31 December 2007


This morning I made orange-rye waffles with walnuts. It's based on something I made a while ago, and then re-born out of a basic recipe for waffles (with rye and whole wheat flours and zest and nuts added).

Dry ingredients: 1c. AP flour, ½c. whole wheat, ½c. rye flour, 1 t. b. powder, ½t. soda, zest of one orange and a handful (maybe a cup?) of toasted, chopped walnuts.

Wet ingredients: 3 eggs, 1½ c. buttermilk, ¼c. oil.

Topping: 3 oranges, sectioned, in maple syrup.

It was really good. The (stone ground) rye flour gave it a nice crust and texture.

29 December 2007

happy new year!

Happy new year to all.

I quit my old job. And I'm baking full time. I'm excited about 2008.


I made, among other things (mostly cookies), panforte for the holidays. The recipe was from Tartine.

I candied two quinces and four oranges worth of peel. With that, figs, zante currants, hazlenuts, almonds and pistachio nuts. Add to that coriander, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, chocolate powder and some (honestly, not a whole lot) flour. Over that is poured honey and sugar cooked to a soft-ball stage and it gets baked. It came out really incredible. Even sworn spice cake haters liked it.

23 November 2007


Cranberry-Walnut Bread — Pumpkin Pie — Parsnip — Apple Pie

Thanksgiving happened — and at my house for the first time. Went with lots of traditions: apple pie (American as... right?), turkey (fresh from Wendell, Mass.), mashed Hubbard squash, mashed turnips.

I brined the Turkey overnight with bay, ginger, peppercorns and allspice berries. It was great. Cranberry-orange relish and cooked cranberries with ginger. The parsnip pie was a new creation: half roasted, half steamed parsnip puréed with a hint of nutmeg, eggs and milk baked in an herbes de provence-laced crust. It was quite good. Almost cheesecakelike in consistency. The potatoes were one-third celeriac, and that went quite well. The dressings were of chestnuts, sourdough bread, corn muffins recycled from breakfast, apples, turkey liver, celery, onions and lots of butter. One also had sweet Italian sausage. Both were very good. The sausage was nice, but I'd say ultimately not necessary.

The pumpkin pie was had sugar pumpkin-half kabocha. Otherwise it's a Tartine recipe. The apple pie was yellow delicious apples from Outlook Farm and straightforward.

Mulled cider with cloves, allspice, cinnamon, star anise whet our appetites.

And Mom made here "Sweet Potato Puff." Dad, his mincemeat pie. Steve made his famous "Cinnamon Salad" (red hots, applesauce, Jell-O). Judi made buttery rolls.

And we all ate a lot. And they did the dishes. Success abounded.

15 November 2007


I've been thinking about parsnip pie — I'd like to make one (or some) for Thanksgiving — so I gave it a go last night. Two medium parsnips were roasted with salt and olive oil and then puréed with a clove of garlic, two eggs, milk and pepper. I baked them in small tart shells made with a sage-thyme crust.

And voilà... they were quite good. Not as cute as I'd hoped, but I thought quite delicious.

Then there was homemade pasta with sautéed purple cauliflower, purple kale and bâtons of sunchoke. Last week I made mashed sunchokes — this was a much better use of the sunchoke.

And then there was an ad hoc bosc pear crisp (we were out of apples): simple, very very good — and I tried whipping some crème fraîche that I had made and it was incredibly good. Tangy, not sugary-sweet like whipped cream. Really quite delicious.

01 November 2007


I made a braised beef of sorts in the crock pot, a sort of pot-au-feu with wine, chuck roast, parnsips and carrots. It started out like this at eight o'clock, just before work. I seared the roast and topped it with the aforementioned vegetables, onions, garlic, thyme and rosemary.

I got home just past five, reduced the broth by half and made a gravy. The vegetables were perfect and the meat fell apart just perfectly. With that I made a mash of celeriac and potatoes.

And, of course, there's bread. And wine.

all hallows' eve

"vermont sourdough"

This one has a small percent of whole wheat. My sourdough culture has been particularly healthy (I've figured some things out, like cutting down on old starter that I save), so this one rose wonderfully and in a decent amount of time (the kitchen was also very warm: we were roasting pumpkin seeds). It was a relatively wet dough, so I used the food processor for kneading (I had to do it in half-batches to not kill the motor), and both things helped the crumb out a lot. It's quite good.

23 October 2007

"sandwiches that you will like!"

I wasn't sure what to get on my tripe sandwich, so I followed suit of the woman in front of me: onions and a big hot pepper!


20 October 2007

Cheesesteak & Phở

We're in Philadelphia for the weekend. Last night I had a cheesesteak down the street that was pretty good; today I had some really good phở with flank steak, eye round steak and tripe (phở tái, nạm, sách). They warned me of the tripe, but it had a really great texture, although not much flavor (it tasted like the soup broth, mostly). No photos, just some good food.

12 October 2007


Meanwhile, I've stared Hamelman's Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes and been working on my sourdough. I've been experimenting with oven moisture, among other thing. More moisture and steaming for the first few minutes really helps it rise more and get a better crust. It's a process. This one needed deeper cuts, I think. It split lower down, as you can see.


It's been a busy few weeks with a handful of highlights foodwise. I'm making mead: it just went into a carboy today. My sauerkraut came out wonderfully -- it's really quite good. I also made sauerrüben -- fermented turnips, usually, but I used rutabaga since it's a cross between cabbage and turnips. To the right is sorrel soup: sorrel, potatoes, leeks and a duck stock from that roasted duck last month. It was real good.

Then LD wanted fried eggplant. Fried eggplant reminds me of soggy eggplant and other parmaseans -- all of which trigger my gag reflex. So I salted and drained the slices and tossed them in this batter (a departure from the fish batter I made with rice flour): two egg whites beaten until stiff into which two yolks, salt and half a cup of brown rice flour are folded. I battered the slices and fried them in grapeseed and sesame oil. They were really wonderful.

I also discovered this incredible Italian rabe at the farmer's market: I have no photo of it, but to the right is a tortilla of rabe and potatoes.

And this is beautiful purple cauliflower with lentils (it really does taste better than the white stuff, it's got more depth and nuttiness. It's just roasted on a bed of lentils cooked with celeriac and carrots and leeks) :

09 October 2007

"...until the spatula becomes your third hand"

I've started baking two shifts at a local bakery -- first shift pastry, so baking muffins, cookies, scones and danish and preparing all but the latter for the next day. (2nd shift has the skills - and degree - for danish).

It can be a little grueling, but it feels really good. (My first two shifts took eleven hours, starting at 4 a.m.; they'll be more reasonable with time).

And they make some damn fine bread. So maybe I'll get some pointers on mine.

23 September 2007

tomato season

It's that time of the year when there's so much food that's fresh and local that it's overwhelming. Part of this is that you know that in a month it could be snowing.

Between this week and last I've bought and used forty pounds of plum tomatoes, twelve pounds of cabbage and all sorts of other wonderful things. The tomatoes ended up as a tomato tarte tatin (no photo! and it was the best I've made!), twenty-two pints of canned tomatoes and probably twelve or thirteen pints of sauce (we had a housewarming that involved the tatin and lots of sauce with fresh pasta and olives). Best of all, forty pounds of fresh local tomatoes for a total of $25.

Sauerkraut is fermenting in the back room in what was the best birthday present ever: a two gallon "bluebird" crock. All twelve pounds of cabbage made it in there and it's now covered in it's own brine. (I only added salt, juniper berries and caraway seeds). It doesn't taste like it's there yet, but it's only been a week.

And that delicious savoy cabbage in the photo made it into a great Deborah Madison creation: savoy cabbage sautéed with lacinato kale and white beans. Very very satisfying.

12 September 2007


I started with some water and flour and some grapes from a neighbor's yard (no yeast added!):

And now I have this:

Using a Wild Fermentation recipe, I made a starter (actually, two: I doubted the first but it has since come into its own). The first starter got foamy and yeasty so I strained the grapes (the white on grapes being naturally-occurring yeasts) and then it went dormant. I started another. I waited. I almost wondered if they had gone off as they taste(d) sour. I'm guessing that's the sour in sourdough. Then I transferred both to an open window on those warm days of last week -- and voilà! -- now I have two active starters. Sour and yeasty like a sponge for a dough. Hopefully tomorrow I'll see how they stand up to dough, rising and baking.

roast duck

Sunday I made myself a full-on Sunday dinner. I roast a duck (simply, with just sage, thyme, onion salt & pepper as seasoning -- the herbs being part of my garden-in-pots, all that's left as we just moved) and some vegetables (leeks, potatoes and rutabagas). The duck was very very good -- I roasted it following Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vol. 1. -- and I had it with a pinot noir-based gravy (easier than her stock-port reduction, frankly). The vegetables I basted with some duck fat, instead of the usual oil, and they were nicely caramelized (and the rutabaga wonderfully sweet.)

30 August 2007


The kimchi that I started at the beginning of the week is done. It's out of the crock and into the jar; it's beautiful, and delicious, and better in many ways than the bok choy version that I made (which was good and I did finish 1+ quarts in a week and a half). This is just one napa cabbage, one fresh daikon and five stout, short carrots and a handful of scallions, all from local farmer's markets. The cabbage is coarsely chopped, the daikon and carrot cut into bâtonnets (large julienne), and then there's salt, lots of ginger and garlic, anchovies and Korean dried chillis -- the latter making a huge difference, a vast improvement on fresh Thai peppers that weren't strong enough (and didn't make the kimchi that rosy red color).

26 August 2007

kimchi or pickle?

So I started with this:
And ended up with this:
Part pickle, part kimchi: I had some daikon left over from the last batch of kimchi, and a handful of Japanese cucumbers, so I thought to do a summery kimchi. Opps -- the cucumbers had gone off, and I was all prepared. I gathered a half dozen ripe lemon cukes from the garden. And there you have it. It's very tangy, I think from the sweetness of the cucumbers, and it has a nice bite. It does have pepper, a good handful of Thai peppers, but those won't turn it red. (I got some Korean pepper at Kim's Market in Hadley for a more traditional batch of kimchi with napa cabbage).

And then a few days ago I made spaghetti squash with parsley and kale from the garden and kale. That with some vegetarian bratwurst that weren't too bad. It was quite good, but even better the next next mixed with ricotta. Mnnnn.

Lastly, I've decided that natto and brown rice is even more satisfying than off-brand Cheerio's and raw milk for breakfast.

20 August 2007

natto for breakfast...

...is actually very delicious.

I had some natto the other day and found it a little bland; I think it was because it hadn't come to room temperature, as others have also noted. It was nutty and a little pungent and very crunchy and the neba-neba (the strings that connect the crunchy soy beans once they've been stirred) was sticky and coated the rice nicely. Mmnn. Towards the end I added more rice and an umeboshi for some saltiness. It worked.

Natto was originally the byproduct of fermenting soybeans in hay, which contains Bacillus subtilis, or Bacillus natto. The stuff ferments and makes this sticky mess. They so sell B. suntilis, if I ever had the ambition to make my own...

19 August 2007

squash blossoms, steak frites

I bought ten squash blossoms yesterday morning at the market -- and then stuffed them with a mixture of sorrel, ricotta and pine nuts. I beat an egg white with a pinch of salt until airy but still soft, beat in the yolk and then beat in some brown rice flour. I coated them in that and fried them until light brown. They were very very good.

Since we had the oil (grapeseed), and hadn't really had dinner (it was probably nine by this point), we wanted something fried for dinner. And I thought "steak frites" -- given, I've never cooked steak, in fact I hadn't eaten it in a very long time. But it sounded really good. We made small-cut fries, sautéed spinach and seared four portions of steak cooked from medium-rare to well-done. It felt really decadent and was really delicious. It also turned into a heated discussion of meat ethics, which seems appropriate for four one-time vegetarians eating steak.

And I finished that with my first tarte tatin of the season. Today felt like a day in September, and that was nice.

18 August 2007


After a week, the the bok choy kimchi is done. it started filling a 5-quart bowl to the brim: a head of bok choy (the kind with light green stalks), carrots, half a huge daikon, garlic, ginger and thai chilis. After brining, I barely packed it into a 2.5 quart crock. It's now about six cups, and tastes incredible. It's more gingery than hot and crunchy and has a real nice kick to it. It could be one of the most delicious things that I've made in a while.

(the partially transparent triangle is daikon,)

I thought that I was done with the pickles for a bit but they had the most perfect pickling cucumbers that I have ever seen today at the farmer's market -- I bought almost three pounds. I also got some beautiful dill flowers, three heads of which made it into the pickles (the rest in a bottle or with other pickling folks at the market... I'm not sure why one would need such a huge bunch).

15 August 2007

day 11

Day eleven and I sent the pickles to the fridge. The plump white cucumbers got soft -- one way too soft, mushy, yet with no signs of being bad per se. These had less salt than the first batch, so they're half-sour, and less garlicky (they tasted a bit better super garlicky). The small green and white ones are really good. Being wide at a larger size, the white ones get too seedy. If I use the lemon cukes in my garden they'll have to be very small, I think.

The kimchi is coming along -- slowly. It smells good, and is getting very gingery. The Thai chilis (fresh, not dried), aren't as hot as I'd have expected. They are seeded, but nonetheless I'd expect a bit more. The vegetables ones filled a five-quart bowl and now are 2/3 of a 2 quart crock.

13 August 2007

day 8; summery dinner

I'm on day 9 of this last batch of pickles. They're going a little slower and are not as flavorful as I'd have expected at this point, but they're getting along. I thought that smaller would be quicker, but it's not.

I also started a batch of kimchi! LD thinks it smells really bad. And it's only been 48 hours. It tastes mild, and I think it's going to be really good. It's got bok choy, daikon, carrots, scallions and onions as well as garlic, ginger and thai chilis. LD says that these projects will be quarantined to the basement of the new apartment. I wanted the spare bedroom to be there for such purposes, heh.

I also bought some natto the other day. We'll see how that goes.

And tonight I made potato gnocchi with pesto tonight. It was really great: the pesto was relatively coarse, which was nice: bits of parmesan melted just right, chunks of pine nuts. All that with roasted purple cauliflower: just olive oil and salt was all it needed. It's nuttier than regular cauliflower. Crunchy, warm goodness.

06 August 2007

a very massachusetts meal

Tonight was a particularly Massachusetts meal. I bought wild-caught Massachusetts bluefish and cooked it following
D.L.'s recent creation: simply dipped in brown rice flour (and he was right, it does make all the difference not using wheat flour) and served on a bed of zucchini that he told me about. (We discussed my -- until recent -- aversion to zucchini, mostly in that it's almost always overcooked and squishy). It's julienned zucchini tossed with hot olive oil and almonds: not cooked; just warmed. The zucchini was from Hadley, as well as the haricots verts that I blanched and tossed in olive oil, and then there were these incredible fingerling potatoes that I believe to have come from Deerfield. They're the Russian -- not French -- fingerlings, if I remember correctly, from Linda at the farmer's market. So creamy that it was incredible.

The the bluefish was done perfectly, rich and moist, and the vegetables complemented the fish very well, not overpowering, just there and fresh. The zucchini was just pliable enough to be twirled on a spoon like spaghetti.

05 August 2007

last day/new day

So I'm retiring the pickles that I've been making to the fridge, and started new ones yesterday with yellow and green pickles from the Northampton market. I have a real crock, about 2L in size, where I can actually use a saucer as a weight. (The glass jar had two little sauce bowls in it, but they slide down as the pickles settle/get eaten and can't stop garlic from popping up without a network of grape leaves). Same recipe, I added yellow and brown mustard seeds this time.

03 August 2007

day 10

A hardboiled egg, a tomato and a pickle for dinner.

It's day 10, and last night the pickles were half-sour dills, and quite good. I'm going to keep on going for a few more days and see how they continue as we go along.

Sorrel + ricotta + pine nuts + paramsean = this.

Throw it in the food processor, add it to fresh pasta, top it with parsley, and that's it.

(And there's wild purslane growing in the garden!)

29 July 2007

day 5.

Pickles, day 5: some cloudiness, CO2 bubbles come up when it's tapped, smells like pickles. Thinking I'll taste next week?

(and some fresh cucumbers, the first from the garden)

25 July 2007

my garden.

borage, cabbage, parsley

cucumber plants, nasturtium, lemon cucumber

basil, pickling cucumber, borage [2]