21 August 2008

soup and cheese

I have proved, once again (to myself at least), that grilled cheese and tomato soup are the ultimate food pairing. And maybe not just an ultimate comfort food, but an ultimate food. Period.

  • one onion, sliced
  • eight smallish carrots, likewise
  • a few stalks celery, chopped
  • two leeks, sliced thin
  • four or five large orange tomatoes (I used the ones with red near the top, shaped like beefsteaks), chopped into big chunks
  • four cloves garlic
Sauté the first four ingredients in olive oil and a nob of butter. Season with salt. Cook until onion starts to get some color (twenty minutes on medium-low?). Add the tomatoes and garlic. Add enough water to cover the tomatoes. Cook for half an hour or so until very soft. Pass through a food mill. Add some olive oil into the pan and cook 2tbs flour for a few minutes. Add puréed soup back to the pot and reheat. Add pepper.

Make that grilled cheese while it reheats. This is great with emmenthaler on sourdough. Nasturtiums add a nice green and peppery touch. With these tomatoes there's no need for the baking soda trick: these are a little lower in acidity as it is. So you just get pure tomato goodness. And cheese and bread, fried, make it heaven.

summer grilling.

I had a somewhat rare (excuse the pun, folks) meat craving a few nights back. I had tried some skewered grilled meatball things at a cookout a while back made of some local, mostly grass-fed beef, so I sought that out. I didn't find it, but I found another of the same description. I added chopped onion, herbes de provence, salt and pepper. I found the perfect destination for sauerrüben made almost a year ago — it is perfect for hamburgers. And they were perfect on a ciabatta roll from my bakery, with all the fixins' — all of which, save Belgian beer (Saison Dupont is, I found, incredible with burgers) and French mustard — were local. (And the pickle is from this batch.) That's what makes summer so wonderful.

13 August 2008


From all this rain and these storms, my CSA has lost ten acres of crops since July! (Today the roma tomatoes were all crushed, wooden spikes and all, as if run over by a tractor...)

It seems like a waste of a whole lot of work planting, weeding, etc. for acres to be lost. I suppose that's part of the gamble of these things. Whereas my minute garden is between two houses and protected from high winds, these storms have swept across open fields and the water has drowned multiple crops.

cantaloupe sorbet

Melon sorbet with borage flowers.

Another experiment with the ice cream maker (some friends who had one and got another as a gift passed the gift on to me).

I had two watermelons and a cantaloupe from the CSA last week. This was inspired by Jane Grigson's recipe for watermelon sorbet as her melon sherbet has egg whites and all sorts of things in it.
  • one cantaloupe, seeded and puréed
  • one star anise (maybe two next time?)
  • 1½ c. water
  • one cup sugar (I might use a bit less next time)
  • juice of one lemon
Make a syrup of the last three ingredients. Boil for ten or twenty minutes. Cool and strain out the star anise. Add to purée, cool and freeze. (This ice cream maker either moves too fact or doesn't get cool enough so I put in back in the freezer for half an hour and then turned it back on).

It's a bit sweet, but not overly. Very melony. As with the lemon kefir ice cream, I think a bit of alcohol would keep it from freezing solid. Something neutral like vodka, two tablespoons, might be good. I didn't have any either way.

12 August 2008

Lemon Kefir Ice Cream (for Marcy)

My friend Marcy sent me this recently:

Lemon Kefir Ice Cream
  • 400 ml (1 2/3 cups) kefir
  • the zest from a large organic lemon
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice
  • 130 grams (1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons) agave syrup (I used sugar)
  • a good splash of limoncello (or rum, or cachaça) (optional) (I used a bit of rum)
Makes about 1/2 liter (1/2 quart).

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Cover, refrigerate for an hour until well chilled, and churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instruct
ions. Serve with thin butter cookies, a handful of berries, and/or candied violets.

I'd be good with buttermilk as well. I added maybe 1 - 2 Tbs rum and it keeps the ice cream from freezing too hard. It's super simple, and really good. Considering the kefir was "low-fat," this didn't have that disappointing flavor and texture that most frozen yogurt has. It's very rich, and smooth, and has that nice tang of the kefir.

Garnished with miniature edible marigolds called "Lemon Gem."

09 August 2008


In my last post I started making kimchi.

Here it is:

Eating a decent amount feels quite good. It's tart, quite spicy and just wonderful. The eggplant in the kimchi keeps its texture and form, as if raw, but it looses all color, taking on the pink of the pepper and the flavor of the brine. Straight-up delicious.

And here is David, a few days ago, trying it as a condiment for sautéed cucumber, zucchini and Japanese eggplant with rice: