Archive for June, 2008

2008 CSA, Week 2

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

2008 CSA Week 2

Bok Choi-2 heads
Chinese Cabbage-1 head
Bright Lights Swiss Chard-1 bunch
Grand Rapids Lettuce-1 head
Red Sails Lettuce-1 head
Red Tide Lettuce-1 head
Mizuna-1 bunch
Garlic Scapes-8
Summer Savory-1 bunch

Things are still pretty green this week. I asked the Magic 8 Ball and the outlook is good for salads. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the summer savory. It smells fantastic so I’ll have to hunt up something good. There’s definitely more garlic scape pesto in my future. Mmm.

every penny counts

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

One of my more favorite food sites to read is King Arthur Flour – Bakers’ Banter. It features good recipes and pictures, but the part that really gets me is at the bottom of each entry, they tell you how much it costs to make the particular item vs. the price of the comparable store-bought item. I love that all my baking is really Saving Me Money. Or something. Frugal Franny, that’s me. We won’t talk about the Shinzi Katoh bento that’s on it’s way to me from Japan.

flowers outside, flour inside

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

With all the good basil in the garden and the garlic scape pesto in my fridge, I was jonesing for panini sandwiches. It was kind of, sort of, cool enough on Sunday for me to justify turning on the oven to bake bread.
I mixed up the sponge Sunday morning and had just enough AP flour to do it. I saw King Arthur AP at Trader Joe’s earlier in the week for $3.99/bag but I foolishly didn’t buy it. At the Grade A, all their King Arthur flour was $4.99/5 LB bag. I am quite curious as to how/why TJ is selling it for so much less. Anyway. Since all the flour was the same price, I decided to try the King Arthur bread flour. Given that these loaves are about 65% AP and 35% bread flour, I can’t vouch yet for the performance of the bread flour, but these loaves turned out very well. Good sourdough flavor and a good crumb. Not too holey, which is good for sandwiches. The warm house was good for dough rising.


On a recommendation from Bill, I got “The Perfect Scoop” by David Lebovitz out from the Library last week. Jeremie read through it and decided we should make the Vietnamese Coffee ice cream, partly because it doesn’t involve any cooking. It was quite easy to put together and the ice cream is delicious.

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
Adapted from “The Perfect Scoop” by David Lebovitz.

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream 12 oz sweetened condensed milk
12 oz cups brewed strong coffee
4 oz half-and-half
1 tsp ground coffee

Whisk together the condensed milk, coffee, and half-and-half. Add in the ground coffee, whisk briefly.
Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
The ice cream will be soft. Transfer to a covered container and freeze until firm enough to scoop.

2008 CSA, Week 1

Friday, June 20th, 2008

2008 CSA Week 1

Bok Choi-2 heads
Chinese Cabbage-1 head
Red Sail Lettuce-1 head
Buttercrunch Lettuce-1 head
Rhubarb-1 bunch
Green Mizuna-1 bunch
Red Vein Mizuna-1 bunch
Garlic Scapes-4
Sage with flowers-1 bunch

So far we’ve eaten most of the Red Sail lettuce and I used up the rhubarb making jam! I was going to make garlic scape pesto on Wednesday night but I had so many other projects going (putting vegetables away, making jam, making rhubarb sauce, dying my hair purple…) that I didn’t feel like doing it by the time Jeremie was home for dinner. There will definitely be some garlic scape pesto this weekend, either Saturday night or Sunday.

I’ve been craving rhubarb jam but whenever I see it in a shop it tends to be $20 a jar. I found one stand at the farmers market that sold some strawberry rhubarb jam but they used corn syrup in their recipe, so, no. I made mine with a nice jam sugar from Belgium.

rhubarb jam, in progress

Somehow I neglected to take a picture of the finished jam, before or after jarring. Sad. It’s pretty!

Happy Espresso

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Good morning nice people.

Happy Espresso

The CSA starts today! Very exciting.

rhubarb, i still love you

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Out here on the East Coast it’s been way too crazy hot to turn on the oven. I had bought some rhubarb at the farmers market late last week and I wanted to cook it up, thinking I’d be getting more today. More on that later. Last night I made rhubarb sauce. Just rhubarb, some sugar, and a teeny amount of water. Delicious! I enjoy rhubarb sauce over angel food cake, which I had to buy because of said too hotness for the ovenness.

It’s a little cooler today and I could probably justify turning on the oven to bake a pie but the universe does not want me to. The people I bought the rhubarb from last week didn’t have any this week. A different stand had some but it was on the limp side and was $5! For a small bunch! That’s a little spendy for rhubarb, much as I love it. We did have tamales from the Boxcar Cantina stand and they were very good. The best I’ve ever had? Not quite. Best I’ve had outside of New York City from Somewhere That’s Not Out Of Business? Yes.

In case you’re wondering, said market is the Westport Farmers Market. They’re open on Thursdays.

One week to go

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

The CSA starts in one week. Exciting! The freezer is in decent shape but hopefully we can polish off a bit more before the cookable & freezable veggies start arriving.

I enjoy gardening. Even though the CSA provides more food than we can actually eat (hence the freezer) I grow a nice chunk of veggies & herbs myself. This year is a little more intense than last year. In the good name of ‘crop rotation’ I decided to plant tomatoes in pots this year. Since I was going to plant a couple of pots, the reasoning went something like “well why don’t I just plant a bunch of pots?”
I found a couple of really pretty large terracotta pots with wooden stands at Crate & Barrel when we were up in Cambridge over Memorial weekend. I already had two large plastic terracotta-colored pots, a long green windowbox, and an assortment of smaller pots.

I’m not so great at planning ahead when it comes to my garden. If I was, I would start leafing through the seed catalogs in February and I’d order things well in advance. Instead, I go to a nursery and buy whatever they happen to have once the weather gets nice enough to plant. I cleared a bit of the patch and planted some peas mid-May, before we went to Japan. The rest went in June 1. I went shopping in the morning and planted in the afternoon. Of course, I got a little carried away at the nursery and bought more tomato plants than I was planning on. A couple of them had to go in the garden but I put them in different spots than I usually do. Here’s what we have: 8 tomato plants, 1 eggplant, 4 cucumbers, peas, mint, cilantro, thyme, sage, chives, arugula, dill, eucalyptus, basil, and a few pretty annuals. Some are on the “upstairs” deck in pots and some are in the garden.



I need to take some progress pictures and a few shots of the “downstairs” garden.

rhubarb, i love you

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

It’s quite late but I’m not at all tired, even though I should be. I’m hanging out in Chicago with Lani for the weekend. We did a lot of walking today. I mapped it out using because we were curious and it looks like it was just over 7 miles. This morning we went to Dollop coffee for awhile to chat and relax before going on to the beach. Lani had talked up their pie and one of several flavors they had today was strawberry rhubarb. It was delicious and I definitely want to make some variant of rhubarb pie next week. If you find yourself in Chicago, Dollop is a very nice place to spend some time. And eat pie. I’m nowhere near hungry right now but if I knew there was a piece of that pie in the kitchen, I would go eat it.
Note: the pie is baked by Hoosier Mama Pie Company!

back in bread

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Thursday night I started a white sourdough sponge.

On Friday I worked from home, which allowed me to bake off some bread while I was waiting for various bits of code to compile. First off – sourdough! We planned to have hot dogs Saturday night for dinner and I wanted to see how sourdough would work for hot dog buns. I finished the sourdough dough with 2+ cups of whole wheat flour, for about a 60/40 white/whole wheat split. Half the dough went towards the rolls and the other half became cheddar pepper sourdough. When it was time for the final shaping of the bread, I stretched it out into a rectangle and sprinkled it with cheddar and fresh cracked pepper. I rolled it up like a jelly roll and then let it finish rising in the brotform.

sourdough rolls cheddar pepper sourdough

The cheddar pepper is sticking its tongue out at you.

Once that was done, I went on to Challah! I tried the recipe from a new book in my collection, Secrets of a Jewish Baker. It’s very interesting in that it gives each recipe with three possible modifications for making the dough: by hand, in the food processor, or in a heavy duty stand mixer. The author recommends the heavy duty stand mixer and luckily, I have a good one. The stand mixer modifications end up making more dough than the standard recipe, so instead of two breads it yields three. I have little use for three challahs in one Shabbat and we usually struggle to make it through even one standard size challah, so I decided to make 6 “small” challahs (they weren’t *that* small). I froze 4 of them and baked off two.

unbaked challahs

As you can see, I tried the ‘6 Strand Braid’ for two of the challahs. My 6 strand technique needs work. Here are the two I baked off:

baked challah

The challah was delicious. Eggy but not too eggy, sweet but not too sweet. The sourdough rolls were good, but a little too hard on the inside to be a perfect hot dog bun. Perhaps I’ll try them again using only white flour to see if that makes a difference.