Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What's Sweeter Than Pie?

Victory at the South Side Pie Challenge! For the second year in a row, I won a ribbon at this most prestigious of competitions. This year, I entered a chocolate-peanut butter mousse pie into the creme pie category.




I once again took third place.



 I'll be honest: I'm disappointed that I only got third, but the creme pie category is the largest and there were 52 pies this year, so ending up in the top 25% isn't too shabby I suppose.

Now the pressure is on for next year. I'll have to come up with something really spectacular. Is it too early to start planning now?

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Recipe: Green Bean Frittata

This is a dish I created on the fly when I realized that I needed to use some fresh green beans quickly before they wilted or got slimy. It was an experiment that turned out very well, so I'm sharing the recipe with you.

1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 T canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar and parmesan)
12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
salt and pepper

NOTE: I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet for this. If you use a smaller skillet, you might need to use fewer beans or cook it longer under the broiler. Your skillet must be oven proof.

Heat the canola oil in a skillet until hot and shimmery, then add the beans. Season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing frequently, until the beans start to get black spots on them and are wilting. Add the garlic and cook for just a few seconds, until the garlic becomes fragrant. You don't want it to burn. Turn off the heat, and pour the eggs evenly over the beans. Sprinkle with the cheese. Then lay the tomatoes on top of the cheese. Cook the frittata under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is brown and the tomatoes are blistered.




I ate this entire thing in one sitting; it looks big, but it's very thin and mostly vegetables, and it's the only thing I had for dinner that night. If you paired this with a rustic bread, hearty soup, and dessert, you could easily get 4 servings out of it.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

End-of-Summer Bounty

This morning I went to the 61st Street farmers market, as I typically do on Saturdays. The produce at this market is always gorgeous. Today I got kale, peaches, cherry tomatoes, various peppers, and some organic pork steaks.



The kale will be cooked tonight in a sort of bougie version of Hoppin' John. I'll use bacon instead of ham hocks and the kale instead of collard greens. One of the booths today had collards but they didn't look very fresh. It's my own fault for sleeping in late and not getting there until things had been pretty much picked over. Anyway, I already have some black-eyed peas and rice on hand, so it's all good to go.

The pork steak and peppers will be cooked together with balsamic vinegar. Pork and peppers is a traditional dish that I've come to love over the years. I'll probably throw the cherry tomatoes in with the peppers. Those golden tomatoes are so sweet, like candy.

Fresh peaches are glorious this time of year, so these peaches most likely will be eaten out of hand. I also like to put them in yogurt and use them for peach pancakes. They're also good cooked in the morning oatmeal.

The only disappointment about the market today is that the flower guy wasn't there. I love buying myself a fresh bouquet every week, so I was not happy that he was gone. I hope he's back next week.

I hope you're enjoying this last weekend of summer. As much as I hate to see the farmers markets end, I also look forward to the hearty fall and winter cooking ahead of us.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Sourdough Popovers

About a month ago a friend gave me some sourdough starter. I've been feeding it (off and on) but hadn't actually baked with it until yesterday. I found a recipe for sourdough popovers on the King Arther Flour website. It said you could use fed or unfed starter and you don't need to make a sponge hours ahead of time, so I decided to give it a whirl.



The recipe was extremely easy, and I think they turned out beautifully. They have a great texture and just a hint of tang from the sourdough starter. This recipe is going in the regular rotation. I definitely will be making these popovers again.