heliopsis: yellow daisy (mouse cake)
I had the idea to make this a couple years ago, and I have made various versions of it over the years. I think I finally got it right yesterday, so I want to write down the recipe for posterity. The cake has already added to my posteriority.

The basic idea is to make an upside-down cake (which is usually a cloying, canned-pineapple and maraschino cherry thing) using fresh apples and gingerbread. The tricky part is that fresh apples are inherently rigid, so they don't fill the bottom of the pan as neatly as canned pineapple rings. I solved that problem this time by squashing the apple slices with my hands so that they broke and squished together, filling the pan while still retaining individuality. And I unmolded the cake as soon as it came out of the oven, which was key to getting a tidy top.

Herewith, the recipe: )

Serve it warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Since you used whole wheat flour and fresh apples, you can have the leftovers for breakfast without guilt.
heliopsis: yellow daisy (Default)
I picked up my farm share tonight, which included a lovely bunch of spring onions. But I hadn't touched the spring onions from last week's farm share, and I still had one from the week before that. So I decided to carmelize last week's and this week's onions. In bacon fat, since I happened to have some on hand. I also have a lot of cherry tomatoes from the plants I planted this spring, and I wanted to use them. And there was a head of limp escarole left over from last week's farm share as well. I put the escarole to soak in water to revive it, picked a quart of tomatoes and sliced the onions. Heated a couple tablespoons of bacon fat in a sauté pan, and threw in the onions. I neglected them for a bit and they got too brown, but I resumed stirring and they gradually got soft and nicely browned. I threw in a couple pinches of salt somewhere along the way. Then I threw in a good handful of cherry tomatoes and a splash of cooking marsala to deglaze the pan, and put the lid on to simmer.

By now the escarole was a bit crisper, so I finished washing it and put half of it in with the vegetables in the pan to braise. I also had some leftover grilled pork chops, so I sliced those thin and tossed the meat in with the vegetables to warm up.

After a few minutes, the escarole was limp and the tomatoes were nearly sauce. The pork was heated through, so I tasted the juice in the pan.

It was delicious. The sweetness of the onions with the acidity of the onions and the meatiness of the pork had created something much better than I had dared hope. Now, I was hungry, so of course it tasted good; but often my improvisations are merely adequate. This was good. It would have been better with a more stewed meat, the pork chop got a little tough and overcooked, but I was very satisfied with it.
heliopsis: yellow daisy (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] muffyjo joined me for breakfast. I made raised waffles, which I had not done in a long time. They were as yummy as ever:

Recipe )

The waffles are light, crispy and deliciously yeasty. After breakfast, we went up to Smolak Farms in North Andover to pick peaches. We met [livejournal.com profile] lillibet, [livejournal.com profile] jason237 and [livejournal.com profile] daily_alice there and started off picking raspberries. Picking your own fruit is no way to save money; they were charging $6/pint for raspberries--which is less expensive than in a supermarket, to be sure, but you certainly wouldn't want to get enough raspberries to make jam that way. The berries were plentiful, though, and lovely.

Then we raided their heirloom tomato patch, and went to look for peaches.

The peaches were disappointing this year. I suspect that they must have had pickers go through and collect all the ripe ones, because there was fruit on the trees, but every peach was green. I picked a few, but nothing like the numbers I wanted--and nothing like the quantity I usually get, which is enough to make me despair for my sanity.

We took [livejournal.com profile] daily_alice to the playground/petting zoo, and then we went home. The company was lovely, but I was a bit disappointed in the farm this visit. I might make another trip early on a Saturday morning to see if I can get some ripe peaches. I'll let the ones I picked ripen, and I suspect I'll get some good peaches out of it, but it wasn't the voluptuous experience I have had in the past.

Right now, I'm experimenting with the "dehydrate" setting on my oven. I bought a bunch of organic prune plums at a farmer's market on Monday, and I had some table grapes that were past their prime, so I'm seeing how much effort it takes to make prunes and raisins. Making raisins is definitely a silly thing to do, since raisins are much cheaper than grapes; but prunes are surprisingly expensive. I think the main reason for drying my own fruit is that I can use ascorbic acid to keep them from turning brown, rather than sulfur dioxide. We'll see how it works...
heliopsis: yellow daisy (Default)
I have a Thanksgiving tradition of Brussels sprouts gratin, and I have been asked for the recipe a few times. I thought I had posted it, but I can't find any evidence of having done so. Herewith, then, the recipe. It came from a Thanksgiving cookbook that a good friend of mine owned, so it's not some old family secret. But I've adjusted the recipe in a number of ways such that it is now very much my own.
lengthy culinary details hidden from the casual reader. )

Et Voilà!

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