Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Leek and Blue Potato Soup

This is the last post for this September.
It has been a beautiful month. I thought
we should end with one more blue note.

Take two onions and chop them up.
Chop up 2 or 3 leeks. Sweat them
in 3 tablespoons of butter.

Chop up about 4 or so medium potatoes.

Add them to the leeks and onions. Put in a teaspoon of salt.
Add enough water to cover and cook until the potatoes
are tender.

Add about 2 cups of milk and 2 tablespoons of butter.
Taste for salt and pepper.

Sour Cherry Baklava

Just a brief blog today. I got this wonderful
sour cherry pastry from a bakery in NY Gulluoglu.
It's on 52nd and 2nd. They have all kinds of baklava
as well as savory foods too. Supposedly the baklava
is flown over from Istanbul and it comes from
the largest baklava producer in Turkey.
Who knows! But what I got was delicious.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Comfort me with apples - apple dumplings

It's fall now and apple season.
This recipe is adapted from Bill Neal's
Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie.
This is an excellent cookbook. Full of all kinds of essential
recipes for baked goods, things like
biscuits waffles and all kinds of Southern goodies.

Make a recipe for pie dough. I use 2 cups of flour
2/3 cup cold butter and 6 tablespoons cold water.

Syrup: 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
4 cinnamon sticks

Boil together for five minutes set aside.

Pare and core 6 small baking apples.
Take 6 tablespoons lightly packed brown sugar
and 6 tablespoons butter and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and mix together.

Roll out pie dough to a 7-inch square. Stuff each
apple with butter mixture. Wrap the dough around it sealing
it nicely. Put in a covered baking dish. Pour syrup over the
apples. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 F.

The sauce is wonderfully spicy and thick and caremelized.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cranberry Beans

Just a quick blog today.
Its fall now and cranberry beans are out.
Aren't they beautiful? I shell
them and cook them in a bit of
water with some savory and salt.
They lose a bit of their color
but they gain an incredible fragrance.

Here is my own private hill of beans. On top of
it is some of my own savory that I grew all by myself.

They kind of make you think of that poem
by Gerard Manly Hopkins about
praise be to God for dappled things...
Oh darn, now I have to go find the poem.

Pied Beauty
By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Blue Cornbread Sticks & Blue Fried Potatoes

And yes we have even more blue potatoes coming up.
I boil the potatoes until they are tender.
I fry up some bacon. Then I fry onions in some
bacon fat till they are nice and soft.
Brown the potatoes in some bacon fat.
Cook green beans till tender. Put them all together
and heat up and salt and pepper. Lots of pepper
please. Now you are a for real Southerner.

As far as corn bread goes my grandmother taught
me how to make cornbread. Please don't put
any sugar in cornbread it's just wrong.
You need a cast iron frying pan or
a cast iron corn stick mold pan.
When you go to preheat your oven
put the pan in the oven. To get a good crust
the pan must be very hot.

This recipe comes from The Joy of Cooking.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. It must really be hot.
Sift together 1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking-soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cornmeal (I used blue)

Combine and beat:
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or yogurt
2 eggs
3 to 4 tablespoons bacon drippings

Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients with a few swift strokes.

Put some bacon grease in the preheated pan
and then add the batter.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blue Potato Chips

Continuing with our blue theme...
Blue Potato Chips

OK. Get some more of those nice
blue potatoes from the farmer's market.
Slice paper thin with a mandoline.

Soak in ice water for a little while.

Dry on paper towels.

Deep fry till nice and crispy.

And there you go.

Don't forget to salt them nicely.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blue Polenta

Yes, everything HAS to be blue this month!!!
Making polenta is a very good thing to do if you
are a nervous type. Its a form of meditation.
Take 8 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of water
and bring it to a boil.
Take two cups of blue (or any other cornmeal)
and add slowly to the boiling water.
Whisk until smooth. Continue cooking polenta
over a low heat for 40 minutes stirring most of the

You can either eat it now or pour it into a buttered
cookie sheet and let it cool. When it is cool cut it into
squares and fry on both
sides until nice and crispy. You can also
cut it into nice little scalloped edged circles with
a biscuit cutter.

I admit that it looks a lot like fried spam.
This is a very inexpensive and healthy dish.
Cornmeal is a whole grain.

Blue Mashed Potatoes

I think I understand now why September's birthstone is
sapphire: everything is a clear blue in September.
To celebrate we've been trying to cook anything
we can find that's blue.
Here again are those blue potatoes from
the Farmer's Market.

I like to rice my potatoes when I mash them.
I just use a little of the water the potatoes were
cooked in and some milk and salt and a few
tablespoons of butter. These potatoes
really are the best. The color is weird but
they are the most potatoey potatoes around.

We had some pork tenderloin and green beans with
onions and bacon, a Southern staple.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blue Pommes Anna

We get these fabulous blue potatoes at the
Farmer's Market. They may look funny but
they taste great. They taste very potatoey.
For the pommes anna it is nice to have
a special copper pan. My husband gave me this
years ago. Its probably worth a fortune now.

Line a pommes anna pan with parchment paper.
Slice the potatoes very thin on a mandoline.
You can do it by hand but a mandoline is best.

Melt some butter in the bottom of your pan.
Start layering potatoes putting butter and salt
and pepper between layers. Do this till the pan is
about 3/4 full. Put the pommes anna lid on the pan.
Bake at 400 F for about an hour.
When done, flip over the pan and... Voila!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Grape Sorbet

You can't get much easier than this.
Take two pounds of concord grapes and
remove them from their stems.
Put them in a blender and puree
one pound at a time. Put puree through
a sieve to remove skins and pips.
Add 3/4 cup sugar to the puree.
Chill several hours. Freeze in an ice cream maker.

Its fun to watch the sugar disolving in the puree.

The resulting sorbet is not at all icy. It's velvety.

Very pretty color too. The recipe is from Gourmet magazine.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September Birthday

For a special person's birthday we went to Mitsuwa.

View of NY on the way.

Got lots of wonderful stuff.

A lovely person bought some cupcakes
from Magnolia in NY.

Asters are of course a must!!!

And also the traditional birthday pie!!!

Balloons make things festive.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Potato Salad - For Toru Okada

Here is my entry for Autumn 2009 Novel Food.

Poor Mr. Wind-up Bird. He usually eats potato salad
when things go wrong. The first time
we see him eating potato salad his wife has left him.

There was nothing more for me to do.
I went to the kitchen, filled the kettle, and lit the gas.
When the water boiled, I made coffee
and sat at the kitchen table to take a sip. Then I
made toast and ate some potato salad from the refrigerator.
This was the first time in years that I had eaten breakfast alone.
Come to think of it, aside from a single business trip, we
had never once missed breakfast together in all the time since our marriage.
We had often missed lunch, and sometimes even dinner, but never
breakfast: it was almost a ritual for us. No matter how late
we might go to bed, we would always get up early enough
to fix a proper morning meal and take the time to enjoy it together.

But that morning Kumiko was gone. I drank my coffee and ate my
toast alone, in silence. An empty chair was all I had to look at...

The coffee seemed to have a soapy taste. I couldn't quite believe it.
Shortly after the first sip, I sensed an unpleasant aftertaste. I wondered if my
feelings were playing tricks on me, but the second sip had the same taste.
I emptied the cup into the sink and poured myself more coffee, in a
clean cup. Again the taste of soap I couldn't imagine why. I had washed the
pot well, and there was nothing wrong with the water. But the taste--
or smell-- was unmistakable: it could only have been soap-- or possibly
moisturizing lotion. I threw out all the coffee in the pot and started to boil some
more water, but it just wasn't worth the trouble. I filled a cup with water
from the tap and drank that instead. I really didn't want coffee all that much

Later on Mr. Wind-up Bird spends about
three days down at the bottom of a dry well.
It's a long story as to why he's down there.
But when he comes up he's not hungry at first
even though he only ate a few crackers and lemon
drops while he was in the well.

Later on...

Then I opened a beer, took tomato and
lettuce from the refrigerator, and made a salad. Once I had eaten that,
I began to feel some desire for food, so I took out some potato salad, spread it between two pieces of bread, and ate it. I looked at the clock only once.
How many hours had I been down in the well?
But just thinking about time made my head throb. No, I did not want to think
about time. That was one thing I most wanted to avoid thinking about now.

OK Mr. Okada, aka Mr. Wind-up Bird, here's some potato salad I made for you. You boil a few potatoes. Cut them up, add some celery and some finely chopped onion. Dress lightly with mayonnaise and some yellow mustard. Decorate with green pepper slices and green stuffed olives.Give it a little dusting of paprika.

That's how my mother made potato salad and I don't know any body who makes it better. I hope this dish gives you some measure of comfort.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Club Sandwich

Club sandwiches are just about my favorite.
When I was growing up and we happened
to be at a restaurant for lunch a club sandwich
was a little luxury. I like the way they are divided
in four pieces and you work your way through them
slowly. Its really a BLT with turkey too using 3 pieces of bread.
The best club sandwich I ever had was at the Dragonfly.
Its a restaurant on a golf course in Woodstock, NY next to a
little stream. They served theirs with avocado
and blue french fries. A total knock out.

I guess a humble diner grilled cheese
is my most memorable sandwich.
Its cut on a diagonal served with a
handful of potato chips and a small coke
and either a couple pickle rounds or a spear.
The only problem is you need to be four
years old and alone with your dad in upstate
New York to really appreciate it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Molasses Cookies

These cookies are soft and cakey. They are what
you hope gingerbread would taste like.
This recipe comes from a Crabtree and Evelyn cookbook.
I don't know the exact name because I copied the
recipe from it.

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root

Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon,
and ground ginger.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together 1/2 cup
of the sugar and the butter until light and fluffy.
Add molasses, egg, and ginger root and beat until light.
Gradually add the flour, stirring until well blended.
Cover the dough and chill for at least an hour.

Form dough into 1-inch ball. Roll the balls in the
remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Bake at 350 F until the
tops are rounded and crinkled and cookies are just beginning
to color, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to
wire racks to cool. Store in a tightly covered container.