Thursday, August 20, 2009

Baked Chiles rellenos with cheese, oil-cured tomatoes and scallion, and squash blossoms stuffed with tomato, parmesan and crumbs with tomatillo salsa.

Monday August 17

With that title, who needs a recipe?
We wanted to do some kind of big ass fry-up of the superabundance of squash blossoms (I know, your heart bleeds for us) and we also wanted to do something different with the four poblanos we had bought on Saturday and roasted the previous night.
So a typical H&B production: found a suggestion somewhere (can't find it again) of making a bread crumb stuffing (as if for mushrooms) and then baking the buggers. Some onion sauteed in olive oil, then the chopped tomatoes, a little oregano, then the last of the bread crumbs and lots of parmesan to bind. Meanwhile Barbara grated up a mess of Colby cheese, some sun-dried tomatoes, etc. as if for the usual rellenos in batter, but we just put everything on a backing tray, with a little more oil and into the oven at the people's temperature for the people's time (in this case, half an hour). Then served with the last of the tomatillo salsa.
Pretty darn nice: the blossoms came out nice and crisp, almost crackly, and the rellenos were a welcome change.

Stir fry pork with scallions

Sunday August 16

Among Mark (I went to Spain with Gwenth Paltrow) Bittman's "thousand best recipes": But in fact rather plain, so we marinated the pork in the usual way, with soy and Shao Xing wine and a pinch of sugar. Since scallions cook rather fast, we added them after the meat had been stir-fried, as directed. But they also cook down enormously, so even though we had used two bunches instead of Bittman's one, we should have used three. Anointed with a touch of sesame oil at the end, it still tasted pretty good.

Roast Lamb with mustard coating, roast carrots, onions, shallots and potatoes

Saturday August 15

A buy on lamb at Kroger's (the nice sausage guys in Findley Market) led to a standard roast. Holt boned it out, saved a rolled roast for stuffing later, plus the straggley bits for a stoooo. Painted it with Julia Child's mustard coating, and tossed in a mess o' vedge. Oddly satisfying with on a hot summer's night.

Leftover chicken with bok choy and onions

Friday August 14

Pretty much as it says. Did the bok choy (the last probably of this year) stems chopped, with a little garlic and onions, then a chiffonade of the leaves. Added the leftover Shabbat chicken and a tiny bit of chicken broth. Covered, and let the chicken reheat. About 25 minutes from start to finish.

Ratatouille with Pattypan Squash and Yellow Tomatoes

Thursday August 13

We being taken over by squash and though we nip a lot of them in the bud, we still have more. So a tasty rat was in order, with the last eggplant from the market, and lots of yellow heirloom tomatoes.

Venison Medallions with Potato Galettes

Wednesday August 12

We still had some of the lovely blackberries left, and Holt had a vision of venison. This was a meal largely furnished by and dedicated to our brother-in-law, David Kelley. A mighty Nimrod (and we mean that in only the nicest way) he gave us both the Paradigm wine but also the back strap, which somewhat to our surprise was not the whole loin but pieces. Not to worry, we just dusted them with salt and pepper, pan fried them (instead of roasting it), deglazed with a dollop of balsamic vinegar, then added a few berries to the sauce, smashed them and then added the rest whole. Served over the wonderfully easy potato galettes.
For a little side dish, we had just a few nice tomatoes and squash from the garden. Holt reduced some more balsamic vinegar in his saucier (Holt loves his saucier and the giver thereof). He then had the great idea of hotting up the squash a little by placing them in the microwave for 30 seconds. They exploded rather neatly in half, precisely as he had always intended.

Spaghetta alla Norma

Tuesday August 11

A buy on eggplants led to a vague memory of something nice to do with them. And the blog reveals its helpfulness in recalling the last time we did this splendid recipe from Jamie Oliver.

Swordfish steaks with tomatillo pineapple salsa

Monday August 10

We had tomatillos, we had pineapple, both bought on spec. What to do with them? Found this nice recipe on Epicurious. The recipe calls for an avocado; we didn't have an avocado, so we didn't put in an avocado. Basically a standard grinded up tomatillo salsa (infinitely flexible) with a little dash of chile, cilantro, some onion, but sweetened with some chopped pineapple. Made a nice play of flavors with the swordfish stakes.

Spanish Potato Salad

Sunday August 9

A good thing to prepare on the Saturday before. Much as the last time.
Then for desert: fresh blackberries (from Thistlehair Farms) with a little lemon curd at the bottom.

Chicken Breasts with Leeks and Mushrooms

Saturday August 8
Chicken Breasts with Leeks and Mushrooms
A nice fresh dead chicken from Findley Market (the egg guys on the left just before you enter the shed). About $3.50 a lub, but well worth it. Our favorite thing with chicken is poulet Celestine, but a change of pace. So we broke down the chicken into breasts, thighs, wings, drumsticks (back, etc. into the bone bag in the fridge). So sautéed Mr. Chicken in gobs of butter, sprinkled with thyme and tarragon (would have been even better with the herbs under the skin), added a mess of sliced leeks (also from the market), then mushrooms, cut into ½ in slices. Only about a teaspoon of wine, since the ‘shrooms give off enough. Cover, and when done (20 minutes), remove the chicken, add a glug of cream, cook down a bit and put back the breasts (we saved the other pieces for another meal).
This was a wonderfully moist and tasty bird.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Penne Carbonara

Friday August 7

The classic, but the local free-range eggs have yolks the color of marigolds and the egg-cheese-pepper mix needed just a dollop of creme to thin it.

Squash blossoms - again?

Thursday August 6

Ah, but this time stuffed with the herbed cream-cheese mixture plus some goat cheese. A tasty combo, and using the pastry tube made stuffing the flowers a snap.

And here's a kitchen action shot:

Cold pork - again?

Wednesday August 5

Ah, but this time with Barbara's prize-winning (OK it was 2nd prize) cranberry chutney and tomatoes and basil. And for starters: cold melon yin-yang soup.

Steak n Squash

Tuesday August 4
T-bone steaks (IGA cuts them too thin to do anything but pan fry) with a summer vegetable ragout, featuring garden pattypans and little tomatoes.

Transcendent Leftovers

Monday August 3

See Saturday's Librarians' dinner for the pork tonnato and a lovely tomato and feta salad.

Transcendent Chowder

Sunday August 2

This is close to our usual but used bacon, the sweet silver queen corn we got from the farmers and boiled up yesterday, and the truly transcendent item, Holt's home-smoked salmon from last week.

Librarians' Dinner

Saturday August 1

We wanted to have the ever-helpful librarians (past: Jean) and present (Mike and Jacquie) with attendant spice (Donald and Susan) over for a cool summer dinner.

The appetizers were simple: various bowls of pecans, the “festive” olives from Dean's, sungold cherry tomatoes from our garden. The only made-up things were little cucumber discs topped with herbed (lemon thyme, lemon balm, chives) cream cheese and Holt-smoked salmon from last Saturday.

The center piece was a roast pork (done the night before, and don’t let anybody fool you: pork is done at 130-35º and anything higher is dry) with a tonnato sauce (made with the home-made mayo from the BLTs).

The farmers' market had more gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, which we decked out with basil and garnished with feta cheese dressed with oil and lemon thyme. Plus a lettuce salad, with our last garden radicchio.

Drinks were the Four Vines Naked Chardonnay, and fuzzy water (sometimes all over the table).

For dessert: our OZ friend the friand, as here served with a puddle of fresh raspberry coulis, marbled with cream, and adorned with Thistlehair Farm blackberries.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Nacho Mama

Friday July 31

It was Friday, which means that our energy, both mental and physical, was low. Also, that we had to clean the week's leftovers out of the fridge before doing the big market run tomorrow. So we rummaged for some old tortilla chips (carefully tasting them to make sure they were still good), and laid them out on two oven-safe plates. We made a salsa out of our last heirloom tomato, onion, one little hot numex chile and the mosquito-bedeviled pickings of coriander from the garden, and scattered it on the chips, then topped that with the leftover meat from our stuffed-baby-squash-blossoms from Tuesday (which, as both our readers remember, was itself made of leftovers from Saturday). Then we hid both piles of trash under a haystack of grated colby cheese (no, not Velveeta - we haven't fallen so low just yet) and put them under the broiler until the cheese melted.
With a couple of beers, it wasn't bad. But there are few things that are bad with a couple of beers.

Tuna Steaks and Bok Choy Provençal

Thursday July 30

We still have a few bok choy from the garden, but they get tougher as the summer goes on. Also, one gets a little tired of the Asian-stir-fry theme. So this recipe from last month's Gourmet, which treats bok choy just like swiss chard, was a real find.

Once the vegetables were done and simmering, we threw two thick tuna steaks (defrosted from Trader Joe's) on the grill. We now flip them every minute, because they're just like beef steaks and can get overdone if you leave them even half a minute too long. But a careful admixture of instant-read thermometer and cut-peek-and-cheat will get you a lovely rare steak to slather with fragrant summer vedge.

Spaghetti with Artichokes and Prosciutto

Wednesday July 29

If you have a big jar of artichoke hearts from Costco, and some leftover prosciutto (which we surprisingly often do), here's a quick pasta. Originally we were going to do this Artichoke-Fennel-Sauce-with-Prosciutto, which sounded nice: a raw, grated vedge sauce, but when we put the farmers' market fennel bulbs, which were the Florentine type that Barbara grew last year, through the grater, they came out looking and tasting like mohair.
So we put together everything else (except the fennel seeds) as the recipe directs, and it was great.

Stuffed Baby Squash and Blossoms (plus veal stock)

Tuesday July 28

Back on Saturday, when Holt was busy kneading bread and whipping mayonnaise, Barbara decided to burrow through the freezer for all the veal bones we had saved to make a new batch of veal stock, because we were CLEAN OUT OF IT (the horror!).
We cook this the Julia Child Way to Cook way (to cook), by browning the bones (even frozen ones) with chopped celery, carrots, and onions in a 400-degree oven, then deglazing the pan, putting it all in a pot with water to cover, and simmering AT A VERY SLOW BUBBLE for 3-4 hours. But what nobody else says is that at the end, you can not only strain, chill, skim and freeze the broth, you can pick over the bones and get quite a bit of edible meat and vedge.
So we ran the “mystery meat” through the food-chopper with some shredded cheese, and stuffed it into the latest pickings from our garden: squash blossoms with the tiny yellow pattypan squashes now attached. We dipped them in our new experimental masa batter, as we did last Wednesday, but it didn't stick too well, so from now on we'll go back to Holt's brilliant whipped-eggwhite batter.

Still, they looked so pretty on their yellow-tomato, red-pepper, and red-onion pico de gallo. And they tasted damned fine too.

Linguine with Smoked Tomato Sauce

Monday July 27

We did this a couple of years ago, when we had just smoked a bluefish and the smoker still had plenty of oomph: we halve a bunch of tomatoes (in this case, I think they were Rutgers), roll them in a little oil, and plop them, cut side up, into the smoker. And since Barbara saves and dries all her herb clippings, we were able to use basil stalks to provide the perfect herb smoke.
We didn't refrigerate them after smoking, just let them sit out in oil overnight. So the next day, all we had to do was whiz them up in the robot-coupe, throw them in a bowl with a couple of torn-up fresh basil leaves, pour hot linguine in, and mix. It's true Ohio ambrosia.

Garden Dinner with Julie

Sunday July 26

When you have a cool evening in July in Cincinnati, it behooves you (did I ever think I'd write that word?) to dine outside on the patio, overlooking the garden from which you picked the produce you are about to eat. It also inspired Holt to fire up the smoker and try to smoke a side of salmon, more or less as HERE.

We adapted it to what we saw Steve Raichlen actually do on TV, by letting it marinate all day. And instead of sawdust, we used dried herb clippings from the garden, so the smoke savored of sage and thyme. It took about 45 minutes, but we whiled away the thyme drinking white wine (Julie brought a nice New Zealand sauvignon blanc) and eating bowls of heirloom tomato gazpacho (traditional type, with cucumber and red onion dice and a slug of sherry vinegar).
Results were great: firm and savory smoked fish, delicious eaten warm (as we did) or cold (as we did later). Teamed with the aforesaid garden produce: last of the sugar snap peas and first of the baby pattypans.
Our strawberry plants provide about one strawberry a week, and we have to fight the birds for that. So dessert was South Carolina peaches from Madison's.

Locavore BLTs

Saturday July 25

Findlay Market is finally getting some real summer produce in, though we are thankful for this cool July. So with our first Indiana melon (smuggled across the border at colossal expense), we made a simple plate of prosciutto e melone, by draping slices of Canadian prosciutto across. (Since we started living in St. Catharines, we count Canada as part of our locality. So sue us.)
The Farmers' Market also provided some wondrous heirloom tomatoes, inspiring us to make amazing BLTs out of: fresh Holt-baked brown bread, Holt-made mayonnaise, Barbara-grown-and-picked-in-the-mosquito-swarmed-garden lettuce, and bacon from... some pig. (It's been in our freezer for a year, does that make it local? No? So sue us.)

Sausage and Peppers and Onions

Friday July 24

Our standard.
Just like the Feast of San Gennaro, except that the sausages were Napas, and we had yellow and red peppers from Findlay Market.


Thursday July 23
Haven't a clue.
This shows the danger of waiting even a day to jot down what we did. Post more often, Holt and Barbara!