Savory Black Pepper–Parmesan Cookies

2 hard-boiled egg yolks, pressed through a fine sieve
2 cups flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
3/4 cup chilled butter, chopped
2 Tbsp. heavy cream

In a food processor, pulse yolks, flour, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Add butter and pulse until it reaches the texture of coarse meal. Add cream and pulse just until dough forms a ball. Roll out between 2 sheets of parchment paper to 1/2 inch thickness. Place dough, still in the paper, on a baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes. Remove top sheet of paper and bake 10 minutes at 350F. Remove from oven, cut into 1 1/2-inch diamonds, and return to oven to bake until golden brown, another 18–20 minutes. Cool on baking sheet placed on a wire rack.
Yield: about 6 dozen.

Adapted from a recipe by Bon Appétit.

Some more recipes to help use up all those Easter eggs:

Incredible Egg recipe collection

Curried egg salad sandwiches

Gribiche (hard-boiled egg) dressing, which can be used to make:
Arctic char with greens and gribiche dressing
New potatoes with Parmesan, black pepper, and gribiche dressing
Sauteed asparagus and morels with gribiche dressing

Bacon and egg tortellini

Campanelle with eggs and capers

And here’s a set of recipes for natural egg dyes to help start the whole circus off.

Getting the shells off
As Farmers’ Market shoppers, you’ve no doubt noticed that those lovely fresh eggs tend to cling to their shells when boiled. One way to avoid this problem (or at least attempt to) is to buy your eggs a month in advance and let them age, or buy them at a supermarket where it’s been done for you. However, since egg production increases as the chickens get more daylight, there will be more eggs closer to Easter, and anyway who wants to eat old eggs? Another option a hen-keeping friend suggests is to leave the eggs on the kitchen counter 1-2 days before cooking, which has a similar effect and adds the advantage of bringing the eggs to room temperature, which helps keep them from cracking when you cook them.

One trick I’ve had good luck with is to peel the eggs as soon as they’re cool enough to handle; not, alas, an option if you need to refrigerate the eggs overnight so you can hide them in the morning. This leaves us with the nearly-as-effective technique of peeling them under warm running water, angling the egg so the water has as good a chance as possible to seep in between the egg and shell. Yes, this goes against food safety advice, so work carefully and consider the risk. Leave the eggs in the fridge until the last moment (giving them a good many hours to rechill after being found) and work with a pot of very cold water at hand to drop the eggs into as soon as they’re naked.

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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Newsletters: 27 Oct., 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 27 Oct., 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
As you were probably expecting, here are some fun Halloween recipes. I have always loved Halloween and enjoy seeing all the food art it inspires.

Chocolate mice
1 c (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 c sour cream
12 chocolate wafer cookies, finely crushed
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa
1/2 c powdered sugar
butter (optional; for greasing your hands)
24 cinnamon imperials, mini chocolate chips, or mini M&Ms, for eyes
24 almond slices, for ears
red and black licorice laces, for tails
Melt the chocolate over hot water (or in the microwave, carefully). Stir in sour cream and cookie crumbs; chill no more than 15-20 min., until firm. Butter your hands, if desired, and roll chocolate mixture into 12 oval mouse bodies; place on waxed paper. Roll half the mice in powdered sugar and half in cocoa. Press candies and almond slices into the pointed end to make faces and poke 3-inch lengths of licorice lace into the rounded end for tails. May be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Witches’ knuckles
1 c water
1/2 c butter
1 c flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
4 eggs
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 c extra sharp cheddar cheese (4 oz.), grated
1 egg yolk lightly beaten with 1 Tbsp. water
dried whole rosemary leaves
9 pieces sliced pepperoni, quartered
Bring water and butter to a boil; remove from heat and stir in flour, salt, cumin, and chili powder. Return to heat and cook 1-2 min., stirring constantly, until the dough stars to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and continue stirring 1-2 min., until slightly cooled. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each. Stir in mustard and cheese. Put dough in a pastry bag (or make one by cutting a 1/2-inch hole in the corner of a plastic bag). Squeeze 3-inch-long fingers onto 2 baking sheets lined with baking parchment or waxed paper. Brush with egg yolk mixture; add a pepperoni fingernail to one end of each and place a few rosemary leaves in the center of the finger as knuckle lines. Bake at 400F for 15-18 min., until the fingers are golden brown and crisp. Serve warm.

Both from: Ghoulish goodies / Sharon Bowers. Storey Pub., c2009.

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Newsletters: 20 Mar, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 20 Mar, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the garden
The WSU Master Gardeners recommend fertilizing this month. You can also divide late-blooming perennials, plant out those cabbage-family seedlings you started last month, and sow seeds for beets, chard, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach and turnips directly outdoors.

In the kitchen
Did you expect a recipe for green punch or corned beef this month? Nah, you can get those anywhere. Did you know that the 16th of March is St. Urho’s Day? St. Urho’s Day was invented by Finnish-Americans in reply to all the uproar over St. Patrick, and is celebrated by wearing royal purple and Nile green and eating a traditional Finnish soup called mojakka. So this month you get mojakka recipes! OK, yeah, they’re a little late, but think of all the planning time you have for next year.

Ancient Finnish Secret Mojakka
2 lbs. cod fillets
1 c. (or to taste) stout beer, such as Guinness
ca. 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 lbs. diced red potatoes
3 ribs celery, diced
ca. 12 green onions, diced
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed
1 pt. heavy cream
1 lb. butter
1 pt. skim milk
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 tsp. oregano
Dissolve brown sugar in beer in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add cod fillets and cook for about 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and flake into bite-sized pieces. Boil potatoes until nearly tender. Combine cream, butter and skim milk and heat thoroughly. Add salt, pepper and oregano. Layer potatoes, celery, green onions, spinach and cod in a slow cooker. Stir in cream mixture. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.
Yield: About 3 quarts.

Mumu’s Mojakka
1 lb. beef stew meat
3 qt. water
4 med. Yukon Gold potatoes, partially peeled, in bite-sized chunks
6 carrots, thickly sliced
1 med. rutabaga in bite-sized chunks
4-6 ribs celery, thickly diced
4 small turnips in bite-sized chunks
2-3 tsps. whole black peppercorns
1-2 tsps. whole allspice
Salt to taste
4 to 5 bay leaves
Combine beef and water and boil for 20 minutes; skim to clear broth. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; simmer about 20 min. until meat and vegetables are tender. Adjust seasonings. Continue to simmer to blend flavors.
Yield: 6-8 hearty servings.

Both from: Mojakka.com

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Two recipes for two

Cauliflower Bisque with Brown Butter Croutons

1 c. whole milk
1 1/4 c. vegetable stock
approx. 1/2 lb. cauliflower florets
1/3 lb. (or a little over) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. heavy cream

garnish:
1 recipe Brown Butter Croutons (see below)
about 3 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds
chopped chives to taste

Combine milk, stock, cauliflower, potato, onion, garlic, and thyme in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer, partly covered, 18-20 min., until vegetables are very tender. Discard thyme sprigs. Working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth. Add cream and pulse to combine. Adjust seasonings; serve topped with croutons, pomegranate seeds, and chives.

Brown Butter Croutons

1 1/2 tbsp. butter (preferably unsalted)
1 1/2 c. ciabatta bread, cubed
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until golden brown, 2-4 minutes. Add bread and cook, stirring often, until toasted, 10-12 minutes. Season.

Adapted from Country Living

————————————————————–

Filet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze

2 filet mignon steaks, about 4 oz each
black pepper to taste
salt to taste, optional
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dry red wine

Generously pepper both sides of each steak; salt to taste. Place in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown about 1 minute on each side. Reduce heat to medium-low; add balsamic vinegar and red wine. Cover and cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until done, basting with sauce when turning. Remove to warmed plates and top each steak with a tablespoon of glaze; serve immediately.

Adapted from allrecipes.com

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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Newsletters: 17 Jan., 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 17 Jan., 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

A new year, another couple of recipes

It’s only January, but I have to talk about Valentine’s Day this month because the February newsletter will be too late. If, like me, you’re too practical and down-to-earth (and aggressively single) to enjoy all that mushy stuff, feel free to roll your eyes. Next month I’ll talk about the cold, dark winter and the patience of seeds in the dark warmth of the earth, I promise.

My favorite Valentine’s Day story is about a young couple (no, not Gift of the Magi; I think this was a Reader’s Digest filler) who agreed not to buy each other Valentine’s Day gifts, to save money. So the Day came, and the young man produced a package for his beloved, which turned out to be a small volume of love poems. His wife was delighted, but objected that they had agreed not to buy gifts that year. With a grin, he pointed out the library stamp, and the due date.

The thing is, it is possible to be romantic without spending a bunch of money. Going out for a fancy dinner and show is a lot of fun, true, but I submit that staying in for dinner and a show can be just as good a date. In fact, staying home has some advantages — if only that the couch is a far more comfortable place to neck than movie theater seats. You can of course rent a movie, but I encourage you to emulate the young man in the story. The library has movies for free, you can usually keep them longer, and if the hold line is too long to get the one you want soon enough, why not pick up some silly old musical or even a “B” horror movie? I mean, how much of it are you really going to watch, considering that comfy couch and all?

About that food…
I went looking in Isabel Allende’s Aphrodite for a discussion of food erotica — basically, reading cookbooks in bed, dreaming of all that rich and succulent food — but instead found an interesting discussion of the seductiveness of culinary ability in men. So, knowing that many men are more comfortable in front of a grill than at a kitchen counter, I thought a little commentary on barbecuing in the winter might be useful to my gentlemen readers.

Winter grilling by Kelly Iverson
(with advice from Barbecue Master Kevin Iverson)
So you want to grill steaks for your sweetie on Valentines Day, huh? Well, relax, winter grilling isn’t all that different from summer grilling; the basics remain the same but with a winter spin. You trade the T-shirt for a parka, flip-flops for hunter socks and boots and the cold beer for a hot-buttered rum. Seriously, it isn’t that different, the cold affects the heat that is produced by the grill so you either run the grill hotter or extend the time it takes to cook the steak. If you can be out of the wind, if there is one, is even better as the wind sucks the heat away even faster requiring not only a hotter grill but also more time. So grab those steaks and your parka, fire up the grill and plan on a great, winter-grilled dinner with your favorite person!

To finish off, here are a couple of dishes with supposed aphrodisiac qualities, from Aphrodite : a memoir of the senses / Isabel Allende. HarperFlamingo, c1998. I was going to suggest strawberries dipped in chocolate, which are a classic, but this is the wrong season for strawberries. I wonder if one could make a sort of dried-strawberry bark…?

Noodles with artichoke
1/3 c olive oil
1 c bottled marinated artichokes, chopped, liquid reserved
1 small jar pimentos
1/4 c pine nuts (optional)
1/2 lb. noodles, cooked and drained
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
6 large black or green olives, chopped
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
salt, pepper to taste
Heat oil, artichoke liquid, pimentos, and pine nuts. Combine all ingredients in the warm noodle pot. May also be made a day ahead and served cold.

Curried sea bass
1/2 small onion, quartered
1/2 carrot, sliced
1 bouquet garni
salt, pepper to taste
1 c water
2 sea bass fillets, skinned and washed
1/2 lemon
Boil onion, carrot, bouquet garni, salt, and pepper in water 15 min. Rub the fish with the lemon and place in a pot; cover with boiling water mixture. Cook 15 min. on low. Remove and keep warm. Reserve liquid for sauce.
sauce:
1 tsp. butter
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tart apple, peeled and grated
pinch brown sugar
1 tsp. flour
liquid from cooking fish
1/2 c coconut milk
2 heaped Tbsp. grated coconut
salt, pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. cream
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
Melt butter; stir in curry powder, vinegar, apple, and sugar. Add flour and cook 5 min. on low. Gradually stir in reserved fish liquid, coconut milk, and coconut; continue cooking 10 min. Adjust seasonings; keep warm but do not allow to boil. Add cream and egg yolk; pour over fish.

Well, and one more, just because of the name.

Chicken breast Valentino
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 c. cream
1/2 c. chicken stock
1 whole chicken breast (i.e. both sides), quartered
salt, pepper to taste
1 egg yolk beaten with a little milk
1 Tbsp. cooked, chopped red pepper
4 Tbsp. Kahlua
1/2 tsp. salsa picante
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c chopped roasted peanuts
Melt butter and mix in flour; add cream and chicken stock, being careful to prevent lumps. Add chicken and season. Cover and cook 30 min. on low, turning occasionally. Add egg yolk, red pepper, Kahlua, salsa, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook another 10 min., stirring gently. Sprinkle with peanuts. May be made ahead and reheated.

The gardening season officially begins on January 1st, and ends on December 31.
— Marie Huston —

And love can come to everyone,
The best things in life are free.
— Lew Bowen & Buddy De Silva, Good news —

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
— H. L. Mencken —

There are few virtues a man can possess more erotic than culinary skill.
— Isabel Allende —

Who can give law to lovers? Love is a greater law to itself.
— Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae —

Quien bien te quiere te hará llorar (Anyone who loves you well will make you cry).
— Spanish proverb —

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Newsletters: 16 Dec, 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 16 Dec, 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

About that food…
I’ve been playing with an idea I had awhile ago when I first tried celeriac — I think it would be nice cooked like scalloped potatoes. So I’ve did a little research and discovered that scalloped potatoes — or, more properly, gratin dauphinous (which my limited French and Shakespeare combine to interpret as potatoes topped with crumbles made out of either dolphins or princes… Where was I?) Anyway, the recipes I’ve found all seem to be just potatoes sliced and baked in cream or milk. My sister-in-law made a similar dish over Thanksgiving, Jansson’s frestelse (only it wasn’t really, because she left out the anchovies in deference to my squeemishness), with a mix of potatoes and celeriac and it was pretty good. I can’t get away from the idea that it should have something more… saucelike on it, though — no doubt because I’ve only ever had scalloped potatoes out of a box and if there’s nothing but dried milk in the sauce packet what’s the point of a mix? So the next time my guinea pig… I mean, when my very good friend visits again, I think I’ll try using a basic cream sauce instead.

In the meantime, since it’s December we have to talk about fruitcake (I’m sure I saw that in the rules somewhere).

Fruitcake has become more joke than a treat in these days of pretty mail-order bricks in sugar mortar, but a nice homemade fruitcake, still fresh and soft, kept properly wrapped and cool, is worth the effort. I don’t really associate it with Christmas, though, because my mother always kept some on hand to put in my father’s lunchbox when she ran out of other dessert items. I won’t put the whole recipe in the newsletter because it’s a little long, but you can find it here in the Market recipe pages.*

For actual recipes-in-the-newsletter I have a couple of interesting things I came across while researching the gratin idea.

Leek gratin
6-8 medium leeks, dark green and all but 2 inches of light green removed
1 c heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Cut leeks in half lengthwise and rinse out any grit. Arrange them cut side down in a baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer; some can be turned on their sides if necessary to fit. Top with cream and season to taste. ake at 375F until the cream has thickened and mostly been absorbed by the leeks, about 35 min., basting leeks with the cream a couple of times and pressing them down to prevent exposed parts from browning and getting tough.
From: Vegetables / James Peterson. William Morrow and Co., c1998.

Pommes Anna
12 Tbsp. (1.5 sticks) butter, clarified
2.5-3 lb potatoes, peeldd and sliced 1/8 inch thick
salt and pepepr to taste
melted butter (optional)
Pour the clarified butter into an 8-inch cast iron skillet (unless you have the special pan designed for this dish) to a depth of 1/4 inch. Set over low heat and arrange potato slices in layers. Build the bottom layer especially carefully so the slices overlap and look nice. Sprinkle each layer with salt, pepper, and more butter as desired. When complete, butter or oil a pot lid slightly smaller than the pan and press in firmly on top of the potatoes. Cover the pan and place in a 425F oven on a baking sheet in case of drips. Bake 20 min, remove from oven and press the potatoes again. Bake uncovered until the sides are brown and crisp, 20-25 min. Pour off any excess butter, holdign the potatoes in the pan with the lid. Invert onto a plate and serve in wedges.
From: Joy of cooking / by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker. Scribner, c1997.

And one more, for those who are already thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve. Here’s something I came across in a book a friend of mine is getting for Christmas (what, don’t you read your gift books before wrapping them? How else can you make sure there’s nothing obscene or offensive in them, like deep-fried Mars bars or cheese sauce on broccoli?):

Chocolate martini
3 oz. plain or vanilla vodka
1.5 oz. clear creme de cacao
2 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped
Place vodka and creme de cacao in a cocktail shaker with ice and stir togther until cold. Strain into two martini glasses and garnish each with a Kiss. You can also add half a teaspoon of Cointreau or other clear liqueur of your choice to influence the flavor.
From: The chocolate deck : 50 luscious indulgences / by Lori Longbotham. Chronicle Books, c2005.

Winter reading, winter dreaming
Kristen Suzanne’s easy raw vegan holidays : delicious & easy raw food recipes for parties & fun at Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the holiday season / by Kristen Suzanne. Green Butterfly Press, c2008.

Gourmet game night : bite-sized, mess-free eating for board-game parties, bridge clubs, poker nights, book groups, and more / by Cynthia Nims. Ten Speed Press, 2010.

In giving is the true enlightenment.
-Santideva (Sikshasammuccaya : Ratnamegha)-

If you don’t tell me what you want, you will get socks.
-source unknown-

Gifts allow us to demonstrate exactly how little we know about a person. And nothing pisses a person off more than being shoved into the wrong pigeonhole.
-Pam Davis, House M.D., It’s A Wonderful Lie-

A tule fog
fills the sky–
Yuletide. ”
-Michael P. Garofalo, Cuttings-

Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.
-Lenore Hershey-

“Great bore, Christmas, isn’t it? All the people ones hates most gathered together in the name of goodwill and all that.”
-Dorothy Sayers (Strong Poison)-

——-
*The recipe pages were lost with the old website; I’ll try to dig up the recipe and post it in the blog when I get a chance. dh.

Butterboos

Just in time to help you break your new resolutions, here is my grandmother’s best chocolate recipe. It’s not difficult, but it is fiddly and can’t be rushed. If you haven’t worked with chocolate before, you may want to read up on it a little before you start.

6 oz. milk chocolate (Hershey’s quality) + about 3-4 oz. for coating
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
finely chopped nuts (walnuts are traditional, but almonds or filberts are also good)

Melt chocolate and butter over hot water. Blend in milk and vanilla (it will go a little grainy, but will smooth out again). Pour into a shallow pan lined with foil and chill for at least 2 hours (if chilling overnight, cover it closely to prevent the top drying out). Roll into balls and rechill briefly while melting chocolate for dipping. Dip balls into melted chocolate (for best results, keep half the batch in the fridge while dipping the other half) and roll in chopped nuts. Place on waxed paper to cool. If your kitchen is warm, they may flatten a little while cooling; to prevent this, return them to fridge to cool.

Yield: not nearly enough. I recommend making a double batch.

Notes:
If you find some dry, crunchy edges when you roll the centers, you can melt the hard bits between your fingers a little to soften them (or, of course, you can pick them out and eat them, but you may actually not want any chocolate for a few hours after making these).

Avoid subjecting the finished butterboos to sudden temperature changes, especially if you have omitted the nuts; the chocolate may bloom. If you need to ship them, you’ll want to use special coating chocolate (which mostly isn’t really chocolate anymore) or temper the chocolate before dipping (which is better but makes the process even more fiddly).

———
This recipe has a history:
My father’s parents lived in the little town of Davenport, WA. My grandfather had a gas station and car dealership and for many years they gave out boxes of my grandmother’s handmade candy to their regular customers at Christmas — they finally stopped in the late 1960s, I think because of a new law. By that time she was making something like 100 lbs. of the stuff: peanut brittle, peppermint bark, fudge, divinity, turtles…. She would start right after Thanksgiving and by mid-December her pantry was full of it all. The whole family would help to pack the gift boxes, thousands of little paper cups all over.

By the time Grandma died, my mother had many of her recipes, but not this one. For several years we thought butterboos were out of our lives forever. When I came across it at last, I started giving it to anyone who would take it, to ensure that I would be able to get it back if I ever misplaced my copy.

Yes, there’s a moral to this story:
This slow time of the year is perfect for making sure your children and grandchildren have all those recipes you’re so famous for, and for making sure you have all your favorites from your grandparents and parents while they’re still around to find them for you. In fact, why not get a recorder out and do a whole oral history project while you’re at it?

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.