Sunday, September 21, 2008

Breadless Sandwich

Could also be known as romaine burrito, I suppose.

Spear of romaine lettuce
3 thin slices of spicy capicola sausage
Dijon-style mustard
4 fillet beans, blanched and chilled

1. Place sausage slices on lettuce. Smear with mustard to taste. Lay beans along natural indentation (following lettuce rib).
2. Serve immediately. Can be eaten with fingers by folding along lettuce rib.

Pickled Baby Beets

2 lbs baby beets
1/4 cup olive oil

4 oz light brown sugar
2 oz cider vinegar
2 oz sherry vinegar
1 oz champagne vinegar
1 chile de arbol
1 bay leaf
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 oz shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
6 oz orange juice, plus additional for topping up syrup
1 orange, sliced thinly across equator

baking pan
saucepan with lid
2 1-quart jars with lids

For the beets
  1. Preheat oven 400F.
  2. Wash beets well. Remove greens to within 1 inch of root, if necessary. Place beets in single layer in baking pan. Toss with oil to coat. Cover and seal with foil.
  3. Roast for 1 hour or until beets offer no resistance to skewer.
  4. Remove and cool without removing foil.
  5. Peel beets by rubbing with paper towel. Discard skins.
For the syrup
  1. Combine all ingredients except beets in saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer, partially covered for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain syrup into heatproof measure. Add additional orange juice to equal 2 cups.
  3. From syrup flavorings, remove cinnamon stick and chile and place in quart jars. Add a few beets to the jars, add slices of orange, then continue filling with beets. Pour hot syrup to fill. Seal and cool to room temperature. Chill.
Keeps for 2 weeks.

Tolerance, Intolerance

In the world in which I live, tolerance is a concept embraced by many of the privileged who work with lesser-privileged people, by people who work in settings where people of differing cultures interact, and by people who work for justice and social change. Tolerance is a good place to begin acting on new awareness that a person isn't alone in the world. Acting from a place of tolerance broadens the horizon of personal possibilities and creates alliances that couldn't have been envisioned without it. Tolerance is a good place to begin.

As awareness and experience expand, tolerance begins to limit deepened relationships, in particular those with whom there are fewer shared life experiences. If, however, life experience does not include oppression, marginalization, invisibility, enforced silence, and forms of self-hatred, then how can such life experiences be sought and understood by those who have not had them? Similarly, how can those who are not privileged seek and hear those who have privilege? Why should either group want to hear the other?

Because we are all living together in a world of decreasing resources. If we don't understand each others' life experiences, then how can problems we face together be solved together? Solving problems -- understanding problems -- can be neither the sole domain of those with power and resources nor those without them.

Consider how pharmaceutical companies, government policy-makers, and people with AIDS finally learned how to listen to each other. The problems they each face still exist, but they are better able to help each other now that they can understand each other.

Consider how medical practitioners, parents, researchers, scientists have begun to change problems associated with naturally-occurring arsenic in Bangladesh's water supply.

I believe that by reflecting critically on my experience, I can change my awareness of who can help me with the problems I face. I don't have to be alone in my discomfort, despair, and deprivation. I recognize that I have sufficient privilege to reflect critically. I have time, money, education, and intelligence enough to do so. And, I have the motivation to do so.

I do not tolerate several things that interfere with the quality of my life. That is, my world is filled with foods that include substances my body does not deal well with. I am not allergic. However, I dislike the physical results of consuming corn, soy, wheat flour, and bovine dairy products.

Similarly, I dislike spending money for food that has traveled many miles to reach me. I need fresh food in my life, but where I want to live, I can't always have it fresh. I don't trust corporations producing some of my food to have my health in mind; I recognize that a corporation's obligation is to make money, not necessarily food that is good for me to eat.

In a world dependent on decreasingly available oil, I would like to use as little of it as possible. Because I like to eat three times a day, my food choices become one way to do that. I would like to eat less overall, eat food that is grown nearby, and preserve more. I would like to increase my support for neighbors who have expertise in food production that I don't. Vegetables. Meat. Grain. Fruit. How can I support them? How can I supplement what they aren't able to provide me? I'll need to ask them and listen carefully.

Community-supported agriculture
Slow Food International

More about my thinking, eating, tolerance, and intolerance another day.

How do you express your beliefs?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Big River Keep on Rolling

Another delightful meal at Burdick's Cafe, this one to remember our wedding, nineteen years ago in Rockingham, Vermont, a short way from the Connecticut River. It was a perfect day, just like today.

Pomegranate cocktail
  • vodka, pomegranate juice, Cointreau, lime juice
Salade lyonnais
  • frisee, warm lightly poached egg, warm bacon dressing, croutons
Braised rabbit
  • cooked in riesling with fennel and mirepoix
  • kale braised with bacon
  • fingerling potatoes
  • served in a proper glass at a proper temperature
Eierlikeur taart
  • layers of pleasure on a fork
  • base of thin flaky pastry glazed with dark chocolate
  • toasted hazelnut cake
  • raspberry coulis
  • vanilla-bean whipped cream
  • egg liqueur
Without realizing it when I ordered it, my meal had a theme: Big Rivers.

First, the Lower Rhine. That is, the river valley just as it begins to broaden into its distributaries and forms one of Europe's largest river deltas. Rabbit, riesling, potatoes, eggs, chocolate, hazelnuts, raspberries, kale, frisee, cream, and bacon are common in this region, the borderlands of Germany's Ruhr and the Netherlands' Gelderland.

Farther afield, I'd like to thank the ancient peoples of the Baltic region between the Vistula and Daugava rivers for vodka, the Atrak river valley's pomegranate cultivators, and Burgundy's wine and salad progenitors. This meal, consistent with previous meals at Burdick's, was a delight to the eye, the palate, and the intellect.

Our server Juliette, a friend of many years, was affectionate, attentive, and accommodating.

The pleasures of John Calvi's company can't be beat. We talked about the past, the present, and the future, a river on its way. Love is inexhaustable, inevitable, ever changing and unchanging. How much different I was 19 years ago. As different as the Connecticut River in Canada is from the same river known at Old Saybrook.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pineapple Ginger Punch

1 cup pineapple juice, strained
1 cup ginger syrup
1 cup sparkling water or sparkling wine
1 sprig fresh mint or lavender
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Thoroughly chill liquid ingredients. Remove leaves from stem of herb. Discard stem and muddle leaves with sugar in a chilled serving container. Add cold liquids, stir, and taste. Correct balance according to taste. Adding ice will dilute flavors.

For pineapple juice
Make your own or buy the very best you can afford. Commercially manufactured juice may have additions of water, sugar, preservatives, and grape, apple, pear, or other juices, and will decrease the intensity of the pineapple's flavor.

For ginger syrup
Very thinly slice 4-inches of fresh ginger root. Place in saucepan with 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar. Cover and bring to boil without stirring or removing the cover. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Without removing cover, take off heat and cool. Strain and chill syrup. After a month, the flavor begins to fade. Recipe may be doubled or halved.

Double Pie Crust

12 oz all-purpose flour (2.5 cups)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
8 oz unsalted butter (2 sticks) cut into 1/4-inch dice, cold
1/4 cup frozen vodka
1/4 cup ice water

1. Blend flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in butter until pieces no bigger than split peas remain. With large spatula, quickly fold in both liquids, until fully incorporated. Dough should clean sides of bowl. With floured hands, press slightly more than half of the dough into a ball, then flatten into a 4-inch disc. Lightly flour, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 4 hours. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

2. Let larger dough disk rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before rolling. Roll to 1/8-inch thickness, a disk about 13 inches in diameter. Roll onto pin and unroll into pie plate. Without pressing, work dough into corner of plate and trim edge to 1/2 inch overhang. Chill. Roll out the second dough disk to 1/8-inch thickness and place on floured, rimless cookie sheet. Chill both doughs for at least 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rimmed cookie sheet on lowest level. Let both doughs rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before working with them. Fill the pie plate, place second dough disk atop pie and trim with scissors to match bottom edge. With fork, seal top and bottom crusts. Crimp, vent, and bake on pre-heated cookie sheet for 30 minutes. Crust will be just beginning to color. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake until crust is nut brown, another 40 minutes. If filling begins to bubble, but crust is not deeply brown, then switch heat source to broil without moving the pie and watch very closely. Crust will begin to color in less than 1 minute. Remove and cool on rack, about 4 hours.

Monday, July 7, 2008

July Cream Puffs

Sunday, July 5
in the kitchen of Sharon Myers, for the 8th year in a row voted Brattleboro's best caterer

Tea-smoked salmon on cucumber and baguette with sesame mayonnaise and scallion

Thai fried rice with grilled salmon
Steamed salmon coconut pudding with red curry in banana-leaf bowl
Pan-Asian coleslaw (1 part sesame oil, 1 part mirin, 1 part rice vinegar, plus cayenne, lime zest, lime juice, salt)
Snap peas and zucchini with red wine and mint

Gateau St.-Honorè

Michael Krasner
John Calvi
Brian Long
Lyn ___
Lynna ___

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday Snack

If necessity is the mother of invention, then is feeling peckish the father of snack creation? I made these up today when the cupboard looked bare. I totally love them.

1 cup whole dates
2 Tablespoons unsalted peanut butter
1 Tablespoon honey
1/16 teaspoon cayenne
pinch fine sea salt
  1. Pit the dates. Using the back of a strong fork, mash the dates into a course pulp.
  2. Mix cayenne and salt into peanut butter. Add honey and stir until blended.
  3. Fold peanut butter mixture into date pulp. It should make a stiff paste. Taste for seasoning. When thoroughly blended, pinch a piece off and, using the palms of your hands, roll into balls about 1.5 cm or one-half inch in diameter.
Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Moroccan Appetizer Mystery

It looks delicious, doesn't it?

What do you think it is?

Place of origin: Morocco

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hors d'oeuvres in May

Cream Puff Dinner
comprised entirely of appetizers

country crackers
red lentil humous
crab cakes with tomato marmalade and cilantro
Thai shrimp cakes with sweet-sour plum sauce
Turkish carrot kofte with lemon and dukkah
Andean arepa with mozzarella and basil
Spiced lamb rolled in filo
Ethiopian-flavored chicken drumsticks
Grilled Swiss chard purses with mozzarella and prosciutto
Vidalia onion with parsley on challah

Skyy vodka, tonic water, and lime
White wine

Guests: Hal
Cooked in Sharon's new kitchen designed by Deborah