Archive for September, 2011

September 30, 2011

Thoughts: End of Farm Week…on the front range.

Today is the last day of our farm work in the Front Range of Colorado at Abbondanza Organic Seeds and Produce. We head out on Sunday to the North Fork Valley for 9 days of farms there. If you haven’t seen my Facebook photo posts, here is a quick recap of what we harvested.

Lettuce

Rich, showing us how to bundle Radishes.

We were professionals by the end of the row…and we still had 2 more rows after that one.

Van full of Kale

Cleaning lettuce and arugula. I can’t tell you how good farm fresh arugula smells.

Dragon carrots

Broccoli

Onions…yeah we picked over 5000 in 4 hours…hard farm life.

Fragrant Tobacco Flowers and Seeds…we harvested the seeds.

Tomato seeds from this years crop of tomatoes…ready to be dried for next years sale.

All in all, a great experience. Farmers might just work the hardest – my back and legs are feeling it.

On to another adventure for the next 9 days. I’ll be posting and tweeting as the days go on…

 

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September 29, 2011

Life Lesson: Love and Looks.

Love has nothing to do with looks, but everything to do with time, trust, and interest.

September 28, 2011

Food: Herbed Asiago Rolls.

I used to be scared of yeast. It’s pretty scary. I mean check it out sometimes.

Okay actually looking at it isn’t scary at all. For me it used to be the whole concept of getting the right temperature of the water and not killing the yeast. That was before a thermometer entered my life. Now it is finally complete!!!

Thanks to Cooking Light magazine..circa December 2009 for the inspiration.

Herbed Asiago Rolls

Yield = 12 rolls

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons honey, divided
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 cup 105 degree water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3/4 Asiago cheese, grated and divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon herbs d’  Provence
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Cooking Spray

Method:

I used my KitchenAid with a dough hook attachment to make the dough, then transferred it to a floured surface to knead for a few minutes.

1.  Dissolve 1 tablespoon honey and yeast in 3/4 cup warm water (105 degrees) in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon honey and egg. Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. Combine flour, 1/2 cheese, and next 4 ingredients (through thyme) in a bowl, stir with a whisk to combine.

2. Add flour mixture to yeast mixture, stirring (KitchenAid is doing the work here) to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic – add remaining 1/2 cup of flour in 1 tablespoon portions at a time. Place dough in large bowl coasted with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

3. Gently press two fingers into center of dough and turn over. Cover and let rise for another 1 hour or until doubled in size.

4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Gently press two fingers into center of dough and turn over – cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Quickly roll each portion into a ball. Place on sheet pan that is coated with cooking spray – rolls should be 2 inches apart. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

5. Uncover and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 18 minutes or until browned. Let cool on wire rack. Serve with warm soup…or just plain with butter!

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September 27, 2011

Life Lesson: Hiding.

You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.

-Anonymous, age 7

September 26, 2011

Food: Jumbo Yogurt and Blueberry Muffins.

Blueberries are my favorite berry.

When I’m in the mood for quick baking I turn to muffins. and I always think of blueberry muffins. Yes, I should probably be a bit more adventurous but hey, at least I know what I like.

Look at the lonely half of muffin without butter. What a shame.

Blueberries have made an appearance on this blog before, here and here.

Thanks to The Pioneer Woman for this recipe circa August 2008 -There is nothing like bringing back a recipe from 2008. I mean that was years ago.

I doctored it up a bit for the mile high city that I live in. And according to the PW herself, these are the awesome-est blueberry muffins…you be the judge.

Jumbo Yogurt and Blueberry Muffins

Yield= 1 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups minus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 heaping cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:

Preheat oven to 385 degrees.

1. In a large bowl sift flour, baking soda, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

2. In another large bowl whisk together sugar, oil, vanilla, egg, yogurt and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients and stir for 10 seconds.

3. Add blueberries, reserving 1/2 cup, to mixture and stir 3 times.

4. Add mixture to muffin pans sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining berries on top and press down lightly. Combine turbinado sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon together. Sprinkle sugar mixture over top.

5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Enjoy toasted and warm or at room temperature.

 

September 23, 2011

Food: Mint Espresso Brownies.

Brownies bring me happiness.

They are in the running for my first choice of hand-held treat – along with cookies and cupcakes.

Adding a little peppermint extract gives them just the perfect amount of mint flavor that doesn’t over power the chocolate!

Mint Espresso Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line  two 8×8 baking pans with aluminum foil and then grease the foil.

1. Melt the chocolate and butter in double boiler until the chocolate is just melted. Remove from heat and stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Set aside until it reaches room temperature.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, vanilla and peppermint extracts, salt, espresso and sugars.

3. Add the melted chocolate/butter mixture and stir to combine.

4. Stir in the sifted flour and mix until blended. Spread batter evenly into baking pans. Bake for 35 minutes.

5. Let cool, if you can be patient!

September 22, 2011

Food/Thoughts: Final Day of Farm to Table.

And the final day of being in our school’s kitchen.

Chicken Consomme with Lamb Ravoli.

Warm Roasted Mushrooms with Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Crispy Parmesan and Garlic Chips

Rocky Mountain Trout en Pappiette, Celery root, Apple and Mustard.

Vanilla Gelato with Strawberries-Balsamic and Black Pepper Chutney and  Almond Praline.

 Chef Bob asked us at lunch what were are most memorable moments in the kitchen over the last 5 months and we just sat there staring at our empty plates and at each other. I personally was thinking, how quickly the time in this organized chaos of a kitchen has passed me by. Then again doesn’t everything seem to go by so fast?!?!

September 21, 2011

Food/Thoughts: Farm to Table Cuisine: Days 3 and 4.

On Day 3 we had…

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple, Coconut and Green Curry

Check out the dinner rolls..I ate a few too many of those…

Arugula with Braesola, Grana Padano Parmegiana, Lemon and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Rabbit Saddle stuffed with Sweet Corn, Mushroom and Potato, Braised Turnips and Reduction.

Red Plum Tart Tatin with Ginger Lemongrass Ice Cream

and Day 4 we had…

Clear Gazpacho with Spicy Shrimp, Avocado, Lemon, Cucumber and Basil

Rabbit Terrine with Apricots and pecans wrapped in Zuchinni with Orange Vinaigrette

Side view of the zuchinni wrapped around the rabbit.

Crispy Striped Seabass, Spinach Gnocchi, Braised Fennel, Heirloom Tomato and Fennel Nage

Warm Peach Soup and Frozen White Chocolate Mousse with Pistachio Tuiles

and a side view of the dessert.

Our last day in the kitchen is today. Sad but exciting to see what this next month of working on farms and in restaurants will be like.

September 20, 2011

Life Lesson: Ask them.

If you don’t ask questions, you will always wonder. Question asking shows interest…and of course, there is never a dumb question. Ask away!!

September 19, 2011

Food: Roasted Brown Sugar Acorn Squash.

Okay people, this might be the easiest recipe to date on SL.

Sorry, calling you ‘people’ is slightly rude. But please listen up…actually please read this and please make this. You will thank me.

Let me just tell you that flavors are not compromised by the ease of this recipe. If you have an oven, then you are more than half way finished with this dish.

Great for lunch. Great for a side to your main dinner protein.

Check out the close up of the caramelized brown sugar and melted butter and lovely Kosher salt. Yum.

Roasted Brown Sugar Acorn Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 or 2 or 3 Acorn Squash
  • 1 tablespoon butter per half of squash
  • 3/4 tablespoon brown sugar per half of squash
  • Kosher salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. In a 9×12 glass baking pan, pour in 1 1/2 cups of water. Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place cut side down. Roast in over for 40 minutes.

2. Turn squash halves over.  Place 1 tablespoon of butter in the bottom and sprinkle brown sugar all over each squash. Place back into oven until done- about 8-10 minutes more.

3. Remove from dish and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Dig in but not too quickly, these things are hot!!

 

September 16, 2011

Food/Thoughts: Yesterday at school.

Heirloom Tomato with Confit Garlic, Goat Cheese Mousse, Pine Nut Coulis, Basil Oil and Salt Crystals.

Finals are completed. But we still have a couple more weeks in the kitchen before we leave on our Farm Externship…I’ll tell you more about that soon. So for the next week we are immersing ourselves in more Farm to Table cuisine and using our Chef Instructors created menus that are inspired from his working days at his restaurant. He briefly goes over the menu, some cooking techniques but let’s us create the meal from seeing it listed on a menu. Cool stuff.

Here is what we made yesterday at school. Started with the above tomato salad…unbelievable, so seasonal and fresh with punches of flavors!!

Sweet Corn Soup with Saffron and Sea Scallops

You would think there would be cream in here but nope – just blended corn and stock. So simple with only a few ingredients.

Elk Shortloin with Roasted Squash Ravioli, Dried Cranberries, wine reduction and fried sage.

 If you have never had Elk – go eat some. If you think it would be ‘gamey’, well it isn’t. It is very lean with a rich meaty flavor – so good with the sauce and cranberries!

Palisade Peach and Blackberry Filo Tart with Hazelnut Gelato and toasted Hazelnut dust

 You have to check this out from the side…

The Filo sheets are resting on top of 3 blackberries swimming in blackberry coulis. Over the top!

**We were instructed to not copy these recipes or Chef would personally fire us, even if he wasn’t our boss. Use them as a tool and a guide but never copy…hhmmm.

September 15, 2011

Food: Wine Poached Pear Galette with Cinnamon Chantily Cream.

Poached pears may just be my newest favorite thing.

What soaked in red wine, a pinch of cinnamon, sugar and a clove, wouldn’t be good?

Pate Brisee is a savory crust. It is perfectly flaky and buttery. It takes 10 minutes to assemble. 1 hour to rest. and about 25 minutes in the oven.

The Galette started out without the Chantily Cream..and I’m not sure what I was thinking. Since I was going to eat this in about 2.2 seconds I didn’t have time to make ice cream and we didn’t have any in our freezer because it doesn’t stick around these parts for long. Long story short…

Chantily cream is super easy to make. Yes, it’s the fancy name for whipped cream. Sugar and heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks, flavored however you want and dolloped (is that a word??) on top of whatever. Time to eat. You have to try this.

Oh cinnamon chantily cream, how I adore you.

This recipe is not complicated at all! I just had a hard time describing things and end up being a little wordy…normal occurance in my life 🙂

Wine Poached Pear Galette with Cinnamon Chantily Cream

Yield= 2 6-inch Galette’s. Enough  for 4-6 people.

Pate Brisee Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz. cold butter (I cut it up into small cubes, and put into freezer, while I’m gathering the rest of the ingredients)
  • 4 oz. water, cold
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Method:

1. Add flour and salt to large bowl. With hands/fingers, add butter and coat with flour. Pinch each cube of butter to form flat disks. Do this to all of the butter – working quickly so that the butter doesn’t melt. Add 1/2 water and lemon juice and mix (turning the dough/mixture on to its self). Add remaining water and combine. Put dough onto working countertop surface. Fold over itself (like you are folding a piece of paper – side to side and top to bottom). Do this just until it is incorporated. Cover with wrap and put into refrigerator as soon as possible.

Poached Pears

Ingredients:

  • 6 pears, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 -1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 1 clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Method:

1. Place pears in our even layer in a saucepot that has a lid. Add the remaining ingredients on top. The wine should cover the majority of the pears – about a 1/4 of an inch of the pears should appear. Place on stove top on high- bring to a boil. Once to a boil, cover and turn heat to medium low. Cook for 45 minutes – 1 hour, checking on them occasionally. Turn pears over, so that the entire pear absorbs the wine and is a constant color. When done, remove from heat and take lid off to cool slightly.

Assembly of Galette:

**Depending on the size of Galette’s you want to make – this dough is enough for 2 larger galette’s or 4 smaller ones – either way the method of assembly is the same.

1. Take the pears out of the poaching liquid and place on a cutting board. Return the liquid to the stove top – DO NOT THROW AWAY…you will be sorry if you do 🙂 Place on low, very very low and uncovered.

2. Cut the pears into thin slivers with a pearing knife (get it pearing knife, yep, I’m full of jokes). Keep them into their natural pear shape or place them all in a bowl.

3. Cut the dough into sections (how every many galette’s you are making). On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough. Turning and picking it up so that it doesn’t stick. If the dough gets too warm, put it into the freezer for a couple of minutes. It is important to keep the dough as chilled as possible- this ensures a flaky crust. The dough should look like a circle with very rough edges.

4. Place the pears either organized in the pear shape or free form with a center pile (the one pictures above is free form) – either way place them in the center of the dough. They shouldn’t be more than 1 inch high. 4 inch wide for a smaller and 6+ for a larger galette- totally personal preference. Fold dough edges up towards the center, folding over each other when turning the galette. I cut about 1 1/2 inch off the outer portion of the dough- since you want the fruit to show through the center.

5. Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or cream) and cinnamon and sugar for sprinkle is a nice touch to the outside of the dough. Place ready to bake galette on pachment paper and place into a preheated 350 degree oven. Depending on the size, cook for at least 20 minutes uncovered- checking on it occasionally. The crust should be golden brown, fruit bubbly…check the bottom on the galette- cook it more if the dough is doughy.

Let cool or dig in right away! Whoops…dollop with Chantily cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Chantily Cream

1 part cream to 1/2 parts sugar. Whip in cold metal bowl until soft peaks form. Fold in flavoring, if desired.

 

Look who stopped by when I turned to go inside after the photo shoot…

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