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Guido's Marketplace

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John Andrews Restaurant

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Kemble Inn- Table Six

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week

Chez Nous Bistro

Nejaime's Wine Cellars

Eastover Estate and Retreat

Recipe: Broiled Grapefruit With Maple Sugar and Mint

Twice a month, Berkshire County native Alana Chernila, mother of two, and author of the cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), contributes a thoughtful and heartfelt essay/recipe created exclusively for Rural Intelligence readers. Her first cookbook has achieved top-seller status, and Chernila has a new one in the works, titled “The Homemade Kitchen,” due out this year.

I spent the entirety of last week tucked away in a little white room in the Catskills, watching the snow blow sideways as I worked on a few writing projects.

It was a good week.

I was there on a week-long residency at the Spruceton Inn, a new (old) “bed and bar” at the food of Hunter Mountain. Casey Sciezska and her husband Steven Weinberg are both creative in a million different wonderful ways (Steven was away the whole week on book tour for his new book, and in addition to creating a pretty magical getaway for anyone willing to make the trek out there, they also offer six artist residencies each year for those who might need a little space and quiet to work. There’s no cell service, only Internet if you sit in one particular spot, and no TVs. Instead there are mountains and firepits and, at the end of the line of rooms, a warm little wood-filled, Christmas-light lit bar that always smells like cinnamon and cedar and fills with interesting people every night. It’s like summer camp, but with really comfortable rooms and excellent bourbon.

I can’t wait to go back.

One of my favorite parts of the week was the experience of cooking for myself. Some of the rooms have full kitchenettes, and although the guests around me came and went and told me all about the great meals they had in Phoenicia, Bovina, and all the other little pockets of the county, I was so happy to make all my meals in my little room. I got really into it, and planning and setting up my simple meals became something to look forward to in my day. I think especially for those who are used to always cooking for others, it can be a welcome shift to remember how to make a meal just for one. And whereas it can be easy to slip into not cooking (and yes, there were a few crackers-and-cheese dinners) I found it so good to be able to create something special and beautiful and just to my taste. This got me thinking about all the special little dishes I like to make for myself when I’m alone, and I thought I’d share one of those today.

I’m the only grapefruit fan in my house, so it’s a fruit I get all to myself. But lately, instead of just eating it cold, I’ve been broiling it with a little maple sugar (or brown sugar, if that’s what you have), and topping it with mint. It feels fancy and special, but it only adds a few minutes of prep time. And although I tend to eat this one on my own, it’s also great for a fancy brunch.

Broiled Grapefruit with Maple Sugar and Mint

1 grapefruit
2 teaspoons maple sugar or brown sugar
2 to 3 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped or torn

1. Preheat the broiler to a medium setting if it has one. Set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat element.

2. Cut the grapefruit in half. Pre-score the grapefruit by cutting with a paring knife around the perimeter—then cut along each edge to pre-score the bites. Don’t skip this step, as broiled grapefruit is really hard to eat if it hasn’t been pre-cut.

3. Sprinkle the maple sugar over the surface of each grapefruit half. Set the grapefruit rind-side down on a foil or parchment-lined tray, and broil until the top is golden and the flesh pops out of the rind a bit, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the mint and serve.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/23/15 at 11:41 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Cumin Roasted Carrots with Yogurt Sauce

This week’s recipe is from Berkshire-based duo The Butcher & The Baker. The Butcher is Jake, a nose-to-tail butcher/artist, who loves to cook and grew up in the woody hills of Western Massachusetts where his passion for local, fresh food was first instilled in him. The Baker is Silka, a designer/crafter who loves to bake and grew up in rural Western New York where her parents are candlestick makers. Together they spend most of their time talking about, shopping for, making, and eating food. By sourcing locally and sustainably, and spending time with the producers of their food, they’ve learned that every meal tells a story.

Once a meat‪-‬centric household‪,‬ since Jake has became Produce Manager at The Coop we’ve really learned to enjoy experimenting with the ever-expanding selection of local fruits and vegetables. The growers themselves have been a source of seemingly infinite inspiration, which we’ve bolstered by devouring the writings of our favorite veg-centric chefs.

One chef and writer who has particularly shaped our understanding of produce is Deborah Madison. In her tome, Vegetable Literacy, she provides an outline for unexpected yet harmonious flavor combinations and it has completely changed the way we think about cooking.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s books, Plenty and Plenty More have been another favorite source of inspiration. As we slowly work our way through the recipes – they all look so good, how do you choose?! – we’ve learned to embrace the power of spices thanks to his bold, Middle Eastern-inspired flavors.

For our most recent effort, we reached for one of the few remaining, not-brown, late-late-late winter vegetables. With a multi-colored medley of carrots from Winter Moon Roots as our base, and Madison as our guide, we added depth by sprinkling cumin and coriander over top. For brightness we looked to citrus, which has a long track record of pairing well with carrots, and to bring out some sweetness, we threw everything in a roasting pan with a little local honey. Finally, taking a page from Ottolenghi’s book, we topped it off with a tangy goat yogurt sauce flavored with cumin and lemon.

Not revolutionary flavor combinations, but tried and true… and hard to beat. Served over a bed of greens like arugula or parsley, or on top of a hearty grain like faro or couscous, this is a dish that could easily take center stage in a vegetarian meal. But it would be just as happy as a complementary side dish to a flavorful leg of lamb.

Cumin Roasted Carrots with Yogurt Sauce

1½ pounds carrots, peeled and cut approximately 5 inches long and 1/2 inch wide

Blood-orange dressing
1 cup blood orange juice (1-2 blood oranges)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander

Cumin yogurt sauce
1 cup goat yogurt
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
pinch kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place carrots in a baking dish. Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over carrots, tossing to make sure the carrots are completely coated.

3. Roast for 30-45 minutes, until carrots are tender and caramelized.

4. While the carrots are cooking, whisk together the yogurt sauce ingredients.

5. Once cooked, plate the carrots – on their own, with greens or a hearty grain – and drizzle yogurt sauce over top. Enjoy!

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/15/15 at 09:31 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Hot Wing Cauliflower

Twice a month, Berkshire County native Alana Chernila, mother of two, and author of the cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), contributes a thoughtful and heartfelt essay/recipe created exclusively for Rural Intelligence readers. Her first cookbook has achieved top-seller status, and Chernila has a new one in the works, titled “The Homemade Kitchen,” due out this year.

So I was at a party. This was months ago now, but memorably so, due to the good company and the particularly sparkly night, but also because of one particular dish on the potluck table. It was a mostly gluten-free, local Bourbon type of crowd (as tends to happen around these parts), and this one dish was the hum and belle of the party.

Is that harissa? I could eat roasted cauliflower for days! I swear that’s adobo, or maybe just really freshly ground chile? What is this spice? It almost tastes Persian! Is this an Ottolenghi recipe?

The cauliflower was a hit. In fact, around the hand-hewn table just high enough for us to sit cross-legged around it, every plate had a generous pile of the spicy red cauliflower—a rapidly disappearing pile, as the correct verb for how the collective party was eating this dish could only be “shoveling.”

Who made this? I need the recipe! There were a chorus of requests from around the table. One guy in the corner piped up.

“Good, right? It’s Hot Wing Cauliflower. I found it on the Internet.”

There was a collective pause.

“Pretty classic. Dip in flour, coat with hot sauce, that sort of thing.”

“What kind of flour?” someone asked mid-bite.

“I dunno. All-purpose? And Tabasco, I think?”

The gluten-free diners around the table sighed, and reluctantly put down their hot wing cauliflower. Because it was cauliflower, because it was so good, because it was SO good, no one had asked! (Disclaimer: we had no celiacs that I know of around this table, and no false claims were made. Everyone survived. This story is in no way a commentary on gluten-free-ness or anything free-ness. I promise. In fact, I myself was under the temporary direction to give gluten a break at the time, and I, too, put down my delicious cauliflower.)

I’ve thought of that cauliflower ever since, and finally, here in my own kitchen, I even made it gluten-free. And I used my own lacto-fermented hot sauce, so I get local shmancy food points for that, too. But shmancy or not, it’s just hot wing cauliflower. And that’s all it needs to be.

Hot Wing Cauliflower
Serves 4 to 6

1 medium head cauliflower, cored and cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 cup chickpea flour (or all-purpose)
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup hot sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the flour, garlic powder, paprika, and salt. Whisk in the water until you have a smooth batter.

2. Coat the cauliflower in the batter, then place cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine the butter and hot sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the butter melts. When the cauliflower has done its time in the oven, remove the baking sheet and pour the hot sauce mixture over the cauliflower. Return the cauliflower to the oven and bake until crispy, 25 to 30 more minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/09/15 at 10:29 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Buttermilk Panna Cotta

Photos by Michel Arnaud

Madeline Delosh, a Columbia County resident, owns Mado Patisserie in Chatham, NY. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, she worked with Jean-Georges Vongerichten and was the pastry chef at La Grenouille Restaurant. “I like to reach out to those who love baking and pastries,” Madeline says. With her monthly recipe contributions to Rural Intelligence, she is doing just that.

Panna Cotta is a light and creamy traditional Italian dessert that Madeline especially likes because it’s a blank slate. “You can flavor it any way you like,” she says. “In this recipe, I have replaced some of the cream with buttermilk, which adds a tart brightness to the finished custard.”


Buttermilk Panna Cotta
Serves 4

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp powdered gelatin
1/2 vanilla bean 

1. Place the gelatin in a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon cold water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to soften. 

2. Pour the cream into a saucepan. Slice the vanilla bean open, scrape the seeds into the pan, and add the pod. Add the sugar. Simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the softened gelatin. Stir to dissolve.

3. Remove from the heat and add the buttermilk.

4. Strain the mixture into a measuring cup with a spout. Pour into four 6-ounce glass cups. 

5. Chill until cool.

6. Serve with berries or a scoop of sorbet or poached pears and cookies.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/02/15 at 11:52 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Maple Vanilla Pudding

Twice a month, Berkshire County native Alana Chernila, mother of two, and author of the cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), contributes a thoughtful and heartfelt essay/recipe created exclusively for Rural Intelligence readers. Her first cookbook has achieved top-seller status, and Chernila has a new one in the works, titled “The Homemade Kitchen,” due out this year.

It’s a cruel trick to stick the first day of Spring right there in the nest of March. It’s almost as if Spring would really come, truly, when the calendar calls it to do so.

On Groundhog Day, my older daughter asked me if I knew if the groundhog had seen his shadow.

“Will there be six more weeks of winter?”

“We’re in New England,” I told her. “Groundhog Day is as silly for us as the official first day of Spring. There will be a million more weeks of winter.”

But there is a little consolation prize—maple season. Because although the snow is high and the temperatures are ridiculous, there’s always enough snow to get the sap running. And when those buckets show up on every maple tree, the woods stop being so quiet, and they start to sound like melting snow. It’s a season in itself, and the result might just be the most wonderful New England product there is.

I love to use maple syrup in so many ways in my kitchen. I use it in my coffee, my granola, and in marinades and salad dressings. It’s my favorite sweetener for homemade ice cream, and there’s nothing like a drizzle of good maple syrup on plain yogurt. And lately, when we all need a little extra sweetness, I’ve been making maple vanilla pudding. It’s creamy and comforting, comes together quickly, and is the perfect way to celebrate the coming season. Not Spring, not Spring—that won’t come till May. But maple season is far more reliable.

Maple Vanilla Pudding
Serves 6

4 cups whole milk
¼ cup maple syrup
1 vanilla bean
½ cup cornstarch

1. Combine 3 cups of the milk with the maple syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean, add them to the milk, and then throw the scraped out pod into the milk as well. Heat until just steaming, stirring frequently.

2. Whisk together the cornstarch with the remaining cup of milk in a small bowl until smooth. Take the vanilla bean pod out of the milk, and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, with a wooden spoon, until the mixture starts to bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir continuously until the pudding thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. If it’s a bit watery, it’s okay. It will thicken further as it chills. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/23/15 at 11:02 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Lamb and Coriander Stew

This week’s recipe is from Berkshire-based duo The Butcher & The Baker. The Butcher is Jake, a nose-to-tail butcher/artist, who loves to cook and grew up in the woody hills of Western Massachusetts where his passion for local, fresh food was first instilled in him. The Baker is Silka, a designer/crafter who loves to bake and grew up in rural Western New York where her parents are candlestick makers. Together they spend most of their time talking about, shopping for, making, and eating food. By sourcing locally and sustainably, and spending time with the producers of their food, they’ve learned that every meal tells a story.

This last summer (we know, it’s hard to even imagine summer these days) we were overwhelmed by self-seeded cilantro. It wasn’t the worst problem to have, though — we eat a lot of cilantro, and it’s a beautiful, practically indestructible plant. So, we approached it much like Jake approaches his butchery:  whole animal. We ate the greens until they bolted, then we enjoyed the flowers and fresh coriander berries in salsas, salads and soups. And before the first frost hit, we went out and cut down all of the remaining stems and hung them in the house to dry, leaving us with a ton of home-grown coriander for winter use.

This hearty stew celebrates the robust flavor of coriander, and it also features some other local favorites — lamb, root veggies and, most importantly, BEER. We’ve always got some Glass Bottom Brewery Trail Magic in our fridge, and besides being a delicious ale, it’s the perfect braising liquid for Square Roots Farm’s delectable lamb. Combined with our coriander and some crisp local carrots this is a sweet, and zesty meal perfect for weekly rotation.

Lamb and Coriander Stew
Serves 4 with leftovers

3 lbs. lamb shoulder, cubed
flour
3 lbs. carrots, 1 lb. chopped, 2 lbs. cut into ½” x 3” sticks
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
22 oz. Glass Bottom Brewery Trail Magic
1½ cups chicken stock
olive oil
salt
pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a clean towel, pat the pieces of lamb dry.

2. Pour about ¾ cup of flour and a heavy dose of salt on a clean plate and mix with a fork. Roll the cubed lamb in flour mixture until covered.

3. In a heavy pot or dutch oven heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. In small batches, brown the lamb pieces, setting aside when done. Add more oil as needed.

4. After browning the meat, turn heat down to medium-high. Throw in the coriander, and when the seeds start to toast and release their aroma, add onions and chopped carrots. Cook until vegetables begin to soften. Add lamb back to the pan, along with the beer and stock.

5. Bring to a boil, cover and put in oven for 2 hours.

6. After two hours, lay the carrot sticks on top of the stew, and put back in the oven for another 30 min.

7. Take out of the oven and serve.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/16/15 at 09:24 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Perfect Roast Chicken

Twice a month, Berkshire County native Alana Chernila, mother of two, and author of the cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), contributes a thoughtful and heartfelt essay/recipe created exclusively for Rural Intelligence readers. Her first cookbook has achieved top-seller status, and Chernila has a new one in the works, titled “The Homemade Kitchen,” due out this year.

I don’t want chocolate for Valentines Day. There’s no need for champagne, and although roses are nice, they wouldn’t be my first choice. We have no sitter, no dinner reservations, and honestly I’ve spent enough February 14ths waitressing in fancy restaurants to last me a lifetime.

If you really love me, roast me a chicken. A little butter, some lemon and garlic, maybe even a few herbs if you really want to go all out. Roast a few potatoes to soak up the juice from the chicken, and then we can eat a little salad afterwards to cleanse the palate, European style.

While the chicken is roasting the house will smell of warmth and garlic, and the counters will be clean and the dishes from the day will be done and tucked into the dishwasher already. I can’t think of anything more romantic.

We’ll feed the kids earlier and for once they’ll be okay with that, because they’re old enough now to know that it’s in their best interest to give us a little time on our own. They like having parents who love each other.

You can drink beer and I’ll drink bourbon, because that’s what we like and it’s okay that we like different things. I’ll set the table with nice napkins, and I’ll use the sweet-smelling beeswax candles instead of the cheap Ikea ones.  And then the chicken will be ready.

It will pop and sizzle in its pan even as you take it out of the oven. And because it’s late and we’re hungry, the chicken will have its rest right there on the table for a few minutes. We’ll skip the carving and gravy altogether, and we’ll just cut what we like right off the chicken and spoon the juices from the pan over it all as we go. I’ll have a breast, and you’ll have a thigh. I can’t think of anything more romantic.

And then we’ll eat and talk about ordinary things. We’ll eat until we’re full and then there will be leftovers for chicken salad tomorrow, which is our older daughter’s favorite lunch in the world. I’ll put the carcass in the freezer for stock. And then together, we’ll do the dishes. I can’t think of anything more romantic.

Perfect Roast Chicken

1 3½—4 lb chicken
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons softened butter
½ a lemon
Optional: 1 small head of garlic, fresh rosemary or thyme

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Do not rinse your chicken, but dry it well with a paper towel. Rub the salt over the inside and outside of chicken. Rub the butter (patiently and messily) over the entire surface of the chicken. Squeeze the lemon over the chicken, and put the spent rind in the cavity. If you’re using garlic, cut the head in half through its equator and put both halves in the cavity of the chicken. Add herbs to the cavity as well if you like.

2. Roast until the skin is crispy, the leg wiggles loosely in its joint, and the juices run clear when you slice into the thickest part of the thigh. This will take between 60 and 85 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven, transfer to a board, and put the roasting pan over a burner on medium heat. Add a little wine, vermouth, stock, or even water to the pan and bring it all up to a boil, scraping the brown bits into the sauce. Taste, and adjust salt if needed.

3. Carve the chicken as it pleases you, and serve with the sauce.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/09/15 at 11:41 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Raspberry Sablée Heart

When Mado Patisserie opened on Chatham’s Main Street in 2008, it seemed all of Columbia County went mad for the French patisserie. Seven years later, it’s plus ca change and all that. Why would anything be different when it’s still master baker Madeline Delosh running the place? A French Culinary Institute graduate who worked alongside Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and later was pastry chef at La Grenouille, she has consistently regaled her customers with delicate and intensely flavored tarts, mousse cakes, flavored brioches and muffins. Following the holidays, however, Delosh closes up shop until April, therefore depriving us of any kind of Mado-made Valentine’s Day sweet.

But you can make your own, because Delosh has generously offered up the recipe for her Raspberry Sablée Heart. “Sablée,” she explains, “is the rich basic butter cookie of France. Its texture — ‘sablée’ or ‘sandy’ —  is due to the generous amount of butter in the recipe. Here I’ve used it as the base for my heart-shaped Valentine’s Day raspberry tart.”

Sablée
1/2 lb. unsalted butter (room temperature)         
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour                              
1/2 cup sugar                                        
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Approximately 1/2 cup raspberry preserve
Fresh raspberries
Confectioner’s sugar, for decoration


1. Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light in color, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Gradually beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour. Wrap the dough in plastic. Refrigerate until chilled, 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.

2. Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out the tart bottoms. Transfer to prepared pans and refrigerate the hearts about 30 minutes. (At this point you can freeze them covered with plastic wrap.)

3. Bake until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned. Cool completely on the pans.

4. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the raspberry preserves onto the cookies. Arrange the fresh raspberries on top. Just before serving, sift confectioner’s sugar over the top.

There are more recipes and pastry ideas on the Mado Patisserie website.

Photographs by Michel Arnaud.

Related story: Mad for Mado.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 02/02/15 at 08:10 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Grapefruit Ginger Curd

Twice a month, Berkshire County native Alana Chernila, mother of two, and author of the cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), contributes a thoughtful and heartfelt essay/recipe created exclusively for Rural Intelligence readers. Her first cookbook has achieved top-seller status, and Chernila has a new one in the works, titled “The Homemade Kitchen,” due out this year.

New Englanders are a funny bunch when it comes to local food. Whether you’re talking to a recent transplant or a generations-back resident, I think all who feel they belong to the region inherit a stubbornness that can be traced back to the Puritans. Although it snows into May and our growing season is over before you can say “kohlrabi,” we like to speak of New England as if it were the North American fertile crescent, insisting that everything we could possibly want can be grown right here in our enchanted soil.

Except avocados, that is. Oh, and bananas! And coffee. And the list goes on and on, often ending in the queen of them all, citrus.

We try. Oh how we try. I myself have a Meyer lemon tree reaching for the sparse sun coming into my kitchen. It’s always hanging on to life, just barely. Right now, I’m pretty sure its three green lemons (green since last summer, when they grew that way) have given up hope of any transition to yellow. Maybe I should just call them limes.

But as the world freezes, we start to crave citrus. And somehow it becomes an almost local food, just because we know it’s so marvelously in season right now. I’d never move to Florida, we say (who could give up the glory of New England?), but man am I happy they ship me those grapefruits in January.

Local, shmokal. I say, anything that gets you through the winter. And if we have to import our sunshine for a few months, so be it.  I, for one, like my sunshine thickened with eggs and sugar, scooped onto yogurt in the morning.

Grapefruit Ginger Curd
Makes about 3 cups

¾ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (from 1 to 2 grapefruits)
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (you can leave the skin on)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, beaten

1. Combine the grapefruit juice, lemon juice, zest, ginger, butter and sugar in the top of a double boiler over medium heat. Warm, stirring often, until the butter melts.

2. Add the eggs to the citrus mixture, pouring them through a finely meshed sieve as they go into the pot. Whisk to combine, and rinse out your sieve for the next step.

3. Stir constantly, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go, until the mixture thickens and gets creamy, 5 to 8 minutes. Pour the curd, through the sieve, into a jar. Refrigerate for up to two weeks, or freeze for up to three months.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 01/26/15 at 09:46 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Citrus and Fennel Salad

This week’s recipe is from Berkshire-based duo The Butcher & The Baker. The Butcher is Jake, a nose-to-tail butcher/artist, who loves to cook and grew up in the woody hills of Western Massachusetts where his passion for local, fresh food was first instilled in him. The Baker is Silka, a designer/crafter who loves to bake and grew up in rural Western New York where her parents are candlestick makers. Together they spend most of their time talking about, shopping for, making, and eating food. By sourcing locally and sustainably, and spending time with the producers of their food, they’ve learned that every meal tells a story.

We’re so lucky to have a group of friends who are not only smart, wonderful and funny, but they’re also great cooks! During the long winter we get together for regular potlucks as often as possible — a cherished respite from our self-induced cold-weather isolation. Without fail these get-togethers are overflowing with great food, but there is one dish in particular that we always hope we’ll see on the menu.

There’s nothing quite like the bright and colorful citrus fennel salad expertly made by our good friend and better chef, Jamie Paxton. Although the salad breaks two of Jake’s golden food rules (no fruit in salad, and no raw fennel) it’s unfailingly delicious and we crave it all winter.

The perfect antidote to the winter food blues, this beautiful salad marries simple, bold flavors and one of our favorite cutting techniques, the super-impressive and easy citrus supreme. It’s also a great dish to play around with. Use different kinds of citrus, change the proportions, throw in some fresh herbs or different bitter greens — the list is endless. Plus, it’ll give you something yummy to perfect while you wait for spring to come.

Citrus and Fennel Salad

Salad
A mixture of citrus. We used 2 grapefruit, a couple navel oranges and a few tangerines, but you can use whatever catches your eye. You’ll want about 4-7 pieces of fruit depending on size.
2 medium or 3 small fennel bulbs
A couple handfuls of arugula (optional)

Dressing
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons reserved citrus juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste

With a sharp paring knife, cut the ends off the citrus. Then, carefully cut the skin and outer white pith away in pieces. You should be able to easily see the membranes that separate the slices of the fruit. Working over a bowl, cut as close as possible to those membranes, carving out the individual segments of fruit. Squeeze what’s left of the membranes over another bowl to extract the juices.

Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Put down a bed of arugula if using. Thinly slice the fennel bulbs, reserving a few fronds if possible, and lay over the arugula (or as a first layer on the plate if you’re skipping the greens). Lay the citrus segments over the fennel and pour dressing over top and gently toss the salad. Garnish with the fennel fronds if you have them and serve right away.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 01/19/15 at 01:14 PM • Permalink