feast!


 

 

 

 

Thursday
Jan142010

The Miracle of No Knead Bread

 

It has taken me way too long to try this bread. I’ve baked thousands of loaves of bread and I believe and love kneading. I was being stubborn. This recipe was published in The New York Times in 2005. I honestly did not believe that it could be that good. I was wrong.

It is shockingly easy to make, requiring under 15 minutes of actual working time. The remaining 11 3/4 hours are spent with the dough sitting quietly by itself, bubbling away happily. The resulting bread is moist, chewy,with a beautiful and crunchy crust.

Baking the bread in a smoking hot covered pan (I use my Lodge Dutch oven) allows the steam from the wet bread dough create the beautiful crust.

I read somewhere that this bread “sings” when removed from the pan. I was intrigued. It’s true! Lovely little crackling noises come from it  when it’s  lifted from the pan. Take a moment to listen to this little miracle. 

The bread is great on it’s own or made into toast and sandwiches. We had a small chunk left at the end of the third day which I made into Papa al Pomodoro with our home canned sweet summer tomatoes. Heaven.......

 

 

No Knead Yeast Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery via the Smitten Kitchen:

 

Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 5/8 cups water
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours and up to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. If you do this in the late afternoon, it will be ready for the next step when you get up in the morning.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. (I do this in the original rising bowl with the help of a plastic pastry scraper) Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.(Again I use the pastry scraper & it works like a charm) Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal.(I’ve had better luck with plastic wrap) Cover with another cotton towel or plastic wrap and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

  1. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450°F. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. You can also line the bottom of your pan with a circle of parchment paper, which will allow you to reposition the dough Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 20 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

 

Should you have any bread that gets stale, try this soup:

 

Papa al Pomodoro                                                  Yield: 6 servings 

                (Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup) 

Ingredients

Yellow Onion - 1 medium, diced

Fresh Garlic Cloves - 2-3 minced

Chile Flakes - 1/2 tsp

 Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 3 TBL + more for drizzling

Large ripe tomatoes - 5  or use 28 ounces canned 

Day old Rustic Italian Bread - 2 1/2 cups torn into pieces

Chicken stock - 4 cups

Fresh Basil - 12 leaves shredded 

Parmigiano Reggiano - 1/4- 1/2 cup shaved for garnish

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

 

Variation:

I had half of a fennel bulb, so I finely chopped that & cooked it with the onion, then added a few toasted fennel seeds at the end.

 

 Procedure: 

Saute chopped onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. 

Peel and chop tomatoes (discard skins) 

Add chile flakes, tomatoes and chicken stock to the onions & garlic. 

Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add bread pieces & simmer until bread has completely softened. 

Taste for seasoning & add salt and pepper as needed. 

This soup may be served, hot, cold or at room temperature. 

Ladle soup into shallow bowls. Top with shredded basil,a little Parmigiano Reggiano & a 

drizzle of the best fruity olive oil.