Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

Riverside Farm sweet potatoes made this bread pudding velvety and luscious!

Break out the bourbon -- this is breakfast food for champions!

Okay, maybe it's not breakfast food for all champions, but consider it tried and true for the two occupants in this house who needed sustenance before heading out to watch a grandson's early hockey game (husband) and plant an entire braid of Wild Miller's garlic (moi).  Hot out of the oven (albeit briefly cooled) and drizzled with a pecan praline sauce (enter bourbon), the custard for this tasty pudding was light and creamy.  Be sure to pick up some sweet potatoes at the next winter farmers' market, and if you're in or around Kittery, stop by Beach Pea Bakery and grab a French baguette!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Classic holiday appies and aperitifs

Filling for 1/2 doz. eggs: all yolks, bit of mayo, relish that has had liquid drained, chopped ripe olives (any type, or combo of several; save pimento for garnish), bit of prepared mustard (go with something textural, like whole grain, english pub mustard), s & p, and any other seasoning that moves you.  Forget using *anything* inedible as bedding for your finished eggs.  Here, Touching Earth's microgreens were a perfect element for plating up these delicious, pop-the-whole-thing-in-your-mouth deviled eggs.  :)
"Fresh" eggs are actually not the best eggs to use for deviled eggs.  Be sure to use older eggs (eggs keep for weeks if properly stored in the fridge) if you want to end up with smooth whites for your presentation.  With fresher eggs, the shell and its membrane are difficult to pull off the cooked albumin, resulting in less-than-favorable chunky whites.

Herbed butter and Sunnyfield Bakery's butternut squash bread --the only way to fly for this cold-smoked Coho salmon!  Herbs used for the butter included chervil (lots!), tarragon, parlsey and chives.  Yum.
I refuse to buy farmed salmon for many reasons, the least of which is its bland flavor.  With native stocks of wild salmon protected uunder the Endangered Species Act, I break the rule of localness and opt for wild salmon harvested from waters on the west coast--specifically those caught via sustainable methods, and the sales of which sustain communities that depend on healthy rivers and fish.  Many brands sell only farmed fish.  Look for those who procure wild salmon, particularly from one-line, one-hook methods.

Visit Ceres Street Wine Merchants for your holiday bubbles and stills!  David is awesomely knowledgeable and friendly (and a punny guy), and the atmosphere of his store is nostalgic and quaint.  You'll love it.  For our Thanksgiving nibbles we highly enjoyed this bottle of Moncontour's dry rosé that he recommended.  He did us right with its versatility; it was perfect with the salmon.

Oysters.  Learn how to shuck them properly, i.e. do not pop their hinges while holding them under running water.  I almost popped the big one when a friend did so with oysters they bought for serving on the half-shell.  Invest in a proper oyster knife or choose your best paring knife--one with a super rigid blade, watch a fishmonger or as many online videos as it takes, and then give it a go.  These local water quality improvers found their demise in a batch of classic New England oyster and bacon stuffing (thank you once again, New Roots, for that awesome jowl bacon). 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Best Cranberry Sauce

Gorgeous berries from Osprey Cove Organic (& Stone Wall Farm) located in Madbury .  Thanks Charlie and Ann!
Please Pick More!!
Pick up a bottle of delicious ruby port (try to get your hands on Jewell Towne's) and pour a cup of it into a pot, then ransack your cubbard for a cup of sugar, stick of cinnamon, and a star of anise.  That's all you need to whip up a 20-minute batch of cranberry sauce that'll knock your Aunt Jane's socks off. Okay, you'll need a bunch (shoot for 12ozs.) of cranberries, too.  And an Aunt Jane, I guess.

Put all into a pot, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes until thickened and syrupy.  Careful!  Sugar in liquid loves to boil over.  Add orange zest at the very end if you feel Martha-ry.  The finished product will be gel-like from all the pectin in the berries.  This little concoction will not disappoint on any fall/winter table.  Promise!  Super delicious.