welcome

Hi, I'm back.
Happy Spring!
-- Sue


Friday, April 30, 2010

Chayote Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Chipotle Salsa






These are lettuce wraps from a different direction.  Chicken, chayote, and cilantro team up with creamy chipotle salsa, in a romaine wrap.  Sprinkled with shredded cheese, they're decidedly delicious.

Here in Vermont, you don't run into chayotes very often.  Coyotes yes, chayotes, no.  I wondered whether I could plant this in my vegetable garden.  It's just about that time; although it did snow on Wednesday, it didn't snow much.   But I found that chayote are grown in Costa Rica, which isn't encouraging.  The similarities between Costa Rica and Chester are few (they both begin with "C", etc.).....The only person I've known who spent time in Costa Rica was going down there to take care of parrots.  Still, I'll plant anything, and I would love to grow this vegetable.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ricotta Torta Rustica



Torta Rustica is a traditional savory Ricotta pie, in a bread or cornmeal crust.  I like to make it, because it goes together quickly, and uses ingredients that I usually have around.  One thing I definitely have around is Ricotta, because it's a byproduct of cheesemaking, and I just made a 9-gallon Gruyere.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Croute





This is simply the best grilled cheese on the face of the Earth.  Reblochon cheese triangles melted over sliced Vermont ham on a thick slice of rustic bread, with a bit of white wine.  No special recipe here; this is about the cheese.  Reblochon!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Vermont Strudel: Peach, Pear, Blackberry in Applesauce-Yogurt Pastry





Here's a delicious strudel you can make before breakfast.  It's full of fruit and nuts, and is wrapped in tender, applesauce-yogurt pastry.  Sourdough starter is used as a shortcut to give texture, character and loft to the dough.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Japanese Eggplant and Asparagus Bruschetta






Here is a fresh and delicious bruschetta with a difference;  warm, sauteed Japanese eggplant is combined with Cilantro, asparagus, red bell pepper, and lemon/garlic dressing.  It is great either on bread, as bruschetta, or separately, as a warm salad.  

Ricotta Tart with Toasted Almonds, Ginger, and Caramelized Pears




This is a ricotta tart with toasted almonds, crystallized ginger and caramelized pears, in an almond cookie crust.  It is very light and tender.   The tart can be made from ordinary ricotta, but it's also a great way to use homemade ricotta* or ricotta which is left over from cheesemaking.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

An April Soup: Carrot/Parsnip Bisque with Spring Vegetable Quenelles






Although our April in Vermont has been kind of back and forth, (ice out at Joe's Pond was the earliest ever) overall it appears that Spring has arrived. Wikipedia says about April,  "The traditional etymology is from the Latin aperire, "to open," in allusion to its being the season when trees and flowers begin to "open," which is supported by comparison with the modern Greek use of ἁνοιξις (opening) for spring."

Yes.  I noticed that down at the vegetable garden, where my bunching green onions have once again amazed me.  This has to be the best vegetable ever; takes care of itself, keeps coming back and multiplying, shows up very early, and keeps providing until covered with snow.  In the early Spring, these onions are very tender and delicate.  I decided to make a fresh, Spring soup, with early green vegetables as a focus.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Charlotte Moose





This is a Joconde Sponge Cake mountain filled with Maple Bavarian Cream, topped with a Chocolate Moose.

Of course.

In Vermont, there is a town called Charlotte (with the accent on the second syllable).  Charlotte is also a classic dessert.   I have a daughter named Charlotte, who is an opera singer.   I don't know why, but I've been planning this dessert Charlotte for some time.  At least since sugaring season, when I started thinking about the Maple Bavarian Cream.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cheese and the Art of Waiting






Just some pictures of cheese I've just made, some I made recently, and some that are fully ripened and ready to eat.  Cheese has a lifecycle that can't be rushed, and also can't be delayed very successfully.  Like so many things.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Unwrapping a Clothbound Cheddar






Tomorrow I'm making cheddar, so tonight we opened one up.  This one is six months old, very mellow and aromatic.  At this age, the cheese is very useful for cooking as well as eating.   The one-year cheddar is so special, it's kind of a shame to cook with it.  And so, I keep the cheddar in rotation.

These cheddars are the best I've tasted.  Maybe it's because it's Vermont, maybe it's the raw Jersey milk, and well, I have something to do with it too.

Friday, April 9, 2010

SOTB Teacakes







SOTB:  It's a great drink.  

But these delicate squares of sponge cake have all the flavor without the hangover.  Fiori di Sicilia and peach jelly flavor the cake, topped with peach/pomegranate glaze.  They are easy to make!  Try them and think about summer.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chicken Sausages with Apple and Calvados






You come home from work, you're tired; a bag of chicken thighs in one hand and a bottle of Calvados in the other.  What to do?

Well here's another idea.   If you keep sausage casings handy (and they keep an extremely long time), you can quickly make these sausages.  They are nice to keep in the freezer for a quick supper or weekend lunch, and best of all, they can be varied by the addition of dried fruits such as figs or prunes.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Savory Saffron Brioche with Rosemary and Vermont Ham







This brioche is divine; it is light as air, and deliciously fragrant with saffron, fresh rosemary and Vermont ham.  It's buttery and  crisp on the outside, and delicate and tender on the inside.  You could have this for lunch, with a glass of white wine, or pair it with a vegetable gratin for dinner.

It's seriously delicious.

Thick Cinnamon Applesauce




This is a thick, sweet cinnamon applesauce, almost like apple butter.  I like to make it to cook with, and to serve with pork and charcuterie.  It is thick enough to spread on toast, and is of course delicious by itself.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Everyday Breads: Boule and Olive Levain





Here are the breads I make regularly.   All of them are based on sourdough starter, which I keep on the kitchen counter at all times.  Following a basic two-step approach of levain build and final build, it's easy to create boules, levains and whole wheat bread, fresh from the oven.