Monday, August 30, 2010

August's Cookie of the Month: Viennese Chocolate Pepper Cookies

As the last hours of August were waning, I realized I had only one egg and no cookie of the month. Panic stricken, I flipped through the pages of The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book, inserting a finger to hold a place for every recipe requiring one egg or less. I was out of fingers on one hand, but hadn't quite found the recipe that spoke to me, and my dearth of pantry items (did I mention I have no chocolate chips or baking chocolate in the house?). Then I found it: Viennese Chocolate Pepper Cookies.

Not only does the recipe require just one egg and no chocolate chips or bakers chocolate, it also uses an ingredient that I don't normally associate with baked goods: ground black pepper. Like the lavender in July's Cupcake of the Month: Lavender-Iced Brownie Cupcakes, I had been reading up on black pepper in The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. Black pepper is in some ways the opposite of lavender in its ubiquity. It is called for in almost every recipe and is probably sitting in a shaker on your table right now. But like lavender, black pepper is relatively unexpected in desserts.

The real clincher was a gift from fellow blogger Rebecca of a small container of ground black pepper from Penzey's Spices. I must confess my ignorance: I knew nothing of Penzey or his or her spices until Rebecca suggested their Chili 9000 as a remedy for lackluster chili. The Chili 9000 has changed my life, or at least my chili, for the better. Now I thought I'd put Penzey's ground black pepper to the test.

The pepper comes through not as a flavor so much as a temperature. The flavor is unquestionably chocolate, though it seems like a deeper chocolate due to the pepper and allspice. My independent taste tester said the cookies reminded him of winter. Indeed, they would complement the flavors of traditional winter foods nicely. They're a bit on the dry side, so a cup of milk, or maybe eggnog, is a must. I would call these more grown up cookies, but I don't think kids would reject them as tasting weird, though I didn't test them out on any kids prior to posting. Take that, August!

A note on the dusting of confectioner's sugar and pepper: I was out of confectioner's sugar, along with everything else, so I took 2 T granulated sugar and 1/2 t pepper and ran it through my Cuisinart for a few minutes to make super-fine sugar and pepper. If you take this route, be sure to let the dust settle before opening your Cuisinart because, as my still slightly burning lungs can attest, you will have just weaponized your ground black pepper. Despite the chemical burns to my alveoli, I think this worked as well or better than confectioner's sugar would have. And I think the tiny crystals look classier than the traditional powder. Wow, my powers of rationalization for ingredient substitutions due to laziness have inflated to new heights . . . classier? Really? But this step is not to be missed. The additional pepper in the dusting increases the heat significantly. Without it, they'd taste a lot like plain ol' yummy chocolate cookies.

Viennese Chocolate Pepper Cookies adapted from The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book: From Chocolate Melties to Whoopie Pies, Chocolate Biscotti to Black and Whites, with Dozens of Chocolate Chip Cookies and Hundreds More by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough


  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting the work surface
  • 3/4 C cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 12 T unsalted butter, cool, cut into small pieces
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 t Penzey's ground black pepper
  • 1/4 t ground allspice
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T granulated sugar


1. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

2. Soften the butter in a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, if still a little gritty, about 2 minutes. Beat in 3/4 t of the pepper and the allspice. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in the prepared flour mixture, and beat at low speed just until there are no white streaks in the batter.

3. Dust your work surface lightly with flour, then turn the dough onto it. Roll gently into a 9-inch log, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

4. Position the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat; set aside

5. Slice the log into 1/4-inch-thick cookies. Place these about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 6 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and back to front. Bake for another 6 minutes, until the cookies are slightly puffed and the tops feel springy when touched. Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Cool the baking sheet for 5 minutes before baking further batches.

6. Put 2 T granulated sugar and the remaining 1/2 t ground black pepper in a food processor and grind for about 2 minutes, or until the sugar crystals are super fine. Let the dust settle before opening your Cuisinart because you have just weaponized your ground black pepper. Once all of the cookies are fully cooled, place this mixture in a fine-mesh strainer and sift it lightly over the cookies, giving them a fine coating.

Previous Cookies of the Month:
January's Cookie of the Month: Soft Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
February's Cookie of the Month: Chocolate Cream Sandwich Cookies
March's Cookie of the Month: Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
April's Cookie of the Month: Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
May's Cookie of the Month: Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies
June's Cookie of the Month: Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies
July's Cookie of the Month: Big Soft Chocolate Cookies

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

August's Cupcake of the Month: Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes

I was looking for something quick and easy to whip up in the waning days of August to keep this "of the month" business on track. I'd never made a cheesecake before, so I had skipped over the various cheesecake cupcakes in Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat. But in my search for simplicity I noticed the short ingredient list and sparse instructions for how to make Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes, so I thought I'd make my cheesecake debut.

If I had known cheesecake making was this easy, I would have made a habit of it long ago. Certainly the small scale makes it even easier, as there's less worry that the center will be undercooked while the edges become overcooked. Also the paper liners alleviate any concerns about getting the cheesecake out of the pan in a presentable fashion. The single Oreo crust is both simple to execute and handy for eating. And if all that weren't enough, they're also delicious. I am definitely going to make these little cheesecakes again.

The recipe says it yields 30 cupcakes. I easily go thirty two, and could have made 34 if I hadn't eaten those two Oreos the night before. Now, the trick with this yield is that the instructions say to refrigerate the finished cupcakes in their tins until it's time to serve them. Well, that means you need sufficient tins for 30 cupcakes AND sufficient space in your refrigerator for said multitude of muffin tins. I kinda looked twice at the picture that accompanies the recipe because it shows a six-cup muffin tin. I thought maybe these were mega-muffins, but no, they were standard muffins. But if you're going to make 30 of these bad boys, you need two twelve-cup muffin tins and at least another six-cup muffin tin. So the recipe is subliminally trying to get you to buy a six-cup muffin tin, which is something no one needs. I threw caution to the wind and took a dozen little cheesecakes out of their tin and put them on a rack to cool so I could reuse the tin for the remaining cupcakes. They turned out just fine. The only warning I would give to anyone else daring to make this recipe with only two (or dare I suggest one) muffin tins, is that you might want to underfill the cups so it's easier to pinch the top edge of the paper liner to lift them out while they're still not completely cool. If they're super full you're likely to smoosh them more.

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat


  • 42 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, 30 left whole and 12 coarsely chopped
  • 2 lbs cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 C sour cream
  • Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 275. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place one whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.

3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.

4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate in tins at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

Previous Cupcakes of the Month:
January's Cupcake of the Month: Streusel Cupcakes
February's Cupcake of the Month: Martha's Meyer Lemon Cupcakes
March's Cupcake of the Month: Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes
April's Cupcake of the Month: Tres Leches Cupcakes
May's Cupcake of the Month: Strawberry Cupcakes
June's Cupcake of the Month: Flock of Sheep Cupcakes
July's Cupcake of the Month: Lavender-Iced Brownie Cupcakes

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Hermits, the kind you eat


The fall semester has started and with it, the weekly math tea. Inspired by the delicious hermit bars at our local coffee shop, I decided to try to make some at home. While these were good, they weren't as good as the ones at the coffee shop. I'll have to see if I can acquire the recipe. In the mean time, these will have to do.


Adapted from Martha Stewart

* 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 cup loosely packed light-brown sugar
* 1 large egg, room temperature
* 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
* 3/4 cup raisins (I used golden raisins because that's what I had)
* 2 cups powdered sugar
* 2-3 tablespoons of milk


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl once. Add molasses; beat until combined, and scrape down sides of bowl. Add the flour mixture and raisins; beat on low until dough just comes together, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap; place in refrigerator to chill 30 minutes.
3. Remove dough from refrigerator, and turn out onto a clean work surface. Divide into 2 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a 12-inch log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on prepared baking sheet, at least 3 inches apart.
4. Place in oven, and bake until logs are golden but still very soft to the touch, 20 to 22 minutes. The logs will flatten out and lengthen as they bake and get slightly puffy in the center. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Mix milk and powdered sugar. Spread on the cooled logs. Let the icing set for about 30 minutes. Slice logs into 1-inch-wide bars. Hermit bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Read more at Hermit Bars Recipe -

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

CSA Basket 11

This week's basket contained Carrots, Basil, Lemon Cucumbers, Purple Long Beans, Green Beans, Beets, Grapefruit, Nectarines, Peach, Pluots, Cabbage, Apples, Corn, Reid Avocado, Grapes, Lettuce, Tomato, and Parsley. Contemplating various Asian inspired dishes for the purple long beans and cabbage. Really not sure what to do with lemon cucumbers. Carrots, green beans, beets, nectarines, peaches, apples, some avocado, and some grapes are going to be baby food in one form or another.

Monday, August 23, 2010

July's Cupcake of the Month: Lavender-Iced Brownie Cupcakes

[Yes, I know it's August. July got away from me. Let's see if I can finish another batch of cupcakes and a batch of cookie in the next week.]

Lavender, especially paired with chocolate, was a major flavor trend in 2009, and Martha Stewart's Cupcakes (published in 2009) is nothing if not trendy. Trendiness aside, I've been reading up on interesting flavor combinations in The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, so this month's Lavender-Iced Brownie Cupcakes intrigued me.

Of course, the clincher was that my local grocery store actually carries lavender in its bulk herbs section so I could purchase 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender quite easily. Then again, the ease with which I could purchase only the required amount of dried lavender was countered by the purchase of a tub of violet gel-paste food color that I will likely never use again (see June's Cupcake of the Month, re: the great Martha Stewart/Wilton kickback conspiracy).

Gastronomic Lavender Links Roundup:
Max Falkowitz posted about lavender in his Spice Hunting column over at Serious Eats.
Design*Sponge recently posted about harvesting lavender.
Cathy Erway posting on Mark Bittman's blog suggests making herbed butter with lavender.
Mike Hawley posting on Mark Bittman's blog suggests making limeade with lavender.
Angry Chicken made a lavender caramel tart with sliced banana and chopped almonds.
Carey Jones over at Serious Eats suggests making Rhubarb and Lavender Crumble.

A note regarding crystallized flowers. Martha Stewart's Cupcakes describes Martha's intensive flower crystallization procedure. It involves tweezers and a small paintbrush. It is one of the crazy ideas that initially attracted me to that Svengali that is Martha Stewart. But Momma didn't raise no fool. I bought Candied Violets on Amazon. O.K., my actual mother would think she did indeed raise a fool if she found out I spent $9.19 + $4.99 shipping for candied violets to put on top of cupcakes that taste like soap. But I did not waste days of my life trying to make crystallized flowers to put on top of cupcakes that taste like soap. So while I may be a fool, I feel like I could have been even more of a fool. That's got to count for something.
The original recipe claims to yield 24 cupcakes and says to, "Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each two-thirds full." There isn't enough batter to fill 24 cups two-thirds full. I actually aimed to fill the cups one-half full because I wanted to leave room for the icing to pool on top, which is impossible if the cupcakes rise too high in the cups, kind of like the Tres Leches Cupcakes. Even aiming to fill the cups only halfway I could only stretch the batter to eighteen cups. And despite my stinginess, most of the cupcakes rose too high and then collapsed, creating craters too large to fill with icing, as you can see on the left in the picture above. So the yield is inaccurate, and to be absolutely safe, you might want to aim for filling the cups only one-quarter full - which is about three tablespoons.
I finally had the opportunity to deploy my Snapware 2-Level Cupcake Storage Carrier, as recommended by Eartha in a comment to May's Cupcake of the Month: Strawberry Cupcakes.
The little cylindrical holders on the cupcake insert are perfect for holding these in place.

Said cupcake transport was deployed for a party on Saturday evening where an array of taste testers found the cupcakes "good and interesting." Even the admittedly adventuresome seven year old liked them. Though the three year old did not. I forgot to check whether the five year old liked hers. Honestly, I wasn't sure the adults would like them given the unique flavor combination. But the lavender was very subtle and the icing VERY sweet, so at least one taste tester found the sweetness so dominant that he hardly noticed the lavender. And the violet gel paste food coloring made the icing look a bit like blueberry yogurt, so one taste tester insisted it tasted of blueberries. Silly taste tester. I thought the lavender was really compelling and did not remind me of soap at all, which was my big fear. I was not a huge fan of the flavor or texture of the brownie cupcakes, so I might use the icing on something else, like a cherry clafoutis or a lemon pound cake.

Lavender-Iced Brownie Cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat


  • 3/4 C plus 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 C plus 2 1/2 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/3 C sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 C milk
  • 1/2 t dried lavender
  • 3 C confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • Violet gel-paste food color
  • Crystallized Flowers

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. Place the butter and chocolate in a medium bowl that fits quite snugly over a medium saucepan with about 1 inch of simmering water in it. Stir with a heat-safe rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until half the chocolate is melted, then remove the bowl from the heat and continue stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

3. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat chocolate mixture and sugar until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined.

4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each two-thirds full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely.

5. Bring milk and lavender just to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and cover; let steep 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Whisk in confectioner's sugar until smooth. Strain again. Add food color, a little at a time, stirring until desired shade is achieved.

6. To finish, use a small spoon to coat cupcakes with icing, covering tops completely. Let set, about 1 hour. Top with crystallized flowers. Iced cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature in airtight containers.

Previous Cupcakes of the Month:
January's Cupcake of the Month: Streusel Cupcakes
February's Cupcake of the Month: Martha's Meyer Lemon Cupcakes
March's Cupcake of the Month: Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes
April's Cupcake of the Month: Tres Leches Cupcakes
May's Cupcake of the Month: Strawberry Cupcakes
June's Cupcake of the Month: Flock of Sheep Cupcakes

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pluot Flaugnarde

As I have sufficiently documented here, I have had it with pie. While most of my stone fruit has recently been steamed and pureed into baby food, I was inspired by Robin Bellinger's Cherry Clafoutis at Serious Eats to reserve this CSA basket's pluots for a Pluot Clafoutis. If nothing else, it might be the most fun dessert to say. But then I discovered that a clafoutis made of fruit that is not cherries is not a clafoutis, but a flaugnarde. The French always rain on my parade.
This was so much easier than a pie. Also, it's more scalable. We often only get two or three of one particular type of stone fruit in our CSA basket. Not enough for a whole pie, but if you use a smaller baking dish, you can make your clafoutis whatever size fits your fruit. I wonder if this would even work with individual ramekins.

Pluot Flaugnarde adapted from Robin Bellinger's Cherry Clafoutis at Serious Eats (which she adapted from Susan Hermann Loomis's French Farmhouse Cookbook) and Mark Bittman's Clementine Clafoutis


  • 6 pluots, halved and pitted
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 C flour
  • confectioner's sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 375. Butter and flour a ceramic or glass baking dish (the size here seems to be determined by the size dish your halved and pitted fruit will fill). Put the pluots in the dish, cut side down.

2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Add granulated sugar and salt and whisk until combined. Add milk, cream, and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Add flour and stir just to combine.

3. Pour the batter over the pluots, filling as close to the top of the dish as you feel comfortable. Bake for 40 minutes, until lightly browned and a knife in the center comes out clean. Sift some powdered sugar over it and serve warm or at room temperature.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Evening Expiration

On the ride, home, I listened to the On Board Games interview with Alex Yeager, which was very exciting. Yeager is Mayfair's Educational Outreach guy, and the interview is about his experiences with programs bringing games to schools, after-school programs, and Girl Scouts, and the challenges of demonstrating the educational value of games and Mayfair's efforts to meet those challenges.

The biggest challenge of introducing games into schools, according to Yeager is convincing administrators that the games address the particular standards of that state's curriculum.

It occurred to me that this might be a situation where trying games in education at the relatively unfettered higher ed level could be implemented more easily, and then as it produces results and research, it could "trickle down" to the K-12 level. (Lately, I've been doing the opposite: learning what education advances have been studied/implemented at the K-12 level, and trying to update my college instruction to that.)

Giles (the interviewer) asked about categorizing games by which of Gardner's multiple intelligences they develop, and I would really like to pursue an idea like that. Which cognitive/pedagogical scheme is in vogue seems to shift, but analyzing which cognitive processes a game requires of the player appeals to me as a good scholeological thing to do. Where could I publish something like that?

(Incidentally, in response to the question, Yeager mentioned Mayfair's done some academic content-based categorization, which is probably helpful to teachers trying to select an appropriate game to introduce, but isn't at the level of abstraction Giles was talking about.)

Morning Expiration

See, I was inspired by something this morning, and so my comments in response are my expiration, get it? No one is dying, exhaling, or running out of time. (Any faster than normal, that is.)

Anyway, the inspiration was Stephen Fry's Podgram on Language. My expiration is about math.

Stephen (I call him Stephen, 'cause we're friends. On Twitter, but still) refers to language as intrinsic to humans. Those children purposely raised without exposure to any language went and invented their own. The capacity for language, and more, the capacity to express and enjoy the beauty of language, is inside you from the moment you're born. Also, he briefly laments how not very many enjoy language. "Words, it seems, belong to other people...The free and happy use of words appears to be considered elitist or pretentious." Those few who bother with language, Stephen asserts, "bother with it in quite the wrong way." He then mounts a tirade against the "pedants" who write letters to the editor complaining about grammar errors in the grocery, "in which they show off their own superior `knowledge' of how language should be".

Of course, while on the road to work, this reminded me of math. First, math is as innate, perhaps more intrinsic, than language. Math is physically innate: you are born with counting hardwired at the ends of your limbs -- your digits, naturally. I don't think it's too bold to say that the fundamentals of number and division, for example, are fundamentally ingrained in our minds, too. When we think kids have to "learn to count", really we mean that they need to learn we call the numbers (tying the math to the language), but the numberness of numbers is that "this many" of my fingers is the same as "that many" of sheep or rocks or other kids or what have you.

Second, if the deft use of language is derided, and enjoying language is elitist...then using math suffers doubly, triply, a thousand times moreso. I know of no society, no matter how anti-intellectual, in which it is socially acceptable to say "I'm illiterate". And if you're being picky, "illiterate" implies writing; the claim "I can't do English" is nearly unthinkable (and nearly self-contradicting). But "I can't do math" is as acceptable as commenting on the weather.

Third, I can't avoid wondering if there isn't a frighteningly stark parallel between the pedants Stephen detests so much and...well, are those few who bother with math showing off their superior `knowledge' of how math should be? Are we, also, bothering with it in quite the wrong way? There's a natural response about the "correctness" of math being critical to its mission -- a message can be communicated even with incorrect grammar, but math is too fragile to hold on to its meaning in the face of error. But still, that's math in the small...we overlook "arithmetic errors" in higher level math all the time. Is it really so impossible to focus on the "big picture" in algebra, geometry, arithmetic? Or are we pedants and sticklers as much by inclination and tradition as by necessity?

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Love Carrots

I found a little budding romance in my CSA basket.

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CSA Basket 10

This week's basket contained Cucumber, Basil, Lemon Cucumber, Ambrosia Melon, Carrots, Tomatoes, Green Beans, Summer Squash, Grapefruit, White Nectarines, Cabbage, Corn, Lettuce, Pluots, Grapes, Valencia Oranges, and Peaches. There's a trade in basket at our pickup location so if you've got something you don't want you can switch it for something in the trade in basket. Usually the trade in basket is full of chard. But this week there were lots of tomatoes. So I traded in two cucumbers (we're kinda tzatziki-d out around here) and the cabbage (ditto for coleslaw) for three more tomatoes.

Mom was in town last week and she was on a mission to use up every last item from the last basket. We juiced all the citrus I'd accumulated. The Valencia oranges have a lot of seeds, so they're not great for eating, but they make fabulous juice. And the grapefruit juice was much more sweet than I ever recall grapefruit juice being. She was not game for Barbara Kingsolver's Eggs in a Nest because she's not a fan of poached eggs. But she sauteed all the kale she could find with some onion and garlic and it makes a wonderful side dish to pretty much anything. She also read Animal, Vegetable, Mineral while she was here. She's on board with everything short of livestock. I did make about a 1/4 batch of Kingsolver's Family Secret Tomato Sauce. I chickened out of canning it and just froze it since it was only like two and half jars. We just had some over pasta and spicy Italian sausage and my independent taste tester LOVED it.

I used my trusty KitchenAid FVSFGA Fruit/Vegetable Strainer and Food Grinder for Stand Mixers to strain steamed peaches, carrots, green beans, and summer squash for baby food. This week the carrots, peaches, green beans, and white nectarines will meet that same end.

The summer squash (some of which is really zucchini this time) and some tomatoes are headed for Tomato, Zucchini, and Leek Galette with Roasted Garlic Goat Cheese from Emeril Lagasse's new book Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh which I found over at Serious Eats. I didn't make this galette from the last basket as I had planned because there were actually only two summer squash in the basket and they were the yellow kind, not zucchini. So those got turned into baby food (of which said baby is not a fan . . . winter squash, yes, summer squash, no). Meanwhile, I did make something akin to mozzarella using Guinevere's raw milk and half a rennet tablet from Bridget. It is really awesome and going on top of this week's galette if I don't melt it on toast first. [Updated 8/12/2010 to add: This Galette is AWESOME! I substituted grilled onions for sauteed leeks and dried thyme for fresh thyme. My independent taste tester LOVED it, too.]

In addition to the tomatoes in the CSA basket, my friend Bridget brought me a bunch of tomatoes and some hot peppers from her garden, so I'm going to make a vat of salsa. I cannot envision us ever being salsa-d out around here.

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Feeling Peachy


I ordered 30 pounds of peaches and 10 pounds of nectarines from my CSA. I know, I'm crazy. So, I made a ton of baby food (hope Dexter likes peaches), a peach cobbler, 4 quarts of canned peach slices with cinnamon, and I dried the rest. We still have a ton of nectarines in the fridge. I dried some of them, but they were hard to pit so I gave up. We'll just have to eat them. The quality of the peaches was amazing and they were relatively cheap. I had a few get moldy on me, but I feel pretty accomplished for working my way through all that fruit.
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