The first time I met Lisa Rigby, we chatted over lattes at Starbucks. It was almost two years ago, which is hard to believe, and we met to discuss the possibility of having her take our wedding photos. Of the things that Eric and I fully agreed on, it was that we wanted photographs that would document the event and we didn’t want many staged pictures (or ones that at least looked like they were staged).
We found Lisa, whose website, Lisa Rigby Photography, you can access by clicking here, via Craigslist and as soon as I looked at her work, I was sold. She captures the small moments and does so with very little direction. It is this subtly in her work that makes her stand out from the other wedding photographers out there.
From our wedding last year:
It’s an added bonus that Lisa is a delightful person. We’ve kept in touch since our wedding, mostly through Facebook (and now Twitter), and she always seems to be in a great mood.
Having followed the blog, Lisa suggested a few weeks ago that we collaborate on a little food/photo project. Lisa took lovely photos of the food at our wedding, so I was absolutely thrilled with this idea.
I’ll stop rambling on and on about how much I adore Lisa and her work, and let the pictures (and the food) speak for themselves. The only note I wanted to add is that the fish pictured below came from our first CSF pick up. It was some of the freshest, most succulent fish I have ever had.
Lastly, given the number of recipes in this posting (which will hopefully keep all of you well fed this weekend), I’m going to take a little time off before the next entry. It’s not a long break, but I probably won’t have another post up until later next week.
Have a happy and healthy Memorial Day!
Grilled Haddock Stuffed with Lemon and Herbs
1 whole haddock, gutted and cleaned (wash the outside skin lightly with water)
1/2 lemon, sliced into circles
Fresh herbs (such as parsley and thyme)
Green onion (tops only), chopped
1/4 cup canola oil
Turn the grill on high heat. Meanwhile, lay the fish on a large tray or cutting board, and coat both sides of the fish with oil. Sprinkle generous amounts of salt and pepper on both sides. Stuff the cavity of the fish with the lemon, herbs, and green onion.
Take the fish off the tray and place directly on grill and cook (roughly 10 minutes per inch), making sure to flip half way through the process. When done, transfer to a clean tray or board and remove the head. Move the body of the fish to serving platter.
Remove the layer of skin on top. Using a serving spoon or metal spatula, find the top layer of bones, and serve the meat that lays above that. At this point, you should be able to remove the bones from the whole fish, leaving just the remaining meat on the platter.
Eric’s Grandma’s Cucumber Salad (from my mother-in-law, Kay Frishman)
4 cucumbers, slightly peeled, leaving a little green for color
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp fresh or dried dill
Slice them thinly, on a grater or with a food processor. Put them in a bowl and pour the white vinegar over them. Sprinkle in the sugar, salt, some black pepper, dill, and mint.
Stir all together and let sit for about 2 hours before using. Great alone, or can be served in a green salad.
Carrot and Cranberry Salad with Fresh Ginger Dressing
(from Bon Appetit, November 2009)
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 level tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
4 cups coarsely grated peeled carrots
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
Cut tops off onions. Cut tops lengthwise into thin strips; cut strips into 2-inch pieces. Chop half of onion bottoms. Place remaining bottoms in blender; add vinegar and ginger. Puree, occasionally scraping down sides of blender jar. Strain puree into measuring cup, pressing enough solids through to yield 1/2 cup dressing; season with pepper.
Place carrots and cranberries in large bowl. Add onion tops and bottoms. Toss with enough dressing to coat.
Red Potatoes with Fresh Dill, Rosemary, and Thyme
2 lbs of red potatoes
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp dill, fresh or dry
In a large pot, add water and turn heat to high. Once it starts to reach the point of boiling, add 1 tbsp of salt to the water. Once it has started boiling, add potatoes. Cook until a fork can easily be inserted into the potato.
Drain potatoes in a colander and return to pot. Add butter, rosemary and thyme leaves, chopped parsley, dill, black pepper and another dash of salt and mix until the potatoes are all thoroughly coated.
The Best Cocoa Brownies (Adapted from Alice Mendrich’s Bittersweet via Smitten Kitchen) and Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (from David Lebovitz)
Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces or 141 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (9 7/8 ounces, 280 grams) sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 7/8 ounces, 82 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, as I used)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (66 grams, 2 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added.
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack. [As Deb suggests, put them in the freezer so that they can be cut with clean lines.]
Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
A few drops of vanilla extract
1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk with the tip of a paring knife. Add the bean pod to the milk.
2. Stir together the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add some of the warmed milk, stirring constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Rinse the vanilla bean and put it back into the custard and cream to continue steeping. Chill thoroughly, then remove the vanilla bean and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions
Why is it that there are so many dishes from my youth that I’ve never cooked? Like pasta with alfredo sauce, a dish that I requested my mom make for me for my ninth birthday. Or these cookies, playfully called “Forgotten Cookies”. Light and filled with chocolate chips, Forgotten Cookies are essentially meringues that are left in a warm oven for up to 12 hours.
In elementary school, each of us was asked to write a book about ourselves. We could put anything in it. Stories about trips we’d taken with our families, what our favorite toys were, or what we wanted to be when we grew up. In my book, I talked about how much I loved to make these cookies with my mom and that, when I was older, I wanted to become a “chief”.
I believe that book is in a box somewhere in my parents’ attic. But I don’t need to see it to remember the drawing that my mom did of the cookies on the cover (I should add that my mom is a fantastic artist and that you can view her work by clicking here
) or the recipe that I wrote down in big third grader block handwriting.
Despite their importance in my culinary development, for some reason I’d never made them… until last week, that is. The recipe consists of four ingredients: egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract, and chocolate chips. Simple, right?
Well, yes and no. I’ve never made meringue before, so when my mom wrote in the recipe, “Beat the egg whites until they have soft peaks,” I didn’t quite know what that meant. The egg whites would go in the mixer, I’d slowly pour the sugar in and a gooey liquid would form. Round two: eggs, sugar, gooey. So, I did a little search on Google and came across some videos of meringue being made. Each video showed the mixer blazing at full speed. I went back and took the second gooey batch and beat the heck out of it. Soon, I got a marshmallow-like consistency. “Ah ha,” I thought. “I think I understand what needs to happen.”
As they say, the third time’s a charm! I put the egg whites in, set the mixer to its highest setting, and slowly poured the sugar in. And I got it to form into meringue!
The point being, if you don’t succeed the first time, don’t get frustrated. There are so few ingredients in these cookies, it’s worth trying it a few times until it works.
(a note from my mom about this recipe: “I’ve also tried it a million ways….big cookies, little cookies, with chocolate in the batter (I melted the chips), other extracts, etc. The best cookies are smaller. Use the best vanilla extract…. and I like the cookies in the oven closer to the 12 hours. They seem to cook then dry out a big for a crunch. Oh, and it’s important to be sure that the egg whites are really soft, almost stiff. If not, the cookie doesn’t seem to hold up well. And the recipe cannot be doubled… I have no idea why. I tried that a few times and it never worked. The few times I needed a larger amount, I just made it twice.”)
2 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsps. vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until they have soft peaks. Add the sugar gradually, then the vanilla.
Stop the mixer and stir in the chips and nuts with a spoon.
Drop the cookies onto greased cookie pans. Put the pans into the center of the hot oven but IMMEDIATELY turn the oven off.
Leave the cookies in the oven for at least 2 hours (up to 12 hours). DO NOT open the oven door during this time!
Then, remove the cookies. Store in an air-tight container and enjoy! These will also freeze well, in case you want to save some for a future date.
Given that the last posting was void of any recipes, I think it’s time to jump right into this one. The idea for this dish came to me after going through our refrigerator to see what we had left. As delicious as it is, I’m not a big fruit person (ok… no jokes anyone). Sometimes I’ll take an apple or an orange to work with me, but usually they get eaten by Eric or I bake with them.
The pears that we get tend to be the last to go. But when I saw them in the fruit drawer, it dawned on me that they would be a tasty base for something I’ve been wanting to make for a while now: thyme whipped cream.
I’ve had a few people ask me recently what my favorite ingredient is. Well, I can’t just pick one, because there are so many that I really can’t live without. One is garlic. The other is thyme. Now, you’re probably thankful that I didn’t make garlic whipped cream, right? I can’t imagine that’d taste very good. Thyme, on the other hand, adds a subtle earthiness to the whipped cream that works nicely with certain desserts.
One of them is David Lebovitz’s incredibly simple, yet perfect, recipe for poached pears. It can be served with ice cream or a decadent chocolate cake or, as I have done, with a dollop of whipped cream (all of these together might not be bad either).
(altered very slightly from David Lebovitz’s recipe)
1 quart water
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 Bosc pears; peeled (or not, as I like the cooked peel), cored, and quartered
Additions: One cinnamon stick, 2 teaspoons whole cloves, black peppercorns or allspice berries, one lemon half, one split vanilla bean, 2-3 star anise, 6-8 fresh ginger slices
1. In a large saucepan, heat the water and sugar until warm and the sugar is dissolved. Add any of the additions that you wish.
2. Slide in the pears and cover with a round of parchment paper, with a small hole cut in the center.
3. Keep the liquid at a very low boil and simmer the pears until cooked through, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the pears.
4. Remove from heat and let the pears cool in their liquid.
Optional: After poaching the pears, while the liquid is still warm, add approximately 1/2 cup (120 g) dried sour cherries, cranberries, raisins, or dried currants and let them plump.
Spoon 4 quarters in a bowl and top with Thyme Whipped Cream
Thyme Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
5 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped finely
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar (or more based on your preference)
Place the bowl and beater(s) of a stand mixer in the freezer to chill for 10 to 15 minutes. Take out and set up the mixer.
At this point, pour the cream in the bowl and begin to whip at medium speed. After a moment, move up to medium-high speed. Once it begins to thicken, add the sugar, vanilla, and thyme. Once the whipped cream is fully formed, transfer to container and refrigerate.
I decided to take a break from writing about recipes (at least for one day) to talk about what I believe to be an important issue. This may sound serious, and in a way it is, but it’s a topic I think few people consider when it comes to food.
A few months ago, a friend of mine let me borrow a copy of Carlo Petrini’s book, Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should be Good, Clean, and Fair
, in which he interweaves his views on the relationship between food and various elements of our society (economical, cultural, political) with stories of his own interactions with people from around the world, learning about the importance of their regional resources.
Petrini is the founder of the “eco-gastronomic” International Slow Food Movement. According to the Slow Food International
website, the movement was started “to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.”
There are some fantastic passages in Petrini’s book, but I was hooked after reading this at the end of the first chapter:
“We are what we eat: this is true, and considering the present trends in the world, we are beginning to seem far more savage in our way of eating than our prehistoric ancestors. Food, and a careful study of how it is produced, sold, and consumed, is in fact a form of evidence that can open our eyes to what we have become and to where we are headed. It can enable us to sketch out an interpretation of the complex systems that govern the world and our lives and yet… it still leaves us scope to rebuild the foundations for a sustainable future” (p.28).
Our diet constitutes mainly of vegetables and fish, and Eric and I have done our best to buy fresh, organic ingredients. It was a few years ago that we started using Boston Organics
as our source for produce. It has been a convenient way for us to receive organic fruit and vegetables, as they deliver to your home, and we have been thrilled with the service they provide.
But over the past couple of months, we’ve realized that we want to be supporting not only organic farmers, but local ones as well. While Boston Organics does try to supply as many locally farmed ingredients as possible, much of it comes from outside the area.
So, it is bittersweet news that we have decided to discontinue our service with Boston Organics and join Enterprise Farm’s CSA
(Community Supported Agriculture
) program. By doing this, we will not only be supporting a local farm directly (without any middleman), but it will allow us to get incredibly fresh and organic produce year-round. The Enterprise Farm CSA has a number of drop-off locations in the Boston area, including one not too far from our apartment.
Once we covered the issue of the produce, we then moved on to the other part of our diet. Besides Whole Foods (click here to read about their policy
), it’s hard to find fresh, sustainable seafood. And because of this, I’ve become more reluctant about buying fish in the store.
“We feel reaching the population that cares about where their food comes from, and getting them to care about where seafood comes from, allows us to expand the base of support for policy changes… Fish gets left out of the issue when we talk about food safety and food sovereignty… To change that, we felt the best way is by reaching people through their stomachs and their hearts.”
There are a few CSFs in the Boston area, including one called Cape Ann Fresh Catch
, which has drop-off locations in neighboring towns, but does not yet have a delivery Downtown. It’s not terribly convenient to get to their drop off locations, but Eric and I have decided that we’ll make it work (there’s one in Cambridge that I can get to on Mondays). I don’t think we really have another option. I’m not only tired of looking at fish and wondering how fresh it is, but I want to know that what I am buying is directly supporting our local fishermen, local economy, and is more environmentally friendly.
My main hope in reading this is that it might peak your interest. Clicking on any of the highlighted text above will bring you to various sites about Slow Food, CSAs, and CSFs, so I hope that you can find some additional information through those links.
Be sure to stay tuned for future postings on this. I will covering the various items we receive, and will be using them to make delicious dishes to share with all of you.
Thanks for reading!
Petrini, Carlo. Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, and Fair. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 2007.
First, Devra. “Economy of Scales”. Boston Globe, March 18, 2009.
Everyone has that drink they crave when the weather gets warmer. Eric (along with most of his family) loves his gin and tonics. For me, it’s pretty much anything with tequila in it. I used Cinco de Mayo as an opportunity to purchase a bottle to make some margaritas (not that one needs a reason to make a margarita).
Now, I’m not typically a fan of flavored margs… ones that hide the flavor of the tequila. In fact, I am fine with drinking it straight with a squeeze of lime and a splash of tonic. But, hey, I had to get festive and that meant trying something a little different.
The difference between this watermelon margarita and the ones you find at most “Mexican” restaurants is that this recipe calls for fresh watermelon puree. Don’t be turned off by this step, because it’s the simplest thing in the world. Cut the watermelon into cubes, put it in a blender, and puree it up!
Instead of being overly sweet, I was able to taste all of the different components of the beverage. The pairing of the watermelon with the lime juice also adds to the experience, as it mellows the sweetness of the fruit. And without the lime juice, the watermelon would overpower the tequila. And that would be a travesty, right?
Hope you all enjoy this one! Bottoms up!
(from Emeril Lagasse’s Emeril Live)
Yields 1 (or two, depending on how big your glasses are)
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 lime wedge
1 cup watermelon puree (*see Cook’s Note)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup premium 100 percent agave tequila
2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier or triple sec)
1 cup ice
In a medium saucepan, combine the lime zest, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature and strain out the zest. (Can be made in advance; keep in a covered container in the refrigerator.)
Chill a margarita glass in the freezer for 30 minutes. Place the coarse salt in a shallow dish or saucer. Wet the rim of the glass with a lime wedge and dip the glass into the salt, coating the top edge.
In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 tablespoons of the cooled lime syrup with the watermelon puree, lime juice, tequila, orange-flavored liqueur, and ice. Shake until frothy and well chilled, at least 1 minute. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with a lime wedge.
*Cook’s Note: To make the watermelon puree, remove seeds from fresh watermelon and cut into large chunks. Place in a blender and process until smooth and well pureed.
During the summers of my youth, my family had certain traditions. These included, but were not limited to, movie festivals (we spent a summer watching all the James Bond films), book reading contests to see who could read the most books from the last day of school to the first, and food taste tests, which included microwave popcorn, potato chips… and ice cream. The one I most distinctly remember was the time we tried a variety of vanilla ice creams. It was a blind taste test, so we didn’t know the brand or the nutritional information. All we could do was use our senses to determine which one was the best.
At any given time, there are at least five containers of ice cream in my parents’ freezer. This has always been the case and it has meant that I’ve tried A LOT of different kinds of ice cream.
It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve had the opportunity to try some more unique flavors. These are ones that consist of seasoning that one wouldn’t normally pair with ice cream. Last year, Eric and I went to Humphry Slocombe
in San Francisco, a sophisticated little ice cream shop that serves such flavors as Salt and Pepper, Honey Thyme, and Strawberry Candied Jalapeno. On our visit to Humphry Slocombe, I had two scoops: one of Rosemary’s Baby (fresh rosemary and toasted pine nuts) and one of their Olive Oil ice cream. The two of these together was mind-blowing. The ingredients were fresh and flavorful, a perfect combination with their creamy vanilla base.
Which is what inspired my recent creation of Cajun Sweet Potato Ice Cream (that and the 80+ degree weather in Boston last weekend). The use of herbs and spices might scare some from trying it… but if you’re tired of store-bought ice creams and are looking for something a bit different, this is a fun one to try.
Cajun Sweet Potato Ice Cream
(makes 1 quart)
Special equipment: Ice Cream Maker
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
5 egg yolks
1 cup canned sweet potato puree
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
1/4 cup fresh pecans, lightly chopped
Place cream, milk, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan that’s set to low-medium heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot, but not boiling. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. Continue whisking and slowly add in one cup of the hot mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough that it coats the back of a spoon, about 6 minutes. Do not boil.
Pour the mixture back into the bowl and whisk in the sweet potato puree, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and rosemary. Cover and refrigerate until it has chilled, roughly two hours.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the ice cream maker to freeze.
Scoop into bowls and top with pecans.
« Older posts