Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fermentation Dinner

Late July Fermentation dinner was truly a beautiful site. The food was amazing, the drinks complemented the food and the conversation complemented the entire evening. The ask; everyone bring something you have fermented or pickled from this years crops. Bring a light dinner dish to share and a libation. I prepared Gravlax (cured salmon), with fermented red onions and yogurt dill sauce. I also made peanut “non-noodles” from zucchini, yellow squash, carrots and red onion.

by Penny Rich

3 pounds salmon fillet
1 cup sugar
1 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup sake
1 large bunch fresh dill

Wash and dry salmon, remove any small bones. Combine sugar, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Wash and shake excess water from dill. Place two pieces of plastic wrap on the counter. Spread out half of the dill and cover that with 2 tablespoons of sake. Spread half the sugar, salt, pepper mixture onto the dill. Place the salmon on top of the mixture. Cover with the remaining sugar, salt, peeper mixture, 2 tablespoons of sake and top with dill. Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap. Use more wrap to get a tighter seal. Place the wrapped salmon on a baking tray and cover with another tray. I use 3 bricks to weigh the salmon down, but you can use anything heavy from your pantry i.e. cans. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove weights and drain water from the tray. Flip the salmon over, cover with the second tray and bricks. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. (48 hours – total curing time). Unwrap and wash off dill and remaining mixture. Slice thinly.

Fermented Red Onions
by Penny Rich

Fermenting foods or preserving foods, is centuries old. These foods are a powerful aid to digestion and in some cases protect us from disease. I started fermenting a couple of years ago after meeting April McGreger who sells her fermented vegetables at the Carrboro Farmers Market . Along with her advise, I read Sandor Katz’s book Wild Fermentation and Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions.

3-4 red onions, peeled and sliced thinly on a mandolin
1-2 tablespoons sea salt (no iodine)
1 cup of water, boiled and cooled
1 quart glass jar
1 lid

Layer onion in a wooden or glass mixing bowl placing a little salt in between each layer. Mix with hand to make sure the onions are all covered with salt. Start adding the onions to the jar tapping down hard. You should see some water releasing from the onions. Repeat until all the onions are in the jar making sure to tap them down to make a very tight fit. There should be liquid on top of the onions at this point. Add more water as needed to cover the onions. The top of the onions should be at least one inch from the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for 3 days before transferring to cold storage. Will last on the shelf for 2-3 months.

Peanut “Non-Noodles”
by Penny Rich
Makes 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, cut into strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, julienned with peeler
4 zucchini, julienned with peeler
4 yellow squash, julienned with peeler
1/3 cup smoother peanut butter
3 tablespoon hot water
3 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons red curry paste salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pan on high heat with olive oil. Add onions and garlic, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook just until wilted 5-6 minutes. While the noodles are cooking place the remaining ingredients peanut butter through red curry paste in a blender and whiz until combined. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. While the noodles are still hot, toss with sauce. Place in a serving bowl and refrigerate until cool about 1-2 hours. Serve cold or reheat gently in the micro.
 *I bought my julienne peeler at Kitchen Works, University Mall, Chapel Hill

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Corn, corn and more corn

End of Summer

Wow! Did the summer go by fast?
So the kids are back to school, the routines have started again and you still have to get dinner on the table. If you have visited your farmers market lately it is over flowing with corn. So why not take advantage of this seasonal vegetable and try these recipes.
To use fresh corn in a recipe remove husks and silk. Use a soft brush to remove any silk that will not peel away. To remove kernels, cut off one end so the ear will sit level on a cutting board or in a bowl. Hold the top of the ear firmly and use a sharp knife to cut straight down the cob, taking off 2–3 rows of kernels at a time.

Smoky Corn Cakes
by Penny Rich
Serves 6
The flavors of sweet corn, smoky cheese and chilies make this dish a summer favorite. Enhance the flavor by serving with a sun-dried tomato pesto.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, finely diced
3 cups fresh corn, or frozen
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, finely diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 eggs
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup smoked mozzarella cheese, grated

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and salt to taste. Sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add corn and cayenne, sauté for 5 minutes more. Stir in the jalapeno pepper and lemon juice and remove to bowl to cool.
In a medium bowl mix eggs, ricotta and milk. Stir in flour, baking powder and grated cheese. Stir in the cooled corn mixture. Spoon batter onto griddle heated to medium high. Cook 3 minutes on each side. Serve with pesto.
Easy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto; In a food processor, fitted with the metal blade, pulse together, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, 1/2 cup fresh basil, 1- 8 ounce jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Thin with more olive oil as needed.

Corn and Crab Chowder
by Penny Rich
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
2 cups corn, 4 ears or frozen
2 cups red potatoes, diced
2 cups 2% milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups broth, chicken, fish or vegetable
1 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1 cup chanterelle mushrooms, chopped*
1/2 pound crabmeat*

Heat oil in a Dutch oven and add scallions. Sauté for 2 minutes then add corn through thyme. Simmer for 30 minutes until potatoes are soft. Do not boil. In a small bowl combine cornstarch and evaporated milk. Wisk to dissolve the cornstarch. Add the mixture to the soup stirring for 3-5 minutes until the soup thickens. Add mushrooms and crab. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.
*You can replace chanterelle mushrooms with any wild mushroom
*Crabmeat can be found in the fresh fish section of most markets. Make sure to remove any shells that may have been left during cleaning. Canned crab can also be used.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fresh Fig Jam

Fig Jam
by Penny Rich

Thanks to Marcie and Bill Ferris for sharing their freshly harvested figs with me.

2 pounds ripe freshly harvested figs, washed and quartered
1 – 1 1/4 cups sugar, depending on the sweetness of the figs
Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
Pinch of salt

Combine everything in a medium saucepan. Bring to a bubble and turn on to a simmer stirring constantly. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove lid* and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour more allowing the mixture to thicken, stirring often. Cool and jar. You can process the jars for you pantry, freeze them or just eat the jam fresh. Will last up to 3-4 weeks in the fridge.

*I like a smoother consistency so I hit it with the stick blender at this point to remove some of the larger chunks. You can leave yours chunky.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Brooks Birthday Banana Cake with Chocolate Pecan Streusel

Every year for Brooks’ birthday I make her favorite Chocolate Babka , or as my kids used to call it Chocolate Bread. This year I thought I would mix it up a bit and try a new recipe using bananas and chocolate. Truth of the matter is that I bought to many bananas and they were beginning to get brown sports. Once that happens in my house, no one eats them, so they become bread. This year they became Brooks’ Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Pecan Streusel

For the Streusel
In a small mixing bowl combine
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup – 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
6 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325°
You can cook this two ways. Option 1 in a bundt pan, streusel in the center and on top of the cake or, Option 2 decorative bundt pan, streusel in the center of the cake only. Both cooking methods result in a wonderful cake. I prepared option 2 for the birthday girl.
Butter and flour your pan. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment beat the sugar and butter adding the eggs one at a time. Mix until fluffy. Add the bananas and buttermilk mix until fluffier. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
Pour half the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle half the streusel, and pour the remaining batter over the streusel. If you are topping the cake with the streusel, sprinkle the remaining streusel over the cake. If you are only using the streusel for the center, store in an airtight jar and save it for your next cake.
Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Pie

Lemon Ricotta Cheese Pie
By Penny Rich
Inspired by Viv Olkin

1 cup of Graham cracker crumbs
½ stick 4 tablespoons of butter, melted
Make crumbs by whizzing crackers in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Place in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and stir to wet all the crumbs. Place in a 9 inch greased pie pan and press down to form into the pan. Bake 350° for 5 minutes. Let cool
3 eggs
1 pint of ricotta
3 tablespoons AP Flour
2 teaspoons lemon rind
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
¾ cup plain yogurt

Place eggs, ricotta, flour, lemon and vanilla in a blender; blend until smooth. Pour into a mixing bowl; add sugar and yogurt, mix. Pour into crust. Bake 325° for 35-45 minutes or until the center just jiggles slightly when the pan is moved. CHILL.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Matzoh - cardboard into gourmet

Ah! It’s Matzoh time again. How many days do we have to eat this stuff? There are some great recipes being published using matzoh, yes that’s right turn cardboard into gourmet.

Here are a few of my family’s favorites.

Dirty Matzoh
From Matzoh Ball Gumbo, by Marcie Cohen Ferris
8-10 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil (omit if using cooked giblets)
1 cup chicken livers, finely chopped (vegetarian version 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
Salt and Pepper
9 pieces of unsalted matzoh, broken
1 stick of butter (margarine if using liver)
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
Garlic cloves, minced
½ cup parsley, chopped
3-4 teaspoons Creole seasoning
½ cup chicken stock (vegetable stock for vegetarian version)
1 large egg, scrambled

Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously grease a 9×9 inch glass baking dish or casserole.
If using the livers, heat the oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Carefully add the livers and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper. Cook, turning often and scraping the bottom of the pan, until livers are browned but still pink in the center, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl (don’t wash the skillet). Let livers cool slightly and then chop.
If you are making the vegetarian version cook mushrooms with the onion mixture.
Meanwhile, place the matzohs in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand, pressing them down into the water, until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, pressing out the water and breaking up the matzohs with your hands. Dry the bowl; return matzohs to the bowl.
In the same skillet, over medium heat, melt all but 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook, stirring often, until tender, 8 minutes. Stir in the parsley, Creole seasoning, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Scrape the mixture into the matzohs.
Add the livers or giblets (or mushrooms), broth, and egg and mix well. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter.
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the surface is browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes longer.

Matzo Toffee
by Penny Rich
Pack this treat in your child’s lunch box and watch how many friends he makes.

4 pieces of matzo
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts, I like pecans (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips, I like semi sweet

Break matzo into 2 inch square pieces and place on a non-stick pan. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and butter. Bring to a boil and continue to cook on low heat for 5 minutes until combine stirring constantly. Turn off heat add chopped nuts and pour over matzo. Bake at 350•F for 8 minutes. While matzo is baking melt chocolate chips in a microwave. Pour over the baked matzo and spread evenly to coat all the pieces. Refrigerate until chocolate sets up.

Matzo Nachos
By Brody Rich-Voorhees

3 squares of matzo
2-3 tablespoons hot salsa
1/4 cup cheddar/jack cheese, shredded

Break matzo in pieces resembling corn chips. Place 1/2 the pieces on a plate top with some salsa and cheese. Do a second layer ending with cheese. Pop in the microwave for 1-2 minutes depending on the power of you microwave. YUM!

Matzo Pizza
By Penny Rich
Serves 4

3 eggs
2 cups matzo, broken in 2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add the matzo, salt and pepper blend well.
Heat the oil in a 9-inch nonstick skillet. Add the egg mixture and cook until the eggs set and the bottom of the crust is golden brown. Slip the crust onto a large plate and invert back into the skillet onto the uncooked side. Cook for 2 minutes until brown. Remove pan from heat.
Spoon the tomato sauce over the top of the crust and top with mozzarella cheese.
Bake the pizza in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Remove the pizza from the oven and cut into wedges.
*If you non-stick pan has a plastic handle, cover with a double layer of foil before placing in the oven to cook.

My Favorite
1 square of Matzoh
Fresh butter from Mapleview Farm
Kosher salt

Yep you go it. Spread the butter on the matzoh, pinch a little salt on top and consume. Wash down with wine. {not the sweet stuff. Yuck!}

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patty's Day Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread
by Penny Rich
Adapted from a recipe by Delia Fitzpatrick

The Corned Beef is easy. Just throw it in the crock pot with some potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, spices, stout and let it cook for 8-9 hours on low. Add a head of cabbage and cook for 2 more hours. But dinner would not be complete without my mother in law's Irish Soda Bread.

4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cups sugar
8 tablespoons chilled butter cut in 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups raisins
1 egg
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F
In a large mixing bowl combine flour through sugar. Mix well. Add cubed butter and blend with a pastry knife until mixture resembles a course meal, add raisins and stir to combine. In a small bowl mix the egg and 2 cups of buttermilk. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and stir until mixed. Do not over mix.
Form the dough into a round shape. Butter a 4-6 quart cast iron pot. Place dough in the pot and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of flour. With a sharp knife make a cross in the dough. Bake for 1 hour.