Saturday, June 25, 2005

Farm Supper

Farm Supper
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic.
We are moving into that precious time of year when it's possible to have an entire meal from our farm, Newtown Farm in Waxhaw, NC. It's not actually our farm, it's Sammy Koenigsberg's CSA (community supported agriculture) farm. We are shareholders. Every week from the first of May to Thanksgiving we receive a half-bushel of fresh, organically-grown vegetables. Sammy also raises free-range chickens, which he sells to a few shareholders, as well. (He sells live chickens and then "butchers them for free.")

This is a free-range bird I roasted on the grill (a lump hardwood charcoal fire), fingerling potatoes with onions and fresh garlic and steamed broccoli and carrots. I should admit here that the carrots were purchased from the grocery store. Sammy's carrots taste like candy, so they end up being eaten raw within a day of our receiving them. That makes it hard to have any to cook with.
We shareholders are especially fortunate to receive fingerlings. Sammy has several Charlotte area restaurants as clients and they are always wanting fingerlings. We reap the benefits of their largess. Otherwise, they would be too expensive for a CSA-only farm to grow.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Chocolate Chip Pie

Choc Chip Pie
Originally uploaded by
Food Fanatic.
This was a fantastic dessert! I made this for my new book club. My son said "it's like chocolate chip bars in a pie crust." He's exactly right. The recipe is from The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook by Paula H. Deen of Foodnetwork fame. Deen says the pie serves 6 to 8, but even with my sweet tooth I had trouble finishing 1/8 of the pie.

Chocolate Chip Pie

2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick butter, melted
6 oz (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
9-inch unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Add flour and brown sugar; beat until well blended. Blend in granulated sugar and butter. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 1 hour.

Miso Noodle Soup

miso noodle soup
Originally uploaded by
Food Fanatic.

Looks can be deceiving. In fact, even smells can be deceiving. My mouth was watering as I prepared this recipe from Cooking Light Magazine (March 97). But in actual fact, this soup turned out to be very bland-tasting. I had to do a lot of salting. I concede it might have been due in part to the fact that I used a homemade vegetable stock. A stock that I really did not spend the proper amount of time on. I also had trouble making sure the miso was completely blended in. The noodles obstructed my view and, even though I thought I had it all incorporated, I found clumps of miso on my spoon. I may try this recipe again in the future with better stock.

Miso Noodle Soup
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 (14 1/2 oz) cans vegetable broth
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 cup diagonally sliced carrots
1 cup vertically sliced onion
1 teaspoon chile paste
2 cups cooked Chinese egg noodles (4 oz uncooked)
1/4 cup white miso

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic, saute 1 minute. Add broth, broccoli, carrot, onion and chile paste; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 2 minutes. Stir in noodles and miso; cook 1 minute or until miso is blended.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Beef. It's What's For Dinner.

Tonight we had our first "Ranch" steak. The beef council came out with some new cuts of beef a while ago (a year, maybe?). Sure, they acknowledge that the new steaks were there all along. It's not like the cows suddenly came up with new parts! (We certainly don't want to go there, do we? Along with "frankencorn" we'd have "frankencow"...makes me shudder) But the industry has done some research and found that nice cuts could be found in the shoulder area.

One of the beauties of these new cuts is the cost. Since they are from the shoulder you pay "shoulder" costs. I picked up ranch steaks for $5.99/lb at Lowe's Foods today. So for about $8.50 I had plenty of steak for our family of 4. I grilled them on my little smokey joe and they were fantastic! I wish I'd taken a picture but I was asleep at the switch. We had a bit of excitement in our neighborhood while I was grilling and while I listened to the police and fire sirens and followed the Life Flight helicopter as it looped over to the High School to land, I let the steaks sneak up to 155 degrees. This was about 15 degrees over what I wanted, so in the flurry I just yanked 'em off and we ate them.

Yes, 145 degrees is about what you want for those ranch steaks. Cook them to 140 and let them rest while they rise to 145. The Iowa Beef Council says they are best if they are marinated first, too. But you can do just about anything with them...grill, skillet-cook, broil, stir-fry. Ours were a tad tougher than I prefer but I figure that had to do with the sirens and the helicopter. I plan to try them again soon.

I went to the Iowa Beef Council website and downloaded this nifty guide to the New Steak Cuts. I recommend you do too. Tuck it somewhere for handy reference.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Broccoli Raab & Spaghetti

12 oz thin spaghetti
2 or more cloves of garlic, chopped
red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 cups chopped broccoli raab
4-6 cups chicken stock or water
parmesan cheese

Break the spaghetti into 2-4 inch lengths. In a large skillet, sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes in oil. As soon as the garlic turns translucent, add 1 cup of chicken stock or water. Add the spaghetti and salt to taste. Stir until all the pasta is well-coated with oil and water. It may take some time for the spaghetti to wilt enough to settle into the water.
When the spaghetti has become flexible, add the broccoli raab. As the mixture cooks, add more stock or water – 1/2 cup at a time – stirring constantly, to keep the pasta from sticking. Stop adding the liquid when the pasta is almost done. Continue stirring until all the remaining liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
Adapted from a recipe by Edward Giobbi in Fine Gardening Magazine.

mise en place

"Everything in it's place" is the rough translation of "mise en place". I've started this blog to put my cooking in its' own place. I am the author of another blog, "Gone to Carolina", which is about our family and our move from Minnesota and subsequent settlement in South Carolina. That blog is an eclectic mixture of commentary about politics and culture, book reviews, movie reviews, anecdotes about our friends and family and cooking. But the cooking has become a bigger thing. And now I've added some amateur photography into the mix. I started writing food articles, blurbs and recipes for our local county newspaper, The Lancaster News, about a month ago and now the cooking that has always been a big part of my life as a hobby is morphing into a bit of a job. Actually writing and photographing it has become more job-like. The actual cooking is still fun enough to feel more like hobby. I've asked the paper if I can post the stuff I write for them on this blog and am waiting for a response. But even if they say no, I'll still have plenty of stuff to put on here. I hope. I just hope I don't run out of stuff to say on Gone to Carolina.