Our beautiful friend Amelie invited us to a Raclette Night last week! For those of you sadly not in the know, raclette is a French (or Swiss, depending on whom you ask) cheese dish in which a table-top grill is used to heat individual-sized cheese pans that are then poured onto bread, potatoes, and meat.
Dinner consisting of mainly cheese?
Um, yes please. (Or, my French excuse: “Oui, oui, c’est vendredi!”)
Just upon entering Amelie’s home the wafting scent of fromage came adrift down the hallway, which might sound unappetizing but was in fact so enticing it acted as a homing beacon.
Untraditional as it may be, I wonder if pouring raclette over vegetables could also be fair game. If I get the green light, next time I might show up with a basket full of CSA broccoli or brussels sprouts and get crazy.
After the dairy-palooza, as if a mountain of cheese and starch wasn’t enough of a perfect meal, Amelie made an exquisite tart tartine for dessert.All in all a perfect evening full of food, drink, and cheer. Oh, and also cheese. Really stellar, stinky cheese.
The most winterific green there is: Brussels Sprouts. Everyone knows it.
Late in our CSA season we tend to get a bunch of rooty vegetables like fennel and heartier greens like brussels sprouts.
An easy and tasty fallback cold night dinner is to roast them both up together. Slice the fennel, then cut the stems off the sprouts, and cut them in halves or thirds. Throw both the sprouts and fennel in a pan with sliced shallots, olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Roast the combo at 375°.
You’ll know it’s done by the heavenly aroma, but it should take about 35-40 minutes. The sprouts will be soft and there should be some crispy bits (which are the pieces you should hog for yourself).
Serve next to something grainy with lemon, herbs and garlic, and remember winter won’t last forever and that brussels sprouts make your insides warmer. Enjoy!
This week we got an absurdly sized kohlrabi in our CSA, much too big for a slaw and as we’d done a coconut curry earlier in the week our Kohlrabi Curry felt redundant. I looked online for a little inspiration, and found that people use kohlrabi in lieu of potatoes for latkes! (Or fritters for the less Upper West Sidey of my readers.)
Fritters sounded phenomenal and not a big stretch for a Wednesday. And thus, the standard recipe:
2 small bulbs kohlrabi
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Vegetable, canola, or olive oil for frying
Our kohlrabi was so big and juicy that we not only doubled the eggs, but also tripled the flour. We also had some fantastically aromatic dill that I chopped and added to the kohlrabi mixture.
Localfoods.about.com gives the following instructions, with a few little edits and tweakings of my own:
Peel the kohlrabi or chop the skins off with a knife. Grate the kohlrabi on a large holes of a grater or shred it in a food processor. Put the grated kohlrabi onto some towels, twist them together, and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
Crack the egg (or eggs if you’re doubling) into a large bowl and beat it with a fork. Combine the kohlrabi and the egg and chopped dill. Sprinkle the mixture with the flour and salt and stir to combine thoroughly.
Heat a generous layer of oil (about 1/4 inch deep) in a large frying pan or pot over medium-high heat until the pan is evenly very hot. A bit of batter dropped into the pan should sizzle immediately.
Put generous spoonfuls of batter into the pan and flatten a bit with the back of the spoon. You should be able to fit about four fritters in a large pan at a time. Partially cover and cook until the fritters are browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes, flip, partially cover again, and cook until they are tender and browned on both sides. Transfer the fritters to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately.
While the fritters were frying I chopped up some of our CSA apples and put them in a pot, covered them with water, and let them cook down into applesauce. It’s bonkers to buy applesauce when it is this simple to make. And your local apple flavor will be massively more delicious than Mott’s, I promise! We also squeezed half a lemon on some Greek yogurt and added a swizzle of honey.
Dinner: Kohlrabi Fritters with Applesauce and Lemon-Honey Yogurt and a nice big share salad.
In past years we’ve given you Dabbled with Apples in which we stupidly went apple picking despite the plethora of apples coming our way via our CSA (going picking is just so irresistible in October), and Appletopia in which we provided three things to do with your apple bounty, and made an insensitive Steve Jobs joke.
This year amongst the piles of apples accumulating in our kitchen I have made use of them in the following ways:
Apples and peanut butter
Apple, arugula, and sharp cheddar on a croissant
And most recently, apple muffins
I found this recipe on the blog addapinch.com and they were really straightforward to make and a serious crowd pleaser. They were gone before I could even blink.
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
Serves: 12 – (or more realistically, four… in one sitting)
2 cups all-purpose flour (+ 2 teaspoons for coating apples)
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (+ ½ teaspoon for coating apples)
2 cups diced apples – I added a squeeze of lemon to them so they didn’t brown and had a slight zestiness
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup milk
For the Topping:
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375º F. Add muffin liners to your muffin tins.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Toss together diced apples, squeeze of lemon, and 2 teaspoons of flour to coat apples in a separate bowl. Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar until lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Add an egg, one at a time, taking care to fully incorporate before adding the other. Mix in vanilla.
Gently fold in flour mixture, alternating with milk. Stir until just combined. Fold in diced apples and scoop mixture into prepared muffin tins, filling about ⅔ to ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Prepare topping for muffins while the muffins are baking by melting the butter and allowing to cool slightly. Pour butter into a separate bowl sized easy for dipping tops of muffins. Mix together granulated sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl and set aside.
Once muffins have baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the muffin tin. Then, remove each muffin and dip first into the melted butter and then into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place onto a plate to finish cooling.
I wish I had more pictures to share – but this is the last lonely muffin.
Which will be gone by the time I’ve hit “Publish.”
… if on your second week of grad school you fell bouldering and fractured your ankle?
It turns out – if it were me – that I would ignore the foreboding pile of books on my desk and invite some loved ones over to play board games and keep me company, whilst picking at the leftovers of this week’s CSA. Treats like, for example:
Share cherry tomatoes with share garlic, local mozzarella, basil, balsamic and oil.
Share green and yellow string beans drizzled in olive oil with coriander and sea salt.
Share greens and arugula, with share peaches and non-share pistachios.
And fruitcake made with share plums.
Plus the additions of bread, cheese, falafels, hummus, and copious amounts of ankle-numbing liquor brought from my personal fan club, it could theoretically turn into a spread worth sharing.
Later – again, just if it were me – I would deteriorate into a pile, make a fort, and watch a movie I’ve seen 10,000 times.
Lessons learned from the past week:
When injured, let your friends do the cooking.
… And also the cleaning.
Mean Girls is only funny 9,999 times. On the 10,000th it loses some of its punch.
Grad school is harder on crutches – as are revolving doors.
Your partner can only provide so much help without sparks erupting from his ears.
Settlers of Catan is the worst… but I will likely start a war of mythical proportions by saying that out loud.
And in the back of this photograph if you squint really hard you might notice a tiki bar in the way back of the back patio… which looked to us like a pretty good place to enjoy a nice lunch.
The Boys’ House (as our abode was referred, comparable to The Girls’ House, although obviously there was some intermingling what with couples) spent a great majority of our downtime lazing about by the pool or breakfasting on the deck and basking in Caribbean sun. But we also took time to cook a little, including this delightful lunch consisting of a salad with beans and mango (Laurel), a pasta dish (Ben), fried plantains (I’ll credit Evan, but mostly so he feels included), and a smoothie made of mango, papaya, and orange (Brian).Nice teamwork, Boys’ House. Communal living anyone?
For our next ridiculous stage of Summer 2014, Evan and I went to Curaçao to celebrate our wonderful friends Sam and Shoshana’s wedding. (You may remember Sam and Shosh from dumpling making.) As one of our favorite couples of all time, this was a magical and weepy affair, and the week surrounding it was hands down the best time any group of people on Planet Earth could possibly have. We are incredibly sad to be back to real life.
While food didn’t play a hugely pivotal role in our trip, there were some exquisite catered affairs, a visit to a marketplace, the best mangos I have ever had – bar none – a fishing trip, and some clichéd beachy drinks in the mix.Having made a promise to a pal back home that I would drink at least one “something disgusting with an umbrella,” below is a Curaçao Piña Colada, which is a piña colada with a drizzle of Blue Curaçao in it.
The piña colada was both piñay and colady, but I gotta say that swizzle really made the grade on the disgusting… (Sorry it was umbrella-less. I did my best.)
Given Evan’s love of making bread, the advent of Panzanella into our lives by one Chelsea Bardot Lewis has been pure revelation.
Panzanella is a salad popular in Tuscany made primarily with tomatoes and stale bread.
If you’ve ever made bread on your own before, you know its shelf life varies vastly from store-bought bread. This little trick has come incredibly in handy, and has yet to fail us as a spectacular midday (or late-day) meal. Chelsea’s Panazella was made with – exclusively local, and some even garden fresh (!) – tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, basil, and chunks of quickly-staling bread. With a simple dressing of olive oil, balsamic, and heaps of garlic (you may recall we were knee-deep, literally, in heaps of garlic), it was a positively heavenly salad.
Perfect for a late summer meal where all these food groups are prolific, and even more perfect for a two-person family who can’t, despite trying, quite finish an entire loaf of bread in one day, thanks always for the inspiration. ♥.
The local food movement in Vermont is impressively (almost oppressively) high-functioning. It is greatly inspirational and makes me really bitter with New York for not catching up… But we’ll get there. On a breezy Saturday morning Chelsea brought us to the Montpellier Farmers Market where we perused piles and piles of beautiful vegetables grown from Chelsea and Nate’s cohorts and neighbors.
Additionally, there were buttery cheeses to try, sheepskins to rub ones face into, pierogi to nibble upon, and a dynamite green tea milkshake made with rice milk and Vermont maple syrup.
As well as the spectacular (and multitudinous) farmers markets, Chelsea and Nate also brought us to market-markets dedicated exclusively to local – often organic – produce, some beautiful local bakeries full of scrumptious treats, and inundated us with local beer and cheese – and not just Cabot (!), although Cabot definitely held its own.