Bethany’s Luncheonette: Polenta Pie

I used to make cooked lunches twice a week for a handful of friends and neighbors. I called it Bethany’s Luncheonette. I would e-mail a menu out Sunday night for Tuesday and Wednesday. Everyone who ordered a lunch got it school-lunch-style in a reusable and returnable container labeled with their name in Sharpie on masking tape. It was fun – my friends loved it, and that made me very happy. Someday I will start it again.

Polenta pie was one of my favorites from Luncheonette. Since wheat doesn’t agree with me, this is my version of pizza. It’s super delicious hot or cold.

The recipe is a slight adaptation from the Moosewood Cookbook (a classic 1970’s vegetarian cookbook from a restaurant collective in Ithaca, New York). Thank you, Moosewood and Molly Katzen! Still such good recipes.

polenta pie credit Julia A Reed (4)This isn’t the fastest recipe out there, so if you’re pressed for time, don’t bake the polenta – instead just cook it the first time and serve it in a bowl with the veggies and cheese on top (see photo to left). But better yet, wait until you have time to do the whole thing through. You’ll be glad you did.

Please experiment with different toppings. Master the polenta crust, and then you have a base for any seasonal veggie toppings. See end of post for suggestions on variations.

I haven’t tried it, but I bet you could make a few polenta crusts ahead of time and freeze them for quick pizzas later on. Don’t forget that you’ll need a decent sized pot and a sturdy whisk to make a big batch of polenta.

Polenta Pie
Adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook

Crust:
1 ½ cups coarse cornmeal (there are several Vermont and New Hampshire farms that sell cornmeal in local grocery stores)
1 t salt (or more to taste)
1 ½ cups cold water
2 cups boiling water (in a saucepan)
A little olive oil
One clove of crushed garlic (OPTIONAL)
A couple spoonfuls of grated Parmesan (OPTIONAL)

Topping:
1 T olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
½ a thinly sliced bell pepper (or use the whole one if you want)
10 mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
4 to 5 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ t dried oregano and/or thyme OR a handful of chopped fresh herbs
A few leaves chopped basil OR a spoonful of basil pesto (OPTIONAL)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound mozzarella, grated (feta, cheddar, goat cheese, etc. are good too.)
2 small (or 1 medium-sized) ripe tomato, sliced (OR, a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce if you have that on hand instead)polenta pie credit Julia A Reed

Directions:

  1. Combine cornmeal, salt, and cold water in a small bowl.
  2. Have the boiling water on the stove in a saucepan, and add the cornmeal mixture, whisking.
  3. Cook 15-20 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently. It will get very thick. Taste it for salt.
  4. Add garlic or Parmesan now, if using.
  5. Remove from heat, and let cool until handleable.polenta pie credit Julia A Reed (8)
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Oil a 10-inch pie pan or a pre-heated skillet.
  7. Add the polenta, and use a rubber spatula and/or wet hands to form it into a smooth, thick crust over the bottom and sides of the pan.
  8. Spread the surface with olive oil, and bake uncovered for 45 minutes.
  9. While the crust bakes, heat 1 T olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add the onion, and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to soften.
  10. Season with salt.
  11. Add the bell pepper, mushrooms and zucchini, and sauté until everything is tender, but not too soft. (Use your own judgment. There are no rules!)
  12. Add the garlic, herbs, and some black pepper, and sauté just a few minutes more. Add more salt if needed.
  13. Turn the oven to broil.
  14. Sprinkle half the cheese onto the bottom of the baked crust (okay if the crust is still hot), and add the tomato slices or tomato sauce.
  15. Spread the sautéed vegetables over the tomatoes, add the basil or pesto if using, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  16. Broil until brown (about 5 minutes) and serve hot.

This is also tasty cold the next day, and it reheats well.

Your farmers market shopping list:
Coarse cornmeal
Garlic
A small onion
A bell pepper
2 small tomatoes
Mushrooms
A small zucchini or summer squash
Cheese
Fresh herbs

Some variations:
Sauteed or grilled onion & pepper plus Italian sausage
Chopped cooked spinach, sauteed or grilled onion, and Feta cheese
Or try any of these other toppings: grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper, cooked sliced asparagus, steamed or grilled broccoli or cauliflower, cooked or roasted kale, arugula, any fresh herbs lying around, sautéed leeks, etc.

Keep in mind that the broiling time is only to melt the cheese, so use precooked vegetables rather than raw ones. Using raw veggies will result in lukewarm crunchy veggies under melted cheese – gross!

Dedication: Written July 24, 2016, on the 100th anniversary of my grandmother’s birth. Happy birthday, Mimi! She was and will always be the best provider of food I know. I dedicate my food blogs to her and her mother, Olga.

– Bethany Fleishman

Photo credit: Julia A. Reed

Simple & Stunning: Blueberry Fool

Fool – a deceptively delicious English dessert – is one of my favorites. It’s easy, so tasty, and can be made with Upper Valley ingredients. When served in clear serving dishes, it’s stunning enough for a party.

Here is the recipe-less version: swirl together equal parts whipped cream and slightly sweetened berry puree. You can cook the berries before pureeing or puree them raw. You can strain out the seeds or leave them in. You can sweeten the cream, add yogurt or mascarpone, or leave it plain. Try different berries or fruit.

If you want a recipe, here’s one for blueberry fool. All of the major ingredients can be found at farmers markets or farm stands here in the Upper Valley – right now!

Blueberry Fool
Adapted from English chef Nigel Slater
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
2 cups (= 1 pint/1 pound) blueberries , retain a handful for a garnish
3 tablespoons sugar or maple syrup or to taste
¾ cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk yogurt (Greek or regular)
A squeeze of lemon, a pinch of salt, and a drop of vanilla extract (OPTIONAL)

Directions
1. In a small pan over low heat, simmer the berries and sugar or maple with a scant spoonful of water for about 10 minutes until they burst, and the juice begins to blueberry fool credit Julia A Reed (2)evaporate.

2. Either crush berries with a fork, pass them through a sieve, or puree them.

3. Let it cool so the puree doesn’t melt the whipped cream.

4. Once cool, adjust the sweetness and add a few drops of lemon juice, vanilla, and pinch of salt if it needs a boost of flavor.

5. Whip the cream into thick soft peaks.

6. Stir the yogurt until smooth.

7. Fold the yogurt into the whipped cream.

8. Then swirl the blueberry sauce into the cream mixture so it’s nice and marbled. Spoon into a clear serving bowl or into individual cups.

9. Ideally let it chill for an hour before serving.blueberry fool credit Julia A Reed (15)

10. Garnish with whole berries. I like mine topped with something crunchy too, like crushed amaretti cookies.

Other Fools

RASPBERRY: Red or black raspberry fool is amazing. Whether the berries are cooked or left raw, for optimal eating experience, push the puree through a sieve to remove the seeds.

Try a combination of blueberries and raspberries. Keep them separate for purple and red swirls, or combine them as one puree.

For both raspberry and blueberry fool, it’s nice to leave a handful of the berries whole, either for garnish or to mix in with the puree.

RHUBARB: Cook chopped rhubarb with sugar into a sauce, and either use as is, or puree. Try a combination of strawberry and rhubarb – yum! Use our strawberry-rhubarb sauce recipe.

GOOSEBERRY: There are the traditional berry used in England for making fools. Give it a try if you can find them. Here’s the BBC’s recipe and a useful translation from British English: caster sugar = granulated sugar, icing sugar = confectioners’ sugar, and double cream = whipping cream.

RED or BLACK CURRANT: These are best cooked rather than used raw, and they require more sugar than do blueberries or raspberries, because they’re sour and strong tasting. I like their weird piney taste, but some people hate it – to play it safe in a crowd, mix currants with other berries.

A note about currants and gooseberries: Do you wonder why you’re suddenly seeing gooseberries and black or red currants and why you never heard much about them before? They’re coming into vogue in the U.S. after a long ban was lifted on their cultivation due to a pest these berry cousins carry that allegedly threatens pine trees. Both have been long enjoyed in other parts of the world. Gooseberries are native to Europe, parts of Asia, and northern Africa. And currants are common in jellies and desserts in Northern Europe. My Danish great-grandmother – apparently a recurring character in my food blogs – passed down her recipe for rødgrød med fløde, which means “red berry porridge with cream” and is usually made with red currants.

– Bethany Fleishman

Photo credit: Julia A. Reed

Easy Berry Cobbler

I found this remarkable easy cobbler recipe at Divas Can Cook and was so surprised by how delicious it was and that the ingredients include only what you typically have in your pantry. The original recipe is for strawberry cobbler, but I’ve made this with every type of berry (sometimes, even a mixture of berries). Using fresh berries is best, but even frozen berries can be used to make this an easy dessert you can whip up year-round.

hands holding strawberries credit Julia A Reed

photo credit Julia A Reed

Easy Berry Cobbler
Adapted from Divas Can Cook
Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh berries, diced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
  • ½-3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, melted
 blueberries credit Molly Drummondgolden raspberries in hand
 photo credit Molly Drummond
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Grease a 9-inch casserole dish
  3. In a medium bowl, mix strawberries and sugar, set aside.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  5. Add in milk, vanilla extract and melted butter, stir until just combined.
  6. Pour batter evenly into greased dish.
  7. Spoon berries evenly on top of batter. Do NOT stir.
  8. Baked for 35-40 minutes or until golden.
  9. Serve warm or cold. Even better with a little ice cream 😉

Feature image photo credit Julia A Reed

Getting ready for Pot Roast

Take Stock

Stock – essentially a long-cooked infusion of bones, meat scraps, or vegetables – embodies several of my favorite qualities: thrifty, healthy, old-fashioned, and delicious.

Thrifty: Stock is made with leftovers and scraps. Most of us in America have gotten used to throwing away bones, onion ends, and carrot peelings, but these have an important second life.

Have picked-over roast chicken bones? Or slimy raw bones and skin after cutting up thighs for a stir-fry? Save them all in a plastic bag in the freezer. Peeling carrots or cutting up celery for your kids’ lunches? Save the scraps, and put them in another plastic bag in the freezer.

Make stock when you have time and enough scraps saved. Then freeze it until you need it. I freeze mine in old quart yogurt containers – it’s the right amount for a batch of soup.

Healthy: Stock is touted for its health benefits since the slow cooking of bones extracts nutrients from the connective tissue and bone marrow. When it’s cool, stock should be somewhat gelatinous.

Called “Jewish penicillin” by some, the comforting and healing properties of chicken soup – and indeed any soup made with bones – are recognized around the world. Once a barista in San Francisco recommended his native Iran’s home remedy for my torn knee meniscus: a stock from chicken feet (for maximum gelatin and connective tissue). I still make that from time to time, and I make regular chicken stock and other meat stock to heal colds and flu.

Vital Communities Feb2016 SMALL-62Old-fashioned: My Jewish grandmother made chicken soup full of matzo balls, giblets, and lots of yellow chicken fat on top. My Scandinavian/German grandmother made all sorts of amazing soup from chicken, pork, or beef bones. No matter where you’re from, you likely know older folks who make soup this way. Use the knowledge of the ancestors.

Delicious: Stock can be used for the base of a soup broth or for various sauces. It makes things rich and tasty. Use it if you can, and you’ll notice a subtle but real difference. Chicken soup made with long-cooked roasted bones and plenty of onion is perfect food.

The Recipes:

Meat stock

Use cooked or raw bones, or a combination. Skin is good too. Raw bones will make lighter stock with a more delicate flavor. Cooked – particularly roasted – bones will make a darker richer stock. There are all kinds of subtleties, rules, and small steps that you can take to make a restaurant-worthy stock, but we’re just at home and making normal people stock.

  1. By weight (roughly) combine one part bone, skin, and meat scraps and two parts cold water in a stockpot.
  2. Put the pot on very low heat, and cook uncovered for hours. Overnight is good if you feel comfortable doing that. Otherwise 4-6 hours is fine. Add more water anytime if needed.
  3. Ideally, the heat should be low enough that the stock only bubbles every couple of seconds. Higher heat is okay but your stock will be cloudy.
  4. If you’re adding vegetables, do so only during the last 20-30 minutes of cooking. They will lose their flavor if cooked longer than that.
  5. Skim off foam as it’s cooking.
  6. When it’s done, strain, cool, and skim off the fat (you can save this for cooking).Vital Communities Feb2016 SMALL-70

Vegetable stock

  1. By weight (roughly) combine one part vegetable scraps and two parts cold water.
  2. Simmer uncovered for 30-60 minutes, then strain, cool, and you’re done!

It’s important to choose your vegetables wisely. I said scraps, but don’t use rotting or moldy pieces. Use the bits that are just too tough to chew or are less pretty – like the tough outer layer of a peeled onion.

Vegetables to add to stock/broth for delicious flavor:
– onion and garlic scraps
– carrot ends and peels
– celery leaves and tough outer stalks

– fennel scraps, stems, and fronds
– corn cobs
– mushroom stems
– leek and scallion scraps
– tomatoes
– parsley stems

Things NOT to add unless you specifically want these attributes:
– beets – weird color and flavor
– cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc. – yuck, cabbage tea!
– strongly flavored herbs
– people say you can add onion skins to stock. I tried it for the photo here, and it gives a nice dark color, but I found it made the stock bitter.

By Bethany Fleishman

Photo credit: Julia A. Reed

Kale, Caesar!

kale caesar credit Julia A Reed (9)My favorite way to eat kale is not new or trendy – I like it cooked tender and until it’s ​no longer bright green. But on a hot day or for company or a potluck, kale Caesar is refreshing and a little fancy.

Kale salad is trendy right now, and kale Caesar, specifically, is very Vermont chic.

Raw kale is a nice alternative or addition to lettuce in a salad – especially if you already have kale and don’t want to buy lettuce or salad greens. Plus, making croutons for Caesar salad is a good way to use up stale bread.

For eating raw in salads, choose fresh kale with smaller leaves. The flavor tends to get stronger as the leaves mature on the plant or in your fridge. Have a lot of older kale sitting around? Rip off a piece and see what it tastes like. A braise with plenty of salt, garlic, bacon fat,​ and a splash of leftover wine might be a better choice than a salad.

To prepare kale for any salad, pull the stems off and break leaves into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle them with a little salt and oil and squeeze them with your fists until the leaves get wilted and soft. People call this “massaging” the kale but I think that sounds weird. Add dressing and other ingredients and serve!

Here, we’re going to make Caesar salad with dressing and croutons from scratch. If you prefer, you can always use store bought croutons and/or Caesar dressing, but don’t be put off by the fairly straightforward  process of making your own. You’ll build kitchen skills and have a better end product.

–Bethany Fleishman, Vital Communities’ Transportation Program Assistant and former pastry chef, is contributing recipes this summer for our Valley Food & Farm program.

Photo credits: Julia A. Reed

Kale Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons
Recipes adapted from Tyler Florence and from Natasha’s Kitchen

Ingredients

1-2 bunches green or lacinato/dinosaur kale

freshly grated Parmesan, or any hard sharp cheese from a local farm

Croutons
2 cups of stale bread, cubed or torn into chunks, crusts left on

2 T unsalted butter

2 T extra virgin olive oil

2 medium garlic cloves, smashed or minced

1 T fresh thyme, finely chopped, or 1 t dried thyme

1/4 t salt

1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

Dressing
4 anchovy fillets or 2 t anchovy pasteblueberry fool credit Julia A Reed (5)

1 clove garlic, smashed or minced

1 lemon, very well squeezed

1 yolk from a fresh local egg (save the white in the freezer to add to scrambled eggs or to make cakes or meringues)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (or any hard sharp cheese from a local farm)

freshly ground black pepper

salt

Make the croutons first:butter herbs cooking credit Julia A Reed
1. In a small saucepan, heat the butter, olive oil, garlic cloves, thyme, and pepper over medium heat until butter is melted and bubbly. Set aside and let the flavors infuse into the oil. (Wash the kale and pat dry while you wait.)
2. Drizzle the butter/olive oil mixture evenly ocroutons kale caesar credit Julia A Reed (1)ver the bread cubes and toss until they have an even coating of oil.
3. Spread the croutons in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 375˚F for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown and crunchy. Set aside to let cool.

Make the dressing next:
Blend the anchovies, garlic, egg yolk, and lemon juice for 30 seconds until the mixture is smooth (use an immersion blender in a tall mug or wide-mouth canning jar). With the blender running, pour the olive oil in slowly for the dressing to emulsify it. Stir in the Parmesan and a couple of grinds of black pepper. Season, to taste, with salt and set aside. Refrigerate the dressing if you will not be using it right away.blueberry fool credit Julia A Reed (13)

Assemble the salad:
Pull off the kale stems and break leaves into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle a little salt and olive oil/salad oil over the leaves and squeeze them with your fists until the kale gets
somewhat wilted and soft. Add enough dressing to coat the salad to your liking. Add the croutons and some extra Parmesan and toss the salad well.kale caesar credit Julia A Reed (7)

Eat it now or eat it tomorrow. The kale holds up well with dressing and a night in the fridge, but leave off the croutons until serving.

Ryan Andreozzi: Upper Valley Hotshot!

Hotshot Ryan AndreozziName: Ryan Andreozzi

Age: 28-ish

Job: Research Laboratory Technologist

Q: Is it hard being a hotshot?

A: For some, yes, but for me it comes naturally.

Q: How did you become a good cook, anyway?

A: I’ve had a passion for cooking ever since I was 16 years old. I would look up complicated recipes and then ruin my future mother-in-law’s kitchen trying things out.

Q: Favorite recipe (prepared with locally grown food, naturally!):

A: Kale Salad with Maple Vinegar Dressing

Q: Best hotshot recipe when you need to impress someone:

A: Coconut Curry

Q: Favorite person to cook for:

A: My family. My parents and my In-Laws, as well as my siblings.

Q: The most important kitchen gear:

A: Enameled cast iron pot. Sized very large.

Q: Name 5 things in your kitchen, without which you cannot live.

A:

  1. Enameled cast iron pot
  2. Sharp 8” Chef’s Knife
  3. Salt
  4. Fish Sauce
  5. Vinegar

Q: If you were a locally grown food, what would you be and why?

A: Apple: I’m sweet and versatile, and I’m available for action year round (with proper handling).

Q: Best websites or blogs for new hotshot ideas?

A: http://www.seriouseats.com/

Q: Where do you buy the locally grown food for your recipes?

A: Sunrise Farms and the Norwich Farmer’s Market

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring chefs?

A: Try anything, and keep an open mind.

Q: Being named one of the Upper Valley’s Men Who Cook Hotshots makes me feel…

A: Honored.

Rory Gawler: Upper Valley Hotshot!

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Name: Rory C. Gawler

Age: 34

Job: Assistant Director, Dartmouth Outdoor Programs

Single or Taken: Single

Kids: none so far

Q: Is it hard being a hotshot?

A: It’s a lot of pressure. Once you fire out Lamb Curry for 15 in just under 2 hours once, the expectation is that you can do it any time. You end up doing a lot of prep work to make sure you can seem like a hotshot all the time. I have 4 chest freezers, several pallets of dry goods from the Co-op’s caselot sale and innumerable small appliances and heavy duty cookware items to make it all seem effortless.

Q: How did you become such a hotshot, anyway?

A: Necessity and convenience. Having housemates and guests over for dinner all the time means someone has to put food on the table. Everyone’s busy and eventually I just had to the most practice whipping out gourmet dinner for a dozen. Convenience comes down to my own feeling that I’d rather host than travel. I know for some folks, hosting is stressful, but since I’m well set-up, I’d really rather have folks over than go out.

Q: Favorite hotshot recipe (prepared with locally grown food, naturally!):

A: Given the choice, I would eat nothing but curry and here’s why: It includes all of the things that we like to eat: veggies, meat, starch and spices. It’s easy, makes few cooking-related dirty dishes, and is highly nutritious and healthy. It also makes great leftovers. It can be made with vegetables that are marginal and no one notices.

Thai Curry:

1) Make rice. Use the rice cooker. It’s easier. Basically just under 2:1 ratio of water to rice. The more rice you use, the less water. If you do brown rice, use a little more water, but if you press the brown rice button, recognize that it will take 2-3 hours before it’s done. Brown rice seems to cook just fine on the white rice setting.

2) Sautee vegetables. Hard ones early, soft ones later. Bell peppers are favoured, but anything will do.

3) Combine in bowl: coconut milk, thai curry paste (red and green are
my favs), salt.

4) Mix bowl into pan. Heat.

5) Put on rice.

Q: Best hotshot recipe when you need to impress someone:

A: When I want to impress, I usually go to my chest freezer for some Sweetland Farm porkchops or Clay Hill Beef. Salt the heck out of it and grill. Accompanied with a pilaf of brown rice, wild rice, soft wheat berries and other neat grains made in chicken stock, maybe with some sautéed mushrooms and celery added later. Obviously butter too. Side of salad, or seasonal veg.

I also make literally the best pancakes you’ve ever had.

Also, if you’re not making your own salad dressing, then you haven’t even begun to hotshot. Experiment, but couple notes:

  • Mustard, powdered or from a jar, is a natural emulsifier
  • If you then use your handy-dandy stick blender to mix, it will stay emulsified for quite a while.
  • Put a little glob of hellman’s mayo in there. Delish.

Q: Favorite person to cook for:

A: Can’t pick one, but I love having my friends who’ve all moved out of the area come to visit, and I like to thank them for travelling to see me, so always happy to treat to a nice dinner. Also, my mom’s generally pretty appreciative.

Q: The hotshot’s most important kitchen gear:

A:

  • Rice cooker
  • Immersion blender
  • Giant cutting board, handmade from cherry, walnut and maple scraps from my woodshop
  • Wide-mouth mason jar for drinking out of. Hydration is very important.

Q: Name 5 things in your kitchen, without which you cannot live.

A:

  • Gas range, as high powered as possible.
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Sharp Knives
  • Quality ingredients
  • Your brain

Q: If you were a locally grown food, what would you be and why?

A: Huge fan of the Beet. Grows anywhere, super nutritious, delicious, you can eat the whole plant and it turns your whole insides red. What more could you ask?

Q: Best websites or blogs for new hotshot ideas?

A: No idea. If I need help, I use the Joy of Cooking. Reading Michael Pollan was also a major source of inspiration.

Q: Where do you buy the locally grown food for your hotshot recipes?

A: Sweetland Farm in Norwich is my source for meats and veggies in season. The pork and lamb from here is out of this world. I can never go back to factory farmed meats. Off season, I do all my shopping at the Co-op Food Stores. When I can get a gallon of Co-op branded McNamara whole milk for the same price as a gallon of Hood, I don’t see why I should shop anywhere else. It’s substantially, noticeably more delicious.image1

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring hotshots?

A: Think ab
out what you like to eat, and make that. Pick a project – for a while, I was experimenting with hashbrowns until I discovered that grating in some parsnips made them caramelize beautifully. So Good! Also, neither fat nor salt is bad for you anymore. Use it!

Q: Being named one of the Upper Valley’s Men Who Cook Hotshots makes me feel…

A: Quite pleased. One of the best things about living in this area is the access we have to wonderful, locally grown food. It’s a major boost to quality of life. It’s also so simple, I think everyone should cook all the time!

Grill Season is Here!

Summer is the time for firing up the grill and cooking some local food, because charred grill marks and a smokey taste makes everything better – and there are no pots and pans to clean!

Grilling a grass fed steak

At Valley Farm Fresh you will find great recipes (for grilling meat & veggies), a calendar for the Upper Valley farmers’ market season, and the Valley Food & Farm Online Guide so you can find farmstands,  pick-your-own, and more local food near you.

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And if you are a man who cooks with local foods (grill or otherwise) OR you know a man who cooks with local foods – enter our #MenWhoCookLocal summer competition for a chance to win an 8″ Japanese steel chef knife. Read about our celebration of Upper Valley men who are cooking local with our  #UpperValleyHotShots.

 

MWC: Recommended Recipes & Blogs

The Beeroness: Baking and Cooking with Beer

Grilled-Beer-Cheese-Stuffed-Bacon-Wrapped-Jalapenos2

From TheBeeroness.com:

Jackie Dodd’s beer infused recipes earned her a spot as a finalist for Saveur Magazines Best Original Recipes, 2014 as well as crowned winner for Best Beer Coverage in 2015. The Beeroness was also a finalist for Better Homes and Gardens Best Food Blogs, 2015. She has been seen on The Today Show, Lifetime Network, CBS News, as well as interviewed in print publications such as Imbibe, Bite and The San Francisco Chronicle. She also writes for Parade MagazineDraft Magazine and Whisk Magazine. She is also the author of The Craft Beer Cookbook and the newly released Craft Beer Bites Cookbook.


Smitten Kitchen: Fearless cooking from a tiny kitchen in New York

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From SmittenKitchen.com:

What you’ll see here is: A lot of comfort foods stepped up a bit, things like bread and birthday cakes made entirely from scratch and tutorials on everything from how to poach an eggto how to make tart doughs that don’t shrink up on you, but also a favorite side dish (zucchini and almonds) that takes less than five minutes to make.

What I’m wary of is: Excessively fussy foods and/or pretentious ingredients. I don’t do truffle oil, Himalayan pink salt at $10 per quarter-ounce or single-origin chocolate that can only be found through Posh Nosh-approved purveyors. I think food should be accessible, and am certain that you don’t need any of these things to cook fantastically.


Food Republic

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From FoodRepublic.com:

Food Republic was founded in 2010 by chef Marcus Samuelsson and the Samuelsson Group, and launched in April 2011 under the direction of Editorial Director Richard Martin. In a short time, it has become one of the foremost sources for news and commentary on food, drink, design, travel and more, published to a wide audience in the United States and abroad.

The site features a daily lineup of interviews with prominent chefs and personalities, stories about the lifestyle around food and drink, and recipes drawn from the Food Republic Test Kitchen, as well as from acclaimed chefs and cookbook authors. Most of the content is original and produced exclusively for the website by its staff and contributors around the world.


Fit Men Cook

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From FitMenCook.com:

Fitness is a lifelong journey and I could not imagine a life of eating boring, bland food just to be healthy.  Now more than ever, I firmly believe that healthier food options do not have to be boring. Ever. In fact, they are pretty tasty.  And even better, the lifestyle changed worked. As I saw my physique begin to change, I was motivated to push harder and set more aggressive goals.  Not only did I learn how to lose weight, but also I learned how to gain muscle, with small tweaks in both my diet and training.


The Kitchn

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From TheKitchn.com:

Helping everyone live happier, healthier lives at home through their kitchen. The Kitchn is a daily food magazine on the Web celebrating life in the kitchen through home cooking and kitchen intelligence. This is a site for people who like to get their hands dirty while they cook. It is for those who care about the quality of their food, and how it affects the health of themselves and the planet. It is for cooks who care about design and want to create a beautiful kitchen. It’s a place to dive in deep, and embrace the joy of one of our basic needs: Food, cooked at home, nourishing ourselves and our households.

 

Spring Salad Made From Anything

I made this colorful crunchy salad on the fly on Memorial Day when the grocery stores were closed for the holiday and my parents, siblings, and out-of-town cousin were on their way over for dinner. I wanted a salad but only had asparagus, broccolini, scallions, and radishes from Cedar Circle Farm plus a few carrots in the fridge and herbs in the garden. And thus this salad put itself together with a little thoughtful slicing and a lemon dressing.

Thoughtful slicing? By that I mean thinking about the best way to slice each vegetable to make the salad both beautiful AND to make each bite make sense in your mouth.

For example, radishes are pungent and spicy, so I sliced some of them into paper-thin rounds and the rest into thin wedges – both shapes ensure a huge chunk of radish won’t ruin a bite. 

Similarly, raw carrots are great, but I don’t love them shredded and neither do I want huge carrot sticks. So I cut them in thinIMG_1127 irregular slices on the diagonal that are easy to pick up with a fork without too much crunching and drama. I prefer my broccoli cooked, so I did that before slicing it into long strips.

You get the idea. Give each vegetable a moment of thought to optimize its good qualities and make it pretty and easy to eat. Mix up colors and flavors, shapes and textures.

This salad can be made with any spring vegetable you like eating. Keep a vegetable raw if it tastes good raw (like scallions, kholrabi, peas, and radishes). Briefly steam, saute, or roast it if it’s better cooked (like broccoli, fiddleheads, or bok choy) and then cool before adding. Don’t forget the fresh herbs! I mixed dill, cilantro, basil, and marjoram, all from my backyard. In my opinion, any combination of fresh herbs is good in a salad.

(I used a lemon dressing, but you can use any dressing you have and like. Optional additions are grated, crumbled, or shaved cheese of your choosing, a cooked grain or pasta, beans, or pieces of chicken.)

–Bethany Fleishman,Vital Communities’ Transportation Program Assistant and former pastry chef, is contributing recipes this spring for our Valley Food & Farm program.

Here’s my recipe; adapt as needed:

Spring Salad Made From Anything

Ingredients

one bunch asparagus – kept raw and shaved into ribbons with a peeler (or if you prefer it cooked, steam, cool, and slice)

4-6 radishes, some thinly sliced into rounds, the rest sliced into thin wedges (you can keep the root and a little of the green intact)

3-5 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thinly on the diagonal (extra pretty that way)

2-4 carrots, sliced into thin and irregular spears on the diagonal

2-3 stalks broccolini or one head of broccoli, briefly steamed, cooled, then sliced into long thin pieces

a handful of fresh herbs – basil, cilantro, parsley, marjoram, dill, chives, etc.

salt

Mix everything together in a salad bowl with a little salt (these vegetable chunks will soak up more salt than a plain salad of greens, so don’t be shy with the salt).IMG_1129

Make a lemon vinaigrette with:

half a lemon, juice & grated rind 

one clove garlic, sliced, mashed, or grated

salt & pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

Whisk this all together until smooth and creamy. Toss with the salad and serve immediately.

*Also on the family Memorial day supper menu:
– delicious juicy hamburgers with beef from Back Beyond Farm in Chelsea, Vermont, covered in fried onions and spicy sauerkraut.
– A grain salad my mom made
– Vermont ice cream with chocolate sauce.

**Thank you to my brother Ben for the photos.

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