The Great (and not so great) Crust Experiments


Squash Soup & Horseradish Cream


A pâte à choux by any other name...


Perfect Popovers

popovers_250 There are an amazing number of theories on how to create the best popover. Over the last few decades, I’ve tried quite a few: using ceramic dishes, glass Pyrex bowls, popover tins, adding baking soda or baking powder for extra “lift”, separating eggs, whisking egg whites to a soft peak and folding into the batter, using bread flour instead of all-purpose, and placing the filled popover pan or ramekins into a cold oven, and then, the other extreme, placing them into a 450f preheated oven.


Endive, Avocado & Red Grapefruit Salad


Roulade

Roulade Slice I own a lot of cookbooks. Coming from good German and Scandinavian stock, owning a lot of anything, especially something which I think my aluminum-foil-saving, plastic-wrap-washing, rubber-band-saving maternal grandmother would have considered frivolous, weighs on me as a source of guilt. I’m just glad it isn’t pride weighing down on me, because the Comes-From-Good-Stock Code of Ethics would require me to donate every cookbook to charity.


Chipotle Turkey Enchiladas

chipotle peppers on grill For at least the past dozen years, we’ve made Chipotle Turkey Enchiladas on Thanksgiving weekend, usually for our Saturday night dinner which is about when we need a change to spicy!

Back in the beginning, making the enchiladas was super simple, sped along by a ready-made jarred chipotle enchilada sauce. All I had to do was load the corn tortillas with turkey, cheese, cilantro and sour cream, smother them in the sauce, and bake.

Then, the unthinkable happened – the sauce was no longer available. It should have been easy enough to make my own – throwing a canned chipotle in a simple enchilada sauce. I had, however, developed “convictions”, avoiding food in cans lined with the toxin BPA. Unlike the FDA which has “allowable” levels of toxins, if I know they’re in there, I don’t want any part of them. While there are some organic tomato brands that do use “NO BPA” cans, I’ve not yet been able to find any. Going without these enchiladas wasn’t an option, either, so what to do?


Avgolemono Lamb Meatballs

Lamb Meatball & Lemon Sauce I’ve grown to love lamb – lamb roasted on the wood pellet grill, East Indian lamb & spinach served with fresh mango chutney and yogurt, or, my newest favorite, lamb meatballs lightly simmered in a tomato, onion, zucchini base, served over rice and drizzled with freshly-made lemon sauce.

It has all the flavors of my favorite Greek food, without having to a great deal of time. Strong lamb flavor, to which some people object, is stored in the fat, so doing some light trimming, before grinding the lamb roast in my food processor, results in a milder flavor.

We only use dehydrated zucchini since discovering, a number of years ago, that we like its flavor better than fresh. Dehydration brings out more of the natural sweetness, reducing the bitterness of zucchini. When harvest time rolls around, I have my three 9-tray dehydrators running 24/7 until we have a full year’s supply.


Egg Nog II

Mug of Egg Nog Nope, this isn’t a new recipe. I’m still perfectly thrilled with my discovery last year, – adding heated milk and sugar to whisked egg yolks – making a basic Creme Anglaise which turns into an absolutely lovely eggnog mixture. I made another batch this weekend – quadrupling the following recipe, and then cooling it outside on my deck. I love cooking in winter. Well, at least in New England. I couldn’t say the same in Florida where even the tap water ran warm in the middle of the winter.


Countdown to Thanksgiving Dinner

Huge Turkey - Daniel giving thumb's up I’ve been looking forward to this week since….well…..since we had the same dinner last year. We have a real turkey farmer, in northern New Hampshire, who raises turkeys as naturally as possible, allowing them to free-range the way the Lord intended – running around sun, bug and grass-filled pastures all summer long. Unlike factory-farmers who claim “free-range”, but instead confine hundreds, if not thousands of birds to sunless crowded, buildings, our farmer only raises a couple dozen – enough to peacefully exist and co-exist on the acres he has available.

While I’ve always been attentive to food preparation, there’s a far deeper sense of gratitude and respect for the life that was given, when I know the care and effort that was put into raising our food. I know from talking with him, that “processing” the birds never gets easier, and each year he talks about it being his last. Yet, he also knows, if he doesn’t continue to raise his own food in this manner, instead buying it from the grocery store, he’ll be feeding his family an inferior food. So, like us, he gives thanks for the lives of those creatures that lost their lives in order that we might be sustained – a daily reflection and eternal perspective of the Cross.

For preparation of this year’s turkey, see my Turkey Brine entry from last July.