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]

24 July 2007

a quick project; a new project; cauliflower

Today I bought a bunch of zucchini and made a zucchini-marmalade bread. Zucchini, orange marmalade and lots of walnuts made for a moist, dense bread. It's a Tartine recipe, from the book that M. gave me for my birthday last year...

...And, I started making pickles. I bought a dozen small cucumbers (they at least look like pickling types) at a farm stand on Hadley. I've yet to find a good pickle crock, so I used a two-liter jar with a locking lid (I'll save the lid for when I put them back in the fridge).

I made pickles back when I was canning, but those were pickled in vinegar. They did come out quite well, although more than one clove in a pint jar is way too much. Even one clove made for a strong pickle -- I liked it moderation (only 3 cans had any cloves).

This time I used the Wild Fermentation recipe. It's a real pickle, vinegar-free and preserved by lactic acid fermentation. I'm excited to see how it come out. Because the jar tapers, I couldn't fit a plate in there so there's just a weight (and grape leaves). (I'd love one of those fancy water-sealed Harsch crocks, but they start at a hundred bucks.)

Last night we have some of L.'s interns over for dinner and had mostly vegan fare: orecchiette with grilled red peppers, basil and pine nuts, a slow-cooked onion tart, mizuna-pear-walnut salad and cookies and a cake were brought. The discovery of the evening, an experiment really, was grilled cauliflower. I've roasted it, so I figured I could grill it. I seasoned it, drizzled it on olive oil, grilled it until browned and chopped it up. I grated some nutmeg on top and it was really quite incredible.

22 July 2007

raspberries, blueberries, currants and some cream.

Family function this weekend, and I got some raspberries and blueberries from a farm stand (the currants are from a bush I planted -- the robins had more than I did, actually).

The borage and nasturtium are from the garden (what's left of it -- it's still recovering from roaming house painters). Basic pastry cream (with tapioca starch, not corn), and a pâte sablée (sweet egg-based) for the crust.

And, more exciting than the post, I have a digital camera that works again.

09 July 2007

july. peas.

I saw a recipe for a pea pesto a couple of weeks ago. It had cooked, frozen peas. (Not particularly aestival). I forget what else was in it.

It's July, and I had a bunch of fresh peas, and it's hot and I wanted simplicity, so I decided to work with that. I made papardelle with 1/3 whole wheat pastry flour and 2/3 semolina. I then put 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, a half-handful of pine nuts, maybe 2 cups of shelled raw peas, some grapeseed oil and some parsley.

The result was almost fluorescent green and certainly very delicious. Really really really good. And it'd be quick if I hadn't tried to make hand-cut pasta by hand on a hot, humid day. (It got fickle and a little sticky...)

(Now I need to figure out what to do with purple kohlrabi...)

01 July 2007

two desserts.

During the height of strawberry season, I made a strawberry-rhubarb tart. First, I made a pâte sablée, the sweet and made-with-eggs crust that I somehow had never bothered to make, mostly in trying to perfect the flaky crust. Next, I made a pastry cream but substituted buttermilk for the milk or cream (out of principle: I wanted a tangy cream), and tapioca flour for cornstarch (out of necessity: I bought a whole box last summer for peach pie and have no cornstarch at home). Right as the vanilla bean-buttermilk mixture was about to separate (think of heating yogurt), I added the eggs and tapioca. The separation of the buttermilk was a first moment of doubt, the stickiness of the tapioca in the cream a second. But, once settled, the pastry cream was incredible.

Tart crust baked, cooled and filled with pastry cream, I topped it with strawberry lightly macerated in lemon juice and sugar and added one-inch lengths of rhubarb cooked in sugar until just soft.

If was really good. Really really good. I brought an 8" tart to work and it was gone (with four of us) by the end of the day.

On another note, today: Grilled nectarines. Vanilla ice cream. That after chorizo and pattypan squash grilled was really really good (I'm in love with my hibachi). Think warm peach pie without the work and crust.