November 27, 2010

DB Autumnberry Crostata

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.
Ever in search of a better pie crust I was trilled to try out this month's recipe for pasta frolla, Italy's contribution to the pastry dough world.  I made our host's variation that adds in coconut flour and whole wheat pastry flour to supplement the all-purpose flour.  For the fat I used a combination of two thirds solid extra virgin coconut oil with one third Earth Balance margarine.  I filled my tart with the spiced autumnberry jam I made earlier in the month.  Then because Alex and I nibbled too much on the scraps, which were very tasty, I added some pecans on top for crunch and decoration.  It was a simple but tasty tart that I brought along to a Black Friday lunch with my parents.  Thanks for the challenge Simona!

-Go to our host Simona's blog briciole for her two pasta frolla recipes and her aunt's pastry cream recipe.
-Simona used the recipes for pasta frolla from the book Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, follow the link to read it on Google books.
-Come across any autumn olive berries (autumnberries) still left on bushes in the woods?  Make a batch of this jam.  The berries are even sweeter after the frost. 
-Visit the Daring Kitchen and see more crostatas made this month by browsing the Daring Baker Blogroll.

A slice of autumnberry crostata
 This Thanksgiving my son Alex and I made corn husk dolls using husks from our homegrown Bloody Butcher corn.  The corn itself is drying for our next project of grinding it into cornmeal. 

November 16, 2010

Shovel-cut Mashed Potatoes

  1. In the spring, gather your newborn daughter in a baby carrier and dig a trench.
  2. Have your older son toss the leftover, sprouting potatoes from your farm share and the seed potatoes you saved from last year haphazardly into said trench.
  3. Shovel over dirt hastily because your newborn daughter now wants to go inside and eat.
  4. Allow weeds to take over the garden as you spend your summer lazing on the beach...
  5. Get a bonus sunny day in November and remember that you still haven't dug up the potatoes.
  6. Throw the now 7 month-old daughter in the baby carrier and grab a shovel.
  7. Have a ton of fun with your older son seeing who can find the biggest potatoes and the biggest earthworms.
  8. Get your kitchen sink full of dirt washing the potatoes off.
  9. Have your son peel all the shovel-cut potatoes while you nurse the baby.
  10. Take time out to bandage the peeler cuts.
  11. Place the peeled potatoes into a pot of cold salted water.  Bring to a boil and cook until you "think" they are all tender.  
  12. Realize only after draining and smashing half that some are still underdone.  Kick yourself for not thinking about how the different varieties you grew are going to cook at different times.  
  13. Throw everything into a glass dish and microwave for 4 minutes. Mutter curse words to yourself in your head.  Retrieve exploring baby from the bathroom.
  14. Remove the potatoes from the microwave and toss them back into the pan along with unsweetened plain almond milk and Earth Balance margarine.  Smash the heck out of them.
  15. Serve with salt and pepper praying that no one will not notice the minuscule amount of still crunchy potatoes.
  16. While eating make grand plans with your son for next year's garden. 
Alex contemplating the meaning of life, or the meaning of potatoes?

November 13, 2010

Spiced Autumn Berry Jam and Vegan Lemon Yogurt Scones

The wild autumn berries on our land have been ripe for a few weeks now.  Autumn berry is a more attractive common name I found for autumn olive berries, scientifically known as Elaeagnus umbellata.  We have a ton of these invasive shrubs on our property and while they make for tasty snacking on hikes they shine the most in jam and fruit leather.

My son Alex and I picked a big load and I decided to spice up, literally, one batch of this year's jam.  Since I find the berry's flavor similar to cranberries, I chose to flavor them like my favorite cranberry relish.  This relish, which I typically make for Thanksgiving, includes oranges, cinnamon and ginger.  I also was craving fruit and black pepper together so I gave the jam a little extra heat with freshly ground black pepper.  To try out some of the jam I made lemon scones with coconut milk yogurt.  The scones were a special request from Alex and a great match for the jam.

For pictures of autumn berry bushes and more information see my first post on autumnberries, Autumn Olive Jam and Fruit Leather or read more about autumn berries and their controversal status.  Don't have access to autumn berries?  Buy some Michigan made jam from Food for Thought.

Spiced Autumn Berry Jam
Makes ~9 cups

5 cups seedless autumn berry pulp*
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
7 cups sugar
1 box SURE.JELL Fruit Pectin

*To make the berry pulp:  Pull the berries from their stems, wash and drain them.  Add them to a pan with 1/2 cup of water for every 4 cups of berries and cook over medium high heat until the seeds are separating from the fruit flesh.  Use a food mill to remove the seeds.  Cool and store the prepared pulp in the fridge until needed.  Note that the pulp will separate into a milky liquid with red particles when cooled in the fridge. You will probably need at least 8 cups of berries to get the required 5 cups of pulp.

-Follow the standard SURE.JELL Directions for Berry Jam but add the ginger, zest, cinnamon and pepper along with the pectin at the start of the recipe.

Lemon Coconut Milk Yogurt Scones
Based on this Orange Yogurt Scone recipe from Taste of Home 
Makes 8-10 mini scones

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons coconut oil, solid
6 tablespoons plain So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt
1-2 tablespoons pearl or coarse sugar, optional

-Preheat your oven to 400 degress F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
-Sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Then after that is whisked or sifted well add in the zest and stir or whisk to evenly distribute.
-Cut in the solid coconut oil with a fork or pastry cutter until there are no pieces of solid oil larger than a pea.
-Add the yogurt and stir in just until the dough comes together.
-Scoop with a medium disher (mini ice cream scoop) onto the lined baking sheet and press down the mounds slightly.  Or you can gather the dough into a flattened circle and cut into wedges.
-Sprinkle over the pearl or coarse sugar.
-Bake for ~12 minutes until light golden brown.

Penny came along for the berry picking.
Later that evening I found a bunch of berries that had fallen in her hood and gotten smashed, eww!
She and Fritz love to look out the doors and windows together.
P.S. Thanks to all those who are rooting for me in the Iron Foodie challenge. I got in! The box of mystery ingredients should be arriving early next week. Alex and I can't wait to see what's inside!

November 2, 2010

Application for Iron Foodie 2010

Iron Foodie 2010 | Here's Why that will be me: -- Fine Bulk Foods The Foodie BlogRoll

Marx Foods and the Foodie BlogRoll are teaming up to sponsor the first Iron Foodie challenge!  25 chosen  contestants will receive a package of 8 ingredients from Marx Foods' exotic collection of edibles.  There could be geoduck or black chicken or baby coconuts or matsutake mushrooms or fennel pollen!!!  Then the contestants will have to use 3 of the given ingredients to create a dish that could win $200 in store credit.  To begin the selection process I'm submitting these five questions so they can evaluate my worthiness.  Cross your fingers for me!

1. Why do you want to compete in this challenge?
I'm addicted cooking competition shows and would love a little taste of the excitement.  My eight year old son and I watch shows together and he would love to be the guest judge and taste my entry. 

2. Limitations of time/space notwithstanding, whose kitchen would you like to spend the day in & why?   Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, James Beard, Marie-Antoine Careme, or The Swedish Chef?
Marie-Antoine Careme.  I'd love to see the work that went into such elaborate food without the aid of blenders, food processors, stand mixers and all the other gadgets we have today.  It would be fun even if I was turning the spit all day-- I would miss my iPad though. 

3. What morsel are you most likely to swipe from family & friends’ plates when they aren’t looking?
Any crispy pork fat--stray bacon, crunchy end bits from barbecue, a bit of caramelized ham fat.  It's a public service I provide free of charge.

4. Sum your childhood up in one meal.
Cold tofu, cheese pirogi, and butter-dipped steamed artichokes.  As odd as this combination sounds it would not have been unusual for me as a kid.  

5. The one mainstream food you can’t stand?
Store bought cookies.  Cookies are ridiculously easy to make and the store bought ones taste like cardboard.