Saturday, September 24, 2011

Salsa secrets!

Tonight's salsa included yellow pear tomatoes, pickling cukes, Jimmy Nardello peppers, scallion, jalapeno pepper, sweet onion, cilantro, garlic scape pesto, lime juice, olive oil, a hint of agave nectar and white vinegar, and salt.  Let meld for at least 20 minutes before diving in.  And you will want to dive in!

My most successful salsas have these three things going for them:
  1. Heat needs sweet.  A touch of agave nectar or honey helps balance the heat from a healthy jalapeno pepper.
  2. Acid is a fresh salsa's best friend.  I use both fresh lime juice AND a splash of white vinegar.  While I have more than seven kinds of vinegar in my cubbard, white vinegar is perfect for the job.  It doesn't override the flavors of the fruits and veggies.  Just a hint...a teaspoon for a bowl that includes three or four tomatoes and all the other goodies.
  3. The real pièce de résistance is a big dollop of my own garlic scape pesto--with or without the additon of cheese that is normally found in pesto.  In this case, my scape pesto consisted of three ingredients: scapes, pine nuts and evoo.  Try adding a dollop of any pesto--I bet a popular brand of cilantro pesto would be delicious! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

The BEST soup for a cold!

It seems lots of people have come down with a head cold this past week!  Thanks to those of you who helped spread it our way.  Being the good person that I am, I'll give you my antidote: a light and refreshing, yet dark and rich, chicken tortilla soup.  An elixir, if you will.  With a bit of chili for aiding the nasal passages, lime for counteracting congestion, and some chard for its superb phytonutrient, anti-inflammatory and antioxident properties, this tortilla soup definitely has what any doctor could order.  Store bought stock?  Blech!  It just isn't the same.  Make your own stock -- it's easy to do, much healthier for you, way tastier, and it can be done in an hour, tops!

Tips and hints are in green.

  • 1 whole chicken, ~3-4lbs, rinsed
  • flavors: 1 med. onion, handful of leek greens, 2-3 carrots, 2 celery stalks...all coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • tbsp coriander seeds
  • tbsp cumin seeds
  • tsp peppercorns
  • sprigs of parsley, thyme...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Butternut Risotto with Pistachio, Sage, Celery and Bacon

Jamie Oliver is a great chef.  He intuitively knows what makes a great meal great: good ingredients from trusted sources, time, passion, and loved ones around the table.  Heritage breed, pasture-raised bacon helps, too.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Heirloom Tomato and Corn Stew w/ Blackened Chicken

There could be several names for this concoction: "southwestern stew" (if you added chili and cilantro), "chicken and corn stew" (if you really want chicken to take the show), "kitchen sink soup" (for the surplus of farmstand veggies, and if you added stock), or even, simply, "vegetable stew."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Homemade Fish and Chips

Fresh Gulf of Maine, beer-battered haddock and scallops served with homemade slaw (our own carrots; cabbages from Barker's Farm) and chips (heirloom spuds from Barker's).  The only way to fly.  Peanut oil is best.

Not all batters are created equal.  Too much flour, you wind up with pasty fish.  Too much liquid, and you wind up with a thin, baseless crust.  For the best crust and flavor, use good beer, a couple o' good secrets, and pay heed to process.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Heirloom tomato sauce with lemon and cinnamon basil

This was definitely one of the best tomato sauces ever tasted in this house.  Ripe, Great White heirloom fruits made for a superb, low-acid, creamy sauce. There are a number of heirloom "white" tomatoes; 'Great White' is the best according to employee-owned 'Johnny Selected Seeds' out of Winslow, ME.  The fruit is meaty with few seeds, which makes for easy saucing.  Don't be fooled by its mild flavor when eating raw; cooked, these babies turn out one heck of a sauce.

For this recipe, we used ~4 lbs of tomatoes.  'Great White' is prolific; we got lots from our two plants!

Begin with 3-5 lbs of your favorite tomato...