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Recipe: Ice Cream Sandwiches

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. (And it you want some of Madeline’s ready-made delicacies, her shop is open for the season, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

“Now that we’re getting some real summer weather, I decided to make my favorite vanilla ice cream with chocolate wafers to make ice cream sandwiches,” says our pastry expert Madeline Delosh. And you can bet these are a whole lot better than the ones in the supermarket freezer.


Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cups milk
2 cups cream
200 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
8 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean

Put the milk, cream and half the sugar into a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the pan along with the pod. Bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, cover, and let the vanilla infuse.

Place a bowl large enough to hold the finished mixture over an ice bath. Bring the cream/milk back to a boil.

Whisk the yolks with the remaining sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour about half of the hot mixture into the yolks to temper them. Return to the saucepan and cook over low heat. Do not allow the custard to boil. Stir constantly for about five minutes until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Pour into the bowl set over the ice bath.

Strain the cooled custard into a container and refrigerate until cold. Pour the custard into an ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Keep the ice cream in the freezer to harden

Chocolate Wafers
12 oz. all-purpose flour
3 oz. cocoa powder
10 oz. butter
7 oz. sugar (softened)
3/4 tsp. salt
2 egg yolks
1 tblsp. vanilla

Sift the flour and cocoa together into a bowl. Set aside. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the salt. Add the yolks and beat until light. Add the vanilla. On low speed beat in the flour/cocoa mixture. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight .

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 1/8” thick. Cut out 16 three-inch circles and place on a parchment lined sheet pan. You can wrap the rest of the dough and freeze it. Bake for about 15 minutes until crisp.

When the wafers are cool, put a scoop of ice cream on half the wafers. Place the other wafers on top and press down slightly to form sandwiches.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/28/15 at 11:46 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Honey Hibiscus Iced Tea

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.

Oh, summer food.

It’s too hot to cook, and these days our eating reflects that. Even more, we seem to get out of the very habit of eating once the simultaneously crazy and relaxed schedule takes over.

Take tonight, for example. After opening my fridge and staring at it more for its cool air than its contents, I gave up on the possibility of dinner inspiration. In the end, dinner consisted of a loaf of sourdough bread, three ripe tomatoes and a bunch of basil upright in a jar. I cut the bread, sliced the tomatoes, and set the pepper grinder alongside of it on the counter.

“Dinner,” I announced to the empty kitchen (others deep in novels behind closed room doors, working on random art projects outside, or searching for the last raspberries in the garden) and left the dinner there to make itself.

I love summer food. But I might love summer drinks even more.

The rest of the year, I don’t think too hard about keeping the fridge stocked with drink choices. But these days if you come over to visit, I’m giving you a drink list as long as a restaurant menu. Fruity iced tea, black iced tea, cold brew coffee. How about some Kombucha? (Rose or mint/lemon balm?)

It’s more than just the need to drink something cold in this heat. I fill the fridge with jars of deep purple, light green and dark coffee-black, because there is nothing so pleasing to me as a well-timed beverage in the summer. I’m tempted to stop into every coffee shop and store for fruity iced tea, strange coconut/maple water concoctions, dark creamy iced coffee. But when I make them myself, I save money, I feel resourceful, and I get to tailor the blends exactly to my taste. It’s a small pleasure, but isn’t that what summer is all about?

This makes a sweet tea with just a little tang. If you prefer your tea less sweet, reduce the honey or leave it out altogether.

Honey Hibiscus Iced Tea
Makes 8 cups

3 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers
¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves
2 cups near-boiling water
¼ cup honey
6 cups cold water

Combine the hibiscus and mint in a large jar or container. Pour the hot water over the herbs, then stir in the honey. Top off with the cold water.

Cover the container, then refrigerate for 24 hours. Strain out the herbs and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/20/15 at 11:00 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Northern Thai-style Pork Shoulder

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’ve probably already mentioned that we’re on a tasty journey through the varied flavors of the Asian continent – because, well, it’s all we can talk about! And in the last couple weeks, we’ve really dug into Thai cuisine. There’s just something about the combination of spicy Thai peppers and cooling herbs that tastes so perfect on the almost tropical evenings we’ve been enduring this summer.

Our recent efforts have been ever-more rewarding, as we now have a Thai expert at our disposal — our brother, Will. Will is a natural builder and spent six months living in Thailand… but this summer he’s become our official taste-tester. When he says our kitchen smells like a Thai food market, we know we’ve hit a recipe on its head.

This month we wanted to tackle a dish that we tasted at Andy Ricker’s famous Pok Pok Thai restaurant in NYC. It’s a simple but authentic dish of thinly-sliced grilled pork shoulder, marinated in a paste of cilantro roots, garlic and soy sauce, served with greens and rice. It is a perfect summer dish, and except for some fish sauce, it calls for no unusual ingredients.

Northern Thai-style Pork Shoulder

For the pork:
1 lb. pork shoulder
4 cloves garlic
Roots from 1 bunch cilantro (if you can’t get some with the roots, use the greens instead)
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp Shoyu soy sauce (or another light soy sauce)

Pound garlic, cilantro roots and peppercorns together in a mortar and pestle or mix ingredients in a food processor. Either way, you’re going for a paste.

Cut shoulder meat into 1/2-inch thick slices. Rub paste onto the meat and marinate for an hour.

Grill the meat over a medium heat for 4 minutes on each side.

For the dipping sauce:
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp red chili pepper flakes
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp sugar
4 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

Mix all together in bowl and serve along side grilled meat. Serve meat and sauce with bibb lettuce leaves or bok choy leaves and rice.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/13/15 at 03:04 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Zucchini And Summer Squash

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.

Here we go. Welcome to zucchini season.

It starts out slowly, like most food seasons do. Your plant in the garden extends itself first into big clumsy flowers, then a few slender fruits that you pick with great anticipation, already imagining them grilled, slivered, fried—but most of all delicious. Maybe there’s a little basket of them at the market, and of all the vegetables that’s the one you choose, knowing that with that purchase, summer is finally here.

But then they come for real, and no matter the weather, it’s always raining summer squash. They might be the subtle yellows, the UFO-like pattypans, or the blink-your-eyes-and-they’ve-doubled-in-size classic green zucchinis. Things turn dire, and neighbors start dropping off paper bags full of overgrown zucchinis under the cover of night. They claim it’s because they were passing by your house on their way back from Tanglewood and they know how much you love zucchini, but you and I both know it’s because they didn’t want to give you the chance to say “No thank you! I’ve got enough zucchini already.”

Oh we’re not there yet. But it will come. It will come soon.

It’s best to get out ahead if it, to remember how you love to prepare it, and keep building up the love affair right now, when it’s easy. Later, you can grumble as you shred zucchini for freezer bags that hopefully someday you’ll dig out of the freezer in January, somehow wildly inspired to turn the zucchini-cicle into chocolate zucchini bread. But now, now! We blacken the skin on the grill and eat each spear with our fingers. We shred it fine and toss it with good olive oil and lots of lemon. But mostly over here, I’m already loving my all-purpose favorite summer squash method. This is how it goes:

I pull out my trusty (although, yes, terrifying) mandolin and I transform as many summer squash as I have into thin coins. I pour several glugs of olive oil into a hot skillet, and I toss those coins with herbs (basil, rosemary, winter savory—you really can’t go wrong) and garlic (or right now, garlic scapes, which go especially well), and I shuffle them until they’ve shrunk and turned golden in places, and I’m moved to eat them out of the pan. Then there’s salt and pepper and a shot of balsamic. And finally there’s a whole lot of grating the Parmesan right over the pan.

From there, you can eat it right there while you decide what to do with it. But the beauty of this method is that it becomes a perfect base for so many different directions. Add beaten egg and milk to cover the vegetables and cook it for an amazing frittata. Spread it on grilled or toasted bread for a crostini. Or boil a pound of pasta, and spread your summer squash gold on top. It’s so good any which way. And because it cooks down, and makes you want to eat it all, it’s the perfect recipe to carry you through zucchini season.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/06/15 at 10:55 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Strawberry/Rhubarb Tart

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. (And it you want some of Madeline’s ready-made delicacies, her shop is open for the season, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

It’s still strawberry season, for which we have no complaints, and Madeline Delosh is helping us make the most of it with her sumptuous and beautiful Strawberry/Rhubarb Tart. “I like to serve it with buttermilk sorbet, which is refreshing, light and tangy,” she says. “However, if you don’t want to bother making it, vanilla ice cream will be just as delicious.”

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

Tart Dough (makes enough for two eight-inch tart shells)
9 oz. all-purpose flour
5½ oz. butter
3½ oz. sugar
1 large egg
Pinch of salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Slowly add the flour. Continue mixing until the dough is smooth and holds together. Let the dough rest for at least one hour or overnight in the refrigerator before rolling.

Roll the dough out about 1/8” thick and line your tart pan or ring. Refrigerate. (You can freeze any leftover dough).

Streusel
4 tbsp. butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
½ cup almonds, ground to the consistency of coarse corn meal

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a mixer and mix until crumbly. The pieces should be about 1/4” in size. Spread out on the parchment and bake, turning occasionally until golden brown and crisp.

Rhubarb Filling
2 cups rhubarb, washed, peeled and cut into ½” cubes
½ cup sugar
1 cup water
½ cup orange juice
1 cup strawberries, cut into 1/4” pieces
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. sugar

Bring the orange juice, water and sugar to a boil. Add the rhubarb and cook on medium heat for about three minutes, just until the rhubarb softens slightly but holds its shape. Do not overcook.

Transfer the rhubarb to a bowl. Stir in the strawberries and refrigerate until cool. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the flour and 1 tbsp sugar over the bottom of the tart shell. Drain the rhubarb-strawberry mix and spoon it into the tart shell. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the dough is golden brown. Sprinkle the streusel over the tart. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Buttermilk Sorbet
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
Juice of one lemon

In a saucepan, simmer the milk and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture cool. Add the buttermilk and lemon juice. Chill until thoroughly cold. Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/28/15 at 09:06 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Roasted Strawberries

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.

If I were to measure the success of my June in acquired pounds of strawberries (and often I do), I’d say we’re doing well.

I’ve been to Thompson Finch Farm twice. I’ve picked about 60 pounds of berries. My freezer is stocked, we’ve had both a pie and a tart, and we’ve eaten lots and lots of berries. The picking there has been heavenly this year, and it’s easy to pick 15 pounds in an hour. If you’ve never made the trek out to Ancram, NY, this is the year to make it happen. (And if you’ve never been strawberry picking, read this before you go.)

I’ve been picking at Thompson Finch for a decade now, and half the time I still get lost on the way in or the way back. If I don’t, I tend to get lost on purpose, because it’s a great little corner of the world to explore. On our last picking expedition, we drove the wrong way out of the farm, and ended up driving by The Farmer’s Wife in Ancramdale. It was almost as if the car had a mind of its own when it passed by the perfect porch and sweet little sign — there was no way we couldn’t stop there. They had a lunch menu of six dishes, and I wanted every single one. But the trout pate sandwich with watercress and cucumbers won, and it was so good. Joey got the fried chicken sandwich, and we made plans to go back just for the little mounds of baked ricotta with pesto and roasted tomatoes. So if you need lunch after picking, it’s right there ready to feed you.

We froze most of our strawberries from the last trip, but I roasted up a tray of them, too. I’d forgotten how good a roasted strawberry is. What it really does is cook them so you can enjoy them in the fridge for a week or so, but instead of breaking them down like cooking on the stovetop would do, it keeps the strawberries whole and firm while still releasing their juice. They’re great on yogurt, ice cream, pancakes or just with a spoon.

Roasted Strawberries
Makes about 3 cups

2 pounds strawberries, hulled, halved if they’re small and quartered if they’re large
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Optional: freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or large roasting pan with parchment paper.

2. Combine the strawberries, sugar, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Toss to combine, then scrape onto the prepared baking sheet. Roast until the strawberries are soft and release their juice, 30 to 35 minutes. If you want the berries to caramelize and dry out a bit, leave them in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with pepper, if using. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/22/15 at 11:45 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Strawberry Icebox Pie

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.

If ramps are the first taste of spring, then strawberries are most certainly the first taste of summer. Each year as we take our first bite of our first strawberry, a sense of joyous relief falls over us and we know that summer is truly here. But like all good things in life, strawberry season goes by in a flash, and it’s up to us to make the most of it.

We wanted to celebrate this limited-time-only, ruby-red harvest this week, but when we sat down to work out the recipe, we had no idea where to start. There are just so many delicious, delectable, delightful ways to eat strawberries! Our favorite, of course, is to eat ‘em as you pick ‘em — but that’s not much of a recipe. Other dishes on the list? Strawberry rhubarb pie, strawberry jam, strawberries and cream, strawberries and ice cream, strawberry pancakes, strawberry shortcake… you can imagine it’s a very long list.

Anyway, rather than pick just one, we decided to pile as many strawberry preparations as we could into one pie plate, and here’s where we landed — Strawberry Icebox Pie. There’s something for everyone, and a little bit of everything for us — graham cracker crust, jam, mousse, cream and fresh berries. It looks like a lot of work, but it’s not — we promise! And it’s worth it. So, so worth it!

Crust:
15 graham crackers (about 1 ½ cups when crushed)
¾ stick butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt

Jam Layer:
1 lb. strawberries, hulled
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Mousse Layer:
1 lb. strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar

To make the crust:

Preheat oven to 350°. Crush the graham crackers. A food processor is the easiest way, but you can also put the crackers in a heavy zip-lock bag, wrap the bag in a dishtowel, and whack away at it with a rolling pin.

Mix all crust ingredients until well-combined. Dump into a buttered 9-inch pie pan or spring-form pan and press firmly onto the bottom and up the sides. (If using a spring-form pan, lay parchment paper in the bottom and then butter.)

Bake for 10 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool.

To make the jam layer:

Chop about half of the strawberries into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

Put remaining strawberries in a medium saucepan and crush them using a fork. Add sugar and cornstarch to the pan and cook over medium-low heat until mixture comes to a boil.

Remove from heat and stir in remaining chopped strawberries. Cool completely.

Spread cooled jam in the bottom of the cooled crust. If your jam seems very watery, use a slotted spoon and transfer only the chunky parts. Refrigerate the whole thing –—crust and jam — or put in the freezer until cool.

To make the mousse layer:

Puree strawberries in a blender or food processor until smooth and transfer to a large saucepan. Add sugar, lemon juice, salt and egg yolks, then whisk until smooth. Put the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Cook, whisking occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the mixture has thickened a little. Remove from heat, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then put in the refrigerator until cold — about 30 minutes.

Whisk egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form and add to cooled strawberry mixture. Fold gently until combined then set aside.

Whisk cream and vanilla in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form, add to strawberry mixture. Fold until combined then gently pour into pan, layering on top of cooled jam.

Refrigerate the pie or put in the freezer until the mousse sets a bit.

To make the whipped cream:

Mix cream and sugar in a bowl. Whip until firm peaks form. Spread over mousse layer.

Put in the freezer for a few hours or overnight. One hour before serving, take the cake out of freezer (if you’re using a spring-form pan, release it now) and put in the fridge to thaw slowly. Before serving, top with strawberries.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/15/15 at 09:16 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Creamed Spinach

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.

One of my favorite parts about working for Indian Line Farm at the Great Barrington Farmers’ Market is talking about recipes. Conversations about vegetables at the market are really what got me started in food writing, and the thrill of it hasn’t calmed down yet. Usually, the advice goes in the direction you might expect. Someone will hold up a kohlrabi, inspect its wiry UFO tendrils, and ask what they should do with it. I give them a recipe (Kohlrabi fries! Cut them thin and bake in a hot oven), and then they’re off. But sometimes I get to be on the receiving end, and this can be even better. All I have to do is perk my ears up and pay attention to customers’ conversations with each other.

This is what happened this past weekend. We had an excess of sweet and tender spinach, and I knew I might be able to grab a bag to take home with me. I was already imagining what I would do with it (Quiche? Red Lentil Dal?) when a couple came by and stood in front of the table taking it all in.

“Spinach!” She grabbed two bags, and looked at her shopping (and eating) partner.

“I want creamed spinach,” she told him, and as soon as she said it, I had the taste of creamed spinach in my mouth too: the shadow of nutmeg, the silkiness of the leaves cooked down in cream — I even had cream in my fridge!

He pulled out his money and paid for the spinach, and they both thanked me before moving on to the next table.

“No,” I said as they turned go. “Thank you!” And with that, my dinner was decided.

Creamed Spinach
(adapted from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food)
Serves 4

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced small
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 lb. spinach (washed, dried and, if the leaves are big, roughly chopped
½ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon white pepper (or black)
Splash of red wine vinegar

1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and clear, about 10 minutes. Add the nutmeg and salt, stirring to combine.

2. Add the spinach to the pot and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain any liquid that has gathered in the pot. Add the cream, turn up the heat to medium high, and cook uncovered, stirring often, until the cream thickens slightly and coats the spinach. There will still be quite a bit of liquid in the pot, but this makes a wonderful creamy broth that will make anything else on the plate better. Remove from heat and add the pepper and vinegar. Taste, and add additional salt if necessary.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/08/15 at 10:13 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Zucchini And Tomato Pizza

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. (And it you want some of Madeline’s ready-made delicacies, her shop is open for the season, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

It’s always time for pizza, and with the farmer’s markets in full force, you can pick up the ingredients to make your own fresh pie at home. “The dough is really simple,” says Madeline. “You can make it the day before and it requires very little kneading. You don’t need a pizza stone; the pizza is baked on a sheet pan in the oven.”

Zucchini And Tomato Pizza

Pizza Dough
1 lb. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. instant yeast (such as Rapid Rise)
1 tsp. salt
¾-cup cool water
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

1. In a bowl, mix the flour, yeast and salt. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir in the water. Mix the dough until it comes together. This is a wet dough.

2. Dust a work surface with flour and, with the aid of a dough scraper, scoop the dough onto the work surface. Knead the dough about 10 times, until it is smooth but still slightly sticky.

3.Transfer the dough back to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Place in the refrigerator for 8 hours or up to 18 hours.

Topping
3-4 medium zucchini
6 ripe plum tomatoes
Basil
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

1. When you’re ready to bake the pizza, pre-heat the oven to 475 F.

2. Lightly brush an 11” x 16” sheet pan with olive oil.

3. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and put it on a floured work surface. Start stretching and flattening the dough to form a rough rectangle close to the size of the sheet pan. Carefully lift the dough and place it on the pan. Stretch it so that it fills the pan, while keeping the thickness as even as possible. If there is a thin spot or a hole, you can patch it with a piece of dough.

4. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow the dough to rise slightly.

5. Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes 1/8” - 1/4” thick.

6. Slice the zucchinis lengthwise 1/8” thick. If you have a mandoline, use it. Or use a sharp knife to make even slices.

7. Arrange the first row of tomatoes starting at the top edge of the dough. Overlap them slightly until you have one row. Take two long slices of zucchini and lay them end to end to form the next row. Continue alternating rows of tomatoes and zucchini until the top is covered.

8. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

9. Bake until the dough is browned and the vegetables are slightly charred, about 20 minutes.

10. Take the pizza out of the oven. Brush with a little more olive oil, and sprinkle some torn basil over the top.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/01/15 at 09:29 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Yogurt Tart with Rye Crust

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 like to think of my progress in the garden as a series of dips and swirls rather than a straight line. That way, when I have a year like this one when I don’t plant a single thing, I only see it as a tiny moment in the greater story of how I’ll work and relate to this little piece of land (or any other I might have the privilege to know in the life ahead of me). Or maybe I’m just giving those hardworking beds a rest. That’s what I tell myself in my more poetic moments, at least.

So yes. The reality of my garden right now is several rectangular patches of sow thistle and lambs’ quarters (both edible, so I’m growing something, right?), with the beginnings of milkweed poking up, soft ground coverings of creeping Charley and the random twine of a wild grape. It’s quite lovely in its own right, really.

In the midst of all the mess are the perennials that I can always count on. The mint, which seems to know it might get the chance to really take over this year. The Jerusalem artichokes, a foot high already. The rhubarb, ever heroic. And the asparagus in year four now, dry, a little buggy, but still shooting up the miraculous crowns that manage, in all their feathered royalty, to calm me, to remind me of the years before and to promise more in the years ahead. I’ve been especially grateful for those few spears a day, and they’ve been the best thing I’ve eaten all spring. Of course I need to find recipes where just a few spears will do, and the all-purpose custard tart has been especially useful. If you have a long rectangular tart pan, it holds your few, precious asparagus perfectly.

Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Yogurt Tart with Rye Crust

For the crust:
4 ounces (a scant cup) rye flour
5 ounces (a heaping cup) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
¼ cup olive oil
up to ½ cup water

For the filling:
5 to 6 spears asparagus
olive oil
salt
3 eggs
½ cup yogurt
½ cup heavy cream
freshly ground pepper
2 ounces smoked salmon, torn into bite-sized pieces
handful fresh herbs (parsley or dill are great here)

1. First prepare the crust: Combine the flours, salt, and caraway seeds in a medium mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and combine with a fork. Then add the water a few tablespoons at a time, and gently knead with your hand in the bowl, continuing to add water until the dough holds together. Gently roll out the crust on a floured surface and lift it into a greased 13 ¾ x 4 1/4-inch or equivalent tart pan. Transfer to the refrigerator.

2. Now, roast the asparagus. Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Toss the asparagus with a glug of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, and lay it on a baking sheet.  Roast until tender and a bit browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

3. While the asparagus cools, make the custard. Whisk together the eggs, yogurt, and cream, along with a pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper.

4. Remove the tart crust from the refrigerator and poke the bottom several times with a fork. Lay the asparagus in the crust. Tuck the smoked salmon around it. Top with the fresh herbs, and finally pour the custard overtop. Put the tart on a baking sheet and bake until firm, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool for at least an hour before serving.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/25/15 at 10:22 AM • Permalink