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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

Recipe: Spicy Blueberry Smoothie

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’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I’ve gone through thirty-six January 1sts, and as many lists and wishes I might make, I have yet to be a better/more focused/more productive/fill-in-the-blank person than I was the day before. It’s still just me, pouring flat champagne out of glasses on the counter and trying to figure out what we’ll have for dinner that night. New year, indistinguishable me.

For the same reason, I tend to resist what seems to be one of the major rules of online food writing, that is, to write about decadent sweets in December and then shift to virtuous smoothies on January 1st.

And yet.

Just after the holiday, I dove headfirst into the illness that seems to have seized the county. This lined up with the whole world freezing solid, and I spent the first week of January catching up on British crime dramas with our new puppy. She tried to be patient, both with my coughing and the fact that we couldn’t go outside for stretches longer than five minutes, but she couldn’t help but chew up every single shoe and stuffed animal that fell into her path. I didn’t have the energy to stop her.

We both emerged from the bedroom in the last few days, me breathing almost normally again, she pushing her way through all the cotton batting on the floor to finally take a proper walk. And after all that, resistant as I was to the wave of New Year’s eating trends, all I wanted was to put everything good and fresh and real into my blender and drink it. I gave in again and again, and this week, I’ve been making one of the best smoothies I’ve ever had. So, just this once, I’ll break my own rule and I’ll write about a smoothie. If you too, crave something good and fresh and real, it’ll be just right.

I prefer my smoothies to be thin and creamy, but if your tastes go towards a thicker, icier drink, replace the water with ice.

The Spicy Blueberry
Serves 2

1½ cups frozen blueberries
1 ripe banana
½ cup plain, whole milk yogurt
¼ cup loosely packed mint leaves
½ cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Hefty pinch of cayenne
1 cup water

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until entirely smooth. Drink immediately.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 01/12/15 at 09:31 AM • Permalink

Nancy Fuller’s Winter Harvest Beef Stew (An RI Exclusive)

How could we hang out on set with local Food Network star Nancy Fuller and not get a recipe? In the spirit of the holiday season and eating what’s seasonal, Nancy has given us a peek at one of her as of yet unpublished “rules” for a rich and hearty beef stew that takes advantage of the late local harvest. It’s also a perfect example of her straight forward, classy, no-nonsense style.

While you can find variations of this recipe on Nancy’s Fuller Farm website and at Foodnetwork.com, this version is stripped down to let individual ingredients shine even through a dark, meaty sauce. The long cooking time in your heavy Dutch oven releases deep flavor from the meat and pulls an unexpected and complex sweetness from the parsnips, potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts. The chuck is both the star and backup singer in this stew, so it’s a great opportunity to use some really good beef from a high-quality local purveyor. 

A great meal for a large family or to make and store for a colder night to come, Nancy got philosophical when talking about why she loves this stew so much. As quintessentially winter as this recipe is, she says it makes her think of spring.

“In winter we are sort of like the land, all that nature hibernating outside,” she said, gesturing out the window to her snow-covered farm. “We need stews and hearty things to build up and store up all our energy, so we can come out in the spring and get to work and do good things.”

Whether you want to get poetic about it or not, make this recipe and you will see that this stew is some powerful stuff. A strong and filling dish without being fatty or greasy, in just few hours your Dutch oven will turn roots and tough little cabbages sweet and soft and make one of the butcher’s toughest cuts fall to delectable ribbons in your mouth.  —Jamie Larson

Nancy Fuller’s “Rule” for Winter Harvest Beef Stew
Serves 4-5

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 slices bacon
3 tablespoons olive oil, optional
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups beef broth
1 pound parsnips, peeled and tops removed, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 pound carrots with tops, peeled and tops removed, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 pound fingerling potatoes
1 pint Brussels sprouts, chopped
2 cups good red wine
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon whole allspice
5 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
1 medium onion, chopped

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Put 1 cup of the flour in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the beef in the seasoned flour and set aside.

On the stove top, heat a large Dutch oven on medium-high heat, add the bacon and cook until crisp. Set the bacon aside, leaving the drippings behind in the skillet (chop the bacon and reserve for serving). In batches, brown the beef in the skillet, adding olive oil if necessary, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer each batch to a bowl as they brown, we’ll add the beef back in at the end.

Turn the heat down to medium, add the butter and remaining 3 tablespoons flour to the skillet. Cook 3 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Whisk in the tomato paste. Pour in the beef broth and whisk to get all the ingredients incorporated with the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Add the parsnips, carrots, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, red wine, parsley, Worcestershire, allspice, garlic, bay leaves and onions. Last, add the beef and give it a good stir. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and move the stew into the oven for 3.5 hours, where it will finish cooking. Serve in bowls sprinkled with the reserved bacon.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 01/04/15 at 02:33 PM • Permalink

Recipe: December Salad

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 in 2015.

This past weekend, at The Berkshire Grown Holiday market, I got to spend the morning with all the winter vegetables at the Indian Line Farm table. There were bags of greens that disappeared so fast even the mid-morning shoppers missed them, and bunches of kale so tender and sweet, it would be a shame to do anything other than eat them raw. But the basket of watermelon radishes was the star of the table, each radish smooth-skinned and round, with a faint green tinge to hide the secret inside.

“Radishes?” someone would ask. “What kind of radish is this?”

We’d pick up the little knife brought just for this purpose, whittle off a tiny wedge, and reveal the brilliant fuchsia innards.

If they’d never seen a watermelon radish before, there was always a gasp. (We do, after all, get used to the predictable colors of food, and the sunset burst within a simple radish can be nothing short of shocking.) But then, the taste! Crisp and mellow, with a hint of what I can only describe as “earth.” The watermelon radish is my favorite of all the radishes, and December is the month I like them best.

And how do I eat them? (This is, of course, the next question after the gasp and the taste.) If I’m so fortunate as to be throwing a party, I slice them thin into large moons, lay them on a plate, and sprinkle them with crunchy salt. It is the easiest and most beautiful starter there is. But if it’s just a regular old night in December (not that there are many of those), those radishes are the diva of my salad bowl. All the other winter salad greens sing backup, and then it’s all crisp bitter and sweetness, deep purple and pale green. This salad requires a few different bowls, but it’s worth the extra dishwashing, if only to get everything dressed just right.

December Salad
Serves 4 to 6

1 small celery root (5 to 6 ounces), cut of its outer skin and into ½-inch cubes
1 watermelon radish (5 to 6 ounces), halved and sliced thinly
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 cups loosely packed greens (any combination of butter lettuce, radicchio, arugula, or tender kale), torn into large bites
1 head endive, leaves separated and torn
Freshly ground pepper

1. Put the celery root in one small bowl, and the watermelon radish in another. Sprinkle each with ¼ teaspoon salt, toss to combine and set aside.

2. Combine the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt with the vinegar, shallot and mustard in a 1-cup jar. Let it sit for a few minutes to let the shallot pickle in the vinegar. Then add the olive oil, screw the lid on the jar, and give it a good shake to emulsify the dressing.

3. Toss the greens and endive with half the dressing in a large bowl, taking care to coat each leaf. Taste a leaf, and add more dressing if necessary. Then add a drizzle of dressing to the celery root and radish bowls, tossing to lightly coat. (Any leftover dressing can be saved in the fridge for your next salad.) Pile the dressed greens on a large platter or wide bowl. Add the celery root and radish. Top with lots of freshly ground pepper.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/15/14 at 09:32 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Perfecto Meatballs

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.

The poor meatball. So often relegated to childrens’ menus and questionable smorgasbords at discount furniture chains, the meatball is rarely given a real chance to shine. But we know the truth – that with the right ingredients and a little respect, meatballs can be complex, delicate, immensely satisfying and borderline elegant.

Clearly, we are a family of meatball enthusiasts, from Middle Eastern kofta, heavy with green herbs and deep spices to dreamy Swedish köttbullar, smothered in peppery cream sauce. And, of course, there’s the classic Italian-American; three meats, breadcrumbs, and some parmesan, all rolled into a covetable package. Jake has perfected his version which, when sauteed in just enough butter (a lot), and finished off in a pan of saucy tomatoes, manages to couple a toothsome crust and a melt-in-your-mouth center. Poured over a bowl of bucatini or creamy polenta, this classic peasant dish will make you feel like well-fed royalty.


Perfecto Meatballs

Make the meatballs:
½ cup milk
½ cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 tbsp parmesan
½ lb veal
½ lb beef
½ lb hot Italian pork sausage
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter

1. Combine milk and bread crumbs in a small bowl until the all of the milk is absorbed.

2. In a large bowl, use your hands to mix the three meats with the eggs, parmesan, and bread and milk mixture. Make sure it is well blended but don’t over mix, as the meatballs will lose their fluffiness.

3. Place a large saute pan on high heat with the oil and butter.

4. Form the meat mixture into 1.5 – 2 inch rounds, and brown in small batches. Do not overcrowd pan.

5. Brown meatballs until they have a deep brown crusty exterior, a couple minutes on each side. One whole batch should take about 5-7 minutes – the balls don’t need to be 100 percent cooked at this point. When done, put meatballs aside.

Make the sauce:
(2) 28 oz. cans of whole peeled tomatoes
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

1. Using the drippings from the meatballs, saute the onions and garlic in the same pan until translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes, roughly crushing each tomato with your hand or a large wooden spoon.

3. Bring sauce to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the meatballs back into the sauce and cook for another 15 minutes.

5. Pour over pasta or polenta and serve with some grated parmesan and pepper.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/07/14 at 11:03 PM • Permalink