Thursday, November 30, 2006

F. K. Sweetland, Williamsburgh, Brooklyn

I am loving this sweet old billboard I spotted the other day in Williamsburgh. Brooklyn is definitely the dessert borough. Perhaps this is the first in a series about the boroughs of New York and which part of a meal each one embodies, or emboroughs, or something like that.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

קױלעטש פֿון קאַבאַק

דער קױלעטש צעגײט אין אַלע גלידער אַרײַן. געל װי די װעלט איז ער.

אַן ענגלישער נוסח געפֿינט זיך דאָ.

קױלעטש פֿון קאַבאַק

½ טעפּל װאַסער

3 קאָנװערטן הײװן

1 טעפּל צעקװעטשטן קאַבאַק (8 אָנצן)

1 און ½ אײער (דאָס צװײטע האַלב־אײ װערט גענוצט שפּעטער)

4 געלקלעך

1 עסלעפֿל זאַלץ

¼ טעפּל האָניק

¼ טעפּל מאַסלינע בױמל

6 טעפּלעך מעל (24 אָנצן)


½ אײ

1 טײלעפֿל װאַסער

מאָן אָדער קאַבאַק־זױמאַן

שיט'ץ הײװן אין װאַרעמען װאַסער אַרײַן עס זאָל אַ ביסל צעגײן. גיט'ץ צו קאַבאַק, אײער און געלקלעך, זאַלץ, האָניק, און בױמל, און מישט'ץ גוט אױס. גיט'ץ צו מעל, און מישט'ץ און קנעט'ץ אױס עס זאָל װערן אַ גלאַטער טײג. לײג דעם טײג אַרײַן אין אַ שיסל און באַשמיר אַ ביסל בױמל איבערן גאַנצן איבערפֿלאַך. דעקט'ץ אים צו און לאָזט'ץ װאַקסן 1 שעה אָדער אַ ביסל לענגער. צעטײלט'ץ דעם טײג אױף קלײנע טײגעלעך. מיט 12 טײגעלעך קאָן מען מאַכן צװײ קױלעטשן; מיט 24 קאָן מען מאַכן 2 „רעבנס חלות”.

אָט האָב איך געמאַכט 6 גרױסע, און 12 קלענערע טײגלעך.

מיט די 6 גרעסערע טײגלעך, מאַכט'ץ דעם קױלעטש׃ מיט די הענט, קאַטשעט'ץ אױס אַ ביסל יעדעס טײגל —נאָר אַ ביסל! מען דאַרף זײ לאָזן רוען אַ ביסל. הײבט'ץ אָן מיט טײגל נומער אײנס פֿון ס'נײַ, און קאַטשעט'ץ נאָך אַ ביסל יעדעס טײגל, לאָזט'ץ זײ רוען נאָך אַ מאָל, און קאַטשעט'ץ זײ נאָך אַ מאָל, ביז דעם װאָס זײ װערן שלענגלעך פֿון 12–15 צאָל (30– 37 צענטימעטער).

פֿלעכט'ץ דעם קױלעטש׃ צעקניפּט'ץ די שלענגלעך פֿון אױבן.

לײגט'ץ דאָס שלענגל פֿון לינקס אין מיטן, און דאָס צװײטע פֿון רעכטס צום לינקס.

נאָך דעם, לײגט'ץ דאָס פֿון רעכטס אין מיטן,

און דאָס צװײטע פֿון לינקס צום רעכטס.
און אַזױ װײַטער.

קניפּט'ץ צונױף די עקעלעך פֿון אונטן.

מיט די 12 קלענערע טײגלעך, מאַכט'ץ דעם רעבנס חלה׃ לײגט'ץ די טײגלעך אַרײַן אין אַ פֿענדל פֿון 8 אָדער 9 צאָל (20-23 צענטימעטער), און שױן!

װאַרעמט'ץ אָן דעם אױװן אױף 400 גראַד פֿאַרענהײַט (200 גראַד צענטיגראַד, מאַרק 6). דעקט'ץ צו די חלות און לאָזט'ץ זײ װאַקסן 40 מינוט אָדער 1 שעה.

מישט'ץ אױס דאָס האַלב אײ װאָס בלײַבט מיט װאַסער און באַשמירט'ץ די חלות. לאָזט'ץ זײ זיך אױסטרוקענען אַ ביסל און באַשמיר זײ נאָך אַ מאָל און װידער אַ מאָל. באַשיט זײ מיט מאָן, אָדער מיט די קאַבאַק זױמען. באַקט'ץ די חלות 30 מינוט.

נו, עץ זענט נישט הונגעריק? נאַטעץ!

An English version of this recipe is here.

More festive choices are at Weekend Herb Blogging

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Dancing Cupcakes

These three cupcakes with ooh-la-la legs up near the ceiling at Books of Wonder on west 18th street start dancing at random intervals. The coffee from Cupcake Cafe is ohh-la-la too. Storytime ditto.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Radicchio Rosso di Verona

I just had to bring home these oddly hypnotic radicchi: a late-season variety called radicchio rosso di Verona tardivo. These turn out to be very tonic for those of us recovering from much joyous feasting, and remarkably easy for those of us recovering from much frenzied cooking.

I also really like purple things.

Radicchio in Scapece

Olive oil

Radicchio di Verona, or other radicchio (I used about 1 pound)

White wine vinegar or unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Snipped dill (optional)

Heat oil in a large iron skillet. Cut the radicchio into eighths through the core so that the leaves hold together. If you are using smaller radicchi, cut them into quarters. Cook the radicchio in oil over high heat. As it begins to brown just a bit, add water and vinegar. For one pound, I added about 1/3 cup of each. Season with salt and snipped dill. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you having trouble telling one radicchio from another, see the Radicchio family tree.

See more restorative delights at Sweetnicks.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Every Single Thing I Ate This Week (Part I)

Actually, this photo-mosaic shows every single thing I ate halfway through last Wednesday. I couldn't get everything into the picture because of insufficient geekiness on my part. If all goes well, I hope to post the complete photographic record shortly.

This has been an enormously instructive exercise, and I am grateful to Sam for getting me started. I learned a great deal this week, including the extent to which what I eat differs from the ideal I imagine. The most striking example of this is the soy shake with which I began almost every day. My official position is that one should eat real food that looks like what it really is. My most cherished cookbook is The Unplugged Kitchen by Viana La Place, which advocates a culinary repertoire prepared entirely by hand. Nevertheless, I find it very difficult to face the great bounding, prancing, snorting bull that is the morning without turning on the blender to grind up my hemp seed and soy milk drink. I'm also a little embarrassed to let on about using ingredients like soymilk and hemp seeds. Next you'll be expecting to hear me talk about textured vegetable protein and nutritional yeast. Not that anything is wrong with either of those.

I also eat some things that are decidedly non-photogenic. The deconstructed French toast in cell 6, 2 is an example. On the other hand, my efforts to make my food more photogenic turned out to be the most edifying part of this project. Have a look for example at Tuesday's lunch, the black beans and rice in cell 6, 1. It is not too likely that I would have taken the trouble to mince parsley for a regular weekday lunch at home by myself, but I do sometimes do things like that. It is even more unlikely that I would have sliced those zingy little slivers of Santa Fe chile peppers for that sparkle of redness, but it turns out that the parsley and the peppers were just the very things. I have resolved that henceforth, even if I don't photograph every single thing I eat, I will try to cook and eat as if I do.

I would also like to point out that I did not eat nearly all the food you see here; I had only one spoonful of the ice cream in cell 1, 4 (well, perhaps two or three spoonfuls), and only one bite of each of the pasta dishes in cells 5, 2 and 5, 3, and the injera in 2, 3 and 2, 4. That’s parsnip soup with fried sage leaves in cell 2, 1, and home-squeezed apple juice in 6, 3.

I do not normally drink this much wine or coffee.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Red Emma

Don’t you always wish that rock stars would come to your apartment and repair your kitchen equipment? Then you can surely imagine the delight I felt when Shoshke-Rayzl and her pal Teresa dropped by the other night and Teresa fixed my champion juicer. This made me very happy because this machine cost about two hundred dollars, and weighs about two hundred pounds and occupies about two hundred cubic feet of the space in my apartment, so I was really beginning to resent that it wasn’t making any juice.

To celebrate, I made the juice pictured above with cucumbers, beets (lots of beets), carrots, and purple cabbage. And, since we were celebrating and all, I added some of the horseradish-infused vodka I prepared last Peysekh. This turned out to be very nice, with the beet and horseradish combination tasting very evocative of khreyn mit burik, the beet and horseradish salad that frequently accompanies gefilte fish, called ćwikła in Polish.

The Red Emma

1 pound carrots

1 pound beets

½ pound cucumbers

¼ pound purple cabbage, or any cabbage

¼ pound celery

several sprigs parsley

horseradish-infused vodka, to taste

Put the vegetables and parsley through a juice extractor. Add horseradish-infused vodka. If you do not have any horseradish-infused vodka, put a tiny piece of horseradish, or a bit of prepared horseradish through the juicer as well. Serve chilled.

Khreyn-Infused Vodka

Scrub and peel a four-inch piece of fresh horseradish root. Pour two liters of kosher for Passover vodka into a glass bowl or ice bucket. Add the horseradish and allow to sit at room temperature for about twenty-four hours. Pour the vodka back into the bottles and chill. Oh baby.

Congratulations to Nandita of Saffron Trail for correctly guessing the subject of this photo.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

איך װיל שױן עסן פּײַ

אין אַ פּאָר שעה אַרום גײ איך פֿאַרברענגען מיט דער גאַנצער שאָקאָלאַדער משפּחה, אָבער איך װײס נישט װי לאַנג איך קאָן זיך נאָך אײַנהאַלטן. איך װיל שױן עסן פּײַ! קוקט'ץ אױף די קלײנינקע פּײַעלעך! אַזױ חנעװדיק! מען קאָן זײ פּשותּ אױפֿעסן!

פֿון אױבן׃ שאָקאָלאַדער קאַבאַק פּײַ, פּעקאַנניס פּײַ, פּעקאַנניס פּײַעלעך, עפּל פּײַ.

אַ גוטן געזונטן דאַנקטאָג צו אַלע אין מױל אַרײַן.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Note corrected recipe
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

One of the Better Pumpkin Pies

I promised I would, so I made Richard Sax’s Best-Ever Pumpkin Pie, or something close to it, anyway. I pureed the pumpkin, mixed in the cream and eggs, measured out the cinnamon, allspice, and ginger and went to get my nutmeg grater.
I found that my nutmeg grater was partly melted—I must have left it too close to the stove last time. The halves had fused together and I had to whack it several times with my heaviest rolling pin to free the imprisoned nutmegs inside. Whack, whack, whack! I then grated a nutmeg with my microplane grater, which worked so admirably that I do not see any reason to outfit myself with another nutmeg mill. It is only very rarely that I discover I can live without any particular kitchen gadget.
Well, I added the freshly grated nutmeg to my little dish of spices, and assembled the pie. Before I put it in the oven I tasted the custard—wonderful—it was the most perfectly-seasoned (non-chocolate) pumpkin custard I had ever tasted. Only after I put the pie in the oven did I notice that my little dish of spices was sitting untouched on the counter (it is possible that my caffeine consumption has been a little higher than average the last few days). So that’s the secret! Don’t season the pumpkin pie at all! It will taste like pumpkin, cream, eggs and caramelized brown sugar. What’s not to like?
One of the Better Pumpkin Pies
adapted from Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax
2 cups pumpkin purée
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Prepare this pastry dough. Roll out have to fit a nine-inch pie pan. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Blend the pumpkin with the other ingredients, and pour the custard into the pie shell. If there is extra custard, bake it in individual ramekins, or in small tartlets. Place the pie on the lowest shelf in the oven, and bake for 40 minutes. Move the pie to the floor of the oven, and bake for five minutes more. Allow the pie to rest at room temperature for several hours.
This is a wonderful pie, but I still believe that the best-ever pumpkin pie is this chocolate recipe. If you want to make this pie according to Richard Sax's original recipe, you would also add three tablespoons of Bourbon, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of allspice, and a pinch of black pepper.

I had dough scraps left from this and a few other pies (we’re in a bit of a pie-baking frenzy chez chocolate), and I used them to line the cups of this little mini muffin pan. I think I may once have made mini muffins, but mostly I use these to bake off extra bits of cake batter or pie dough. The little pumpkin pies are very cute, but the crust-to-filling ratio is a bit high. This shape is probably best-suited to intensely sweet fillings, like pecan tassies.
You will also want to have a look at Virginie's Vegan white chocolate pumpkin pie at Absolutely Green.
Over to Sweetnicks for more seasonal antioxidants.
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Monday, November 20, 2006

The First Thing I Ate This Week

This week I will be joining the remarkable Sam of Becks&Posh and an international cohort in a project that combines blogging and conceptual art. I will undertake to photograph everything I eat from now until Sunday night. After only one day I am already a little puzzled at the extent to which my blog diverges from what I really eat. You would have thought I already knew what I really eat, wouldn't you? I am beginning to believe that if you eat something and then don't blog about it, there is a sense in which you haven't really eaten it.

Today the first thing I ate was a shake made with soymilk and hempseeds. Yes, I know; I'm a nut. Tune in Monday and see the whole awful truth.

Soy Shake

2 cups soymilk (I use Westsoy unsweetened soymilk)

2 tablespoons toasted hulled hempseeds

pinch salt

Combine the soymilk, seeds, and salt in a blender and blend at high speed for a few minutes, or grind the seeds in a mill or processor, add them to the soymilk along with the salt and shake well

To Toast Seeds

Heat a cast iron skillet over a medium flame. Add the seeds, and cook, stirring constantly. Remove them from the heat just a moment before they reach the desired golden color, and continue stirring off heat for another minute.

These recipes appeared in Yiddish here. In the excerpt quoted from Shira Gorshman's "Destiny," a Moscow family is startled when their rural in-laws shower the bride with hemp seeds.

Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging is to be found this week at Cook (Almost) Everything at Least Once

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Friday, November 17, 2006

What is This?

Can you guess?

I have a beautiful copy of The Zuni Café Cookbook by the most estimable Judy Rogers which I will send right along to the first person who correctly identifies the photo above.

The many colors of Weekend Herb Blogging are at Saffron Trail.

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נוס־שמיר מיט קאָנאָפּליעס

נעכטן, שפּעט בײַ נאַכט, האָב איך געהאַט אַ שטאַרקן חשק צו סטאַשקע־שמיר. קײן סטאַשקעס זענען נישט געװען צו דער האַנט, צוליב דעם װאָס זינט דעמאָלט װען איך האָב ערשט פֿאַרטזוכט די טעם־גן־עדנדיקע פּערזישע סטאַשקעס פֿונעם זונרױז מאַרק אין קװינס, קען איך נישט דערטראָגן קײן אַנדערע. מילה, האָב איך זיך אַן עצה געגעבן און געמאַכט עפּעס גאָר אַ סך בעסערס. איך האָב געמאַכט אַ שמיר פֿון אַ געמיש פֿון געזאָלצענע, געבראָטענע אָרגאַנישע ניס פֿונעם גאַנץ־יאָגע מאַרק. איך מאַך נוס־שמיר אין אַ טשעמפּיאָן זאַפֿט־מאַשין. עס אַרבעט װוּנדערלעך. מען קאָן דאָס מאַכן אױך אין סתּם אַ פּראָצעסירער.

נוס־שמיר מיט קאָנאָפּליעס

1 טעפּל געזאָלצענע ניס׃ מאַנדלען, אַנאַקאַרדן, װאַלדניסלעך, פּעקאַנניס, בראַזילער ניס

2 לעפֿלעך אָפּגעבראָטענע קאָנאָפּליעס

ץ גוט אָפּ די ניס און קאָנאָפּליעס אין אַ זאַפֿטמאַשינדל אָדער פּראָצעסירער. גיט'ץ צו זאַלץ לױטן טעם.



Hazelnuts, filberts


בראַזילער ניס
Brazil nuts

Hemp seeds


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Crops of the Americas

Have a shifty at these pretty new postage stamps. And did you notice that this smashing vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe has all five of these? But why are there no stamps honoring potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cranberries? Perhaps those vegetables are less stampogenic. It is probably for this reason that that the sunflower stamp does not include a Jerusalem artichoke along with the seeds and the blossom.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Season on Impact

These folks sell flavored ammunition. Their claim is that when you shoot your critter, the bullets dissolve to brine and marinate the guy from within.

And then there’s Peace Through Pork.

Vegetables: Grim but Important

I was momentarily gratified to see a post titled Eat Your Vegetables over at Andrew Sullivan. It turns out this is only a way of referring to an unpleasant but necessary task. Well, bless my soul.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Has anyone out there been making chocolate pumpkin pies? Searches of Blogger, Google, and Technorati would seem to indicate that no one has, or at least no one has baked and blogged. You have to try this! You won't believe you ever lived without them. Now I hope you'll agree that in general I am the most reasonable of bloggers. I don't go around insisting that anybody has to decorticate chickpeas, or peel favas. I do however insist that you have to make this pie. This just may be the pie that saves the universe. If you want to skip the crust and bake the custard in ramekins, I am willing to go along with that.
Chocolate and pumpkin are both exquisitely suited to the pie-medium, and the bittersweet chocolate smoothes and strengthens both the flavor and the texture of the pumpkin custard. And then there are the antioxidants! Please forgive me for going on, but this is a wonderful recipe; better even than I thought it would be. I don't think it takes too great a leap of faith to mix chocolate into a pumpkin pie; not nearly as nutty as, say, leaving your bread dough lying around for 18 hours.
This pie justifies my blog. Here’s the best bit—I did not prebake the crust! I hate doing that. I will cheerfully decorticate several pints of cooked chickpeas or shell and peel any number of favas, but really, one go-round should do it for piecrust .
Prepare this pastry—here’s the recipe again:
Butter and coconut oil pie crust

12 ounces all-purpose flour, about 3 cups

4 ounces sweet butter, one stick, one half cup

4 ounces coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

Blend the butter and coconut oil into the flour with your fingers or a pastry blender. Break the egg into a measuring cup and add water to come up to the half-cup line. Beat the egg and water with a fork, and add half a teaspoon salt. Pour the egg water into the flour and stir with the fork until it just holds together. Form the dough into two circles, wrap them up, and chill for at least one hour.
Chocolate Pumpkin Filling or Custard
4 ounces chocolate
2 ounces coconut oil
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 cup pumpkin puree, 8 ounces
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 cup light brown sugar (8 ounces)
4 eggs
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil over hot water. Dissolve the espresso powder in 2 tablespoons boiling water, and stir it into the chocolate. Stir the melted chocolate and set it aside to cool slightly.
In a food processor, combine the pumpkin purée with sugar and coconut milk. Process to blend very thoroughly. Add the eggs and process just to blend. Stir in the chocolate, vanilla, and salt.
Assemble and Bake the Pies and/or Custards
Heat the oven to 425F.
Dust your work surface with flour. Roll half of the dough into a circle 1/8 of an inch thick. Lay the circle of dough in a 9 inch pie plate and trim the edges. Fold the excess dough under the rim, and shape, pinch, or crimp the edge to make a decorative shell. You can roll the remaining dough to make a few small tartlets, or save it for your next pie. Pour the pumpkin custard into the pie shell. If you have too much for one pie, bake the excess in small tartlets, or simply bake it on its own as a custard in small ramekins.
Place the pie on a baking sheet, and put it in the lower third of the oven. Bake for 40 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350, and move the pie to the oven floor (do not move the crustless custards to the floor). Bake five minutes more. Allow the pie to cool at room temperature for several hours or overnight so that the custard can sort of settle into itself. If possible, keep the pie at room temperature rather than refrigerated. The crusts stayed wonderfully crisp and flaky for as long as the pie lasted.

One of the recipes I consulted while I was putting this together was Best-Ever Pumpkin Pie from Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax. This looks like a very good recipe and I promise to try in the original version soon. I was briefly acquainted with Richard Sax, of blessed memory, when I was an intern at The Glossy Dessert Magazine. I have always been a big fan of his, especially since the publication of this magnum opus. Classic Home Desserts is an encyclopedic compilation of just about every home-style desert I can think of, and every recipe I have tried so far is really beautifully put together. My one quibble with the recipes in this book is that Sax indulges in a bit of what I call vanilla-abuse. I'm crazy about vanilla, but there are desserts where it just doesn't belong, and I strongly feel that Sicilian Rice Pie and Challah Pudding are among these desserts.
It's not especially chatty especially as dessert books go, but as you read it, there emerges as a counterpoint an austere elegy for a beloved friend. This paragraph accompanies the recipe for Best-Ever Pumpkin Pie:
Once I got it right, I've baked this pie every year at Thanksgiving. When I first met my friend Mick, as autumn was livening up New York City, he told me that when he was a kid, he always a pie for breakfast. Ever the cook-provider, I baked him a pumpkin pie and carried it downtown to Bleecker Street in a shopping bag.
Every year after that, I would make this pie for our Thanksgiving dinner, even if—especially if—it was just two for the holiday feast. Now that it's just me, this pie will always remind me of feeding him.
Now that it's just me.
You see why we need pie.

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Time Dilation and the Baker's Craft (The Sullivan Street Bakery's No-Knead Bread)

It’s probably only a few days until we hear reports of the climatological and geological anomalies the earth has been experiencing ever since the planet mysteriously wobbled on its axis this week and then equally mysteriously did so again exactly 18 hours later. Science reporters will tell us the cause is unknown, but we know what happened, don’t we? It was all the food bloggers in the world hurtling toward their ovens to try the recipe for Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread from the Sullivan Street Bakery featured last Wednesday in Mark Bittman’s "Minimalist" column.

Well, you knew I'd have to try this. Thursday at 4:00 in the afternoon I mixed

3 cups of flour with
¼ teaspoon of yeast,
1 ¼ teaspoons of salt, and
1 5/8 cups of water.

I also added 3 teaspoons of vital wheat gluten, an ingredient I sometimes use when making breads with all-purpose flour. Perhaps this was my crime, but I suspect not. I think the most likely problem is that my apartment is much warmer than 70 degrees F (21C), the recipe’s recommended fermentation temperature. By 10:00 Friday morning, my dough was a sour suppurating liquid mess. Not sour as in nice, tangy sourdough sour, but sour as in really nasty.

I was prepared never to speak of this bread again, but then the bloggers started reporting back. The shattering crust! The slack crumb! The complete absence of any effort! I decided to gamble another 3 cups of flour, and try to bread again. This time, I watched the video (I wish it was just a bit snappier, and I would get rid of the incidental music).

I scooped the flour rather than spooning it into the measuring cups so that my three cups of flour came closer to sixteen ounces than the twelve ounces I had used the first time. The dough was bubbly after eight hours, so I went ahead and shaped the loaf ten hours ahead of schedule. I preheated the oven and my enormous oval Colombian clay pot to 500 degrees F (260C), and baked the bread 30 minutes covered, and 10 uncovered.

Well, everything you’ve heard is true. I had not been able to produce as crisp a crust, or as structured a crumb, since I was in alimentary school, where we used to pour pots of boiling water onto the floors of 600-degree ovens. Do not try this at home.

The soft dough will spread to fill the bottom of whatever vessel it occupies, so I will bake it in a smaller pot next time. My loaf came out seventeen inches long and less than two inches high, but that’s fine.

Lindy is rounding up the many and diverse blog-accounts of making this bread over at Toast. Jolly good show, Lindy.

Monday, November 13, 2006

קאָנאָפּליעס אין דער ייִדישער ליטעראַטור און אין דער קיך

אין „אַ באַשערטע זאַך“ פֿון שירע גאָרשמאַן, האָט חתונה אַ ייִדישע נײטאָרין פֿון שטאָט מיט אַן אַקטיאָר פֿון די דערפֿער. אַ יאָר נאָך דעם, באַקענען זיך די מחותּנתטעס:

אין אַ מעת־לעת אַרום האָט מישע אַרײַנגעפֿירט צװײ בײַאָרטע פֿרױען, און דערנאָך גענומען שלעפּן פּעק, פּעקלעך, און צװײ הילצערנע טשעמאָדאַנעס, צו װעלכע עס זײַנען מיט שטריק געװען צוגעקרעמפּעװעט גרױסע שװאַרצע װאָליקעס. די מומע פּראָסיע האָט גלײַך אַרױסגענומען פֿון אַ טאָרבע אַ היפּשע פֿלאַש סאַמאָהאָן. מישע האָט זי צוריק אַרײַגעשטעלט, נאָר די מומע פּראָסיע איז געװען שטאָל און אײַזן. זי האָט געטענהעט אַז זי האָט די פֿלאַש אײַנגעטוליעט אין אַ קישעלע, אַז דער סאַמאָהאָן איז פֿון איבערגעקליבענעם װײץ, אַז זי האָט אַרײַנגעלײגט אַהין אַ ביסעלע פּאָלין און שװאַרצע יאַגדעס, עס זאָל זײַן געשמאַק, און אַז דאָס איז אַ רפֿואה צו אַלע װײטאָגן. נאָר מישע האָט עס ניט געװאָלט הערן. נאָך דעם האָט מישעס מאַמע, מאַריאַ איװאַנאָװנאַ, גענימען אַרױסלײגן, װאָס זי האָט געברכט׃ אַ טאָרבעלע מיט אַ װײצן מעל, אַ טאָרבעלע הירזש, אַ טאָרבעלע מאָן, און אַ טאָרבעלע מיט אַ ביסל קאָנאָפּליעס. מישע האָט עס אַלץ באַטראַכט זײער ערנסט, און װען ער האָטױפֿגעבונדען דאָס טאָרבעלע מיט די קאָנאָפּליעס, האָט ער אומעטיק געפֿרעגט׃

—פֿאַר װעמען איז דאָס?

—פֿאַר דײַנע הינער,—האָט מאַריאַ איװאַנאָװנאַ געשמײכלט. אָבער דאָס טאָרבע מיט די קאָנאָפּליעס האָט זי אַװעקגעלײגט אױבנױף. . . .

װען רחל איז אַרײַן אין שטוב, האָט מישאַס מאַמע גיך אַ כאַפּ געטאָן דאָס טאָרבעלע מיט די קאָנאָפּליעס, אָנגענוםען אַ פֿולע זשמעניע, באַשאָטן רחלען. ערשט דערנאָך האָט זי רלען אַרומגענומען, זי אַ קוש געטאָן דרײַ מאָל. די מומע פּראָסיע האָט אױך אַ קוש געטאָן רחלען דרײַ מאָל. זי האָט אַרױסגענומען פֿונעם בוזעם אַ קניפּעלע–אַ רינג מיט אַ גרינלעכן שטײן, און האָט עס אָנגעטאָן אױף רחלס פֿינגער.

—זײַ װיסן, קראַסאַװיצע,— האָט זי געזאָגט רחלען,— אַז דעם רינג האָט מיר געשענקט מײַן מאַן, װען ער האָט זיך געשדכנט צו מיר. דאָס איז אַ טײַערער רינג. דער שטײן איז אַן אמתער–ניט קײן פֿאַלשער!—און צו מישען׃— האָסט אַפֿילו ניט צוגעשיקט קײן פֿאָטאָגראַפֿיע פֿון דײַן װײַב, אָבער איצט זע איך, אַז זי שײַנט, װי די זון.

אַלע זײַנען געװען אַזױ פֿאַרװוּנדערט פֿון דעם, װאָס מישאַס מאַמע האָט באַשאָטן רחלען מיט די קאָנאָפּליעס, אַז דער רינג און דער מומע פּראָסיעס װערטער האָבן געמאַכט אַ קלענערן אײַנדרוק, װי עס װאָלט געקאָנט מאַכן.

—מאַמע, זע װי דו האָסט איבערגעשראָקן ראַכילקען,— האָט מישע באַמערקט.

—נישקשה, נישקשה, בײַ אונדז אין דאָרף פֿלעגט מען אַזױ טאָן. זי װעט דיר קינדלען פֿון די קאָנאָפּליעס, װי אַ קאַץ! האָט מאַריאַ איװאַנאָװנאַ געלאָזט װיסן.

באמת אַ רירעװדיקע סצענע. מיר איז באַזונדערס אינטערעסאַנט װי אַזױ די צװײ הײמישע טראַדיציעס װעגן װעלכע דער דאָרפֿישער חתן שעמט זיך האָבן בײדע צו טאָן מיטן עסן. ער האָט באמת גאָרניט מיט װאָס זיך צו שעמען. סײַ די דאָרפֿישע מחתּנים, סײַ די פֿון מאָסקװע פֿאַרשטײען אַז די אַלטע רעצעפּטן האָבן עפּעס אַ װערט, נאָר דער װאָס האָט זיך אױסגעאַרבעט פֿון דאָרף אַרױס שרעקט זיך פֿאַר זײ.

אַלע װערן אַ יאָ ביסל דערשראָקן פֿון דער פּרימיטיװער רפֿואה, אָבער עס אַרבעט גוט. מיט אַ פּאָר חדשים שפּעטער האָבן מישאַ און רחל אַ קינד.

װי אָפּצובראָטן קאָנאָפּליעס

װאַרעמט'ץ אָן אַן אײַזערנע סקאָװראָדע. שיט'ץ אַראײַן די קאָנאָפּליעס און מישט'ץ זײ גוט מיט אַ הילצערנעם לעפֿל. הערט'ץ נישט אױף צו מישן אַפֿילו אײן מינוט–זײ זאָלן נישט פֿאַרברענט װערן.


2 טעפּלעך סױאַ מילך, אָדער קאָקאָ מילך, אָדער װאַסער

4 גרױסע לעפֿלעך אָפּגעבראָטענע קאָנאָפּליעס

מישט'ץ די מילך אָדער װאַסער מיט די קאָנאָפּליעס זײער גוט אין אַ בלענד־מאַשין. איך האָב די מילך ליב װי זי שטײט און גײט, אָבער אַ סך מענטשן געבן צו צוקער, האָניק, און װאַניל. מאַכט'ץ זי װי עץ פֿאַרשטײט'ץ.

װאַליקעס (װאָליקעס)


home-brewed vodka

פּיאָלין (פּאָלין)
wormwood, artemesia, absinthe



hemp seeds


Gorshman, Shira. Lebn Un Likht. Moscow, 1974.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Herbed Hominy Dressing

A gorgeous oven-roasted pumpkin filled with this hominy stuffing (or this cornbread stuffing) anchors a handsomely laid festive table with great drama. I used dried Iroquois white corn hominy and ended up with enormous amount of stuffing. You may very well wish to halve or quarter the recipe. I had forgotten that two cups of dried hominy yield more than six cups cooked and I just scaled everything up, ending with about six quarts of stuffing. Oh well, there is no shortage of things needing to be stuffed.
I bought some beautiful fresh, fat sage leaves from Stokes Farm, and then forgot to add them. I think they would probably go very nicely if added to the vegetables along with the thyme. If you don’t feel like wrestling with a giant squash, just bake the hominy in any baking dish.
Herbed Hominy Dressing
Olive oil
3 medium onions, 3 cups diced, (18 ounces)
1 bunch carrots, 2 ½ cups diced (12 ounces after trimming and peeling)
1 bunch or about seven to ten stalks celery, 2 ¼ cups diced (12 ounces after trimming and destringification)
2 fresh red chile peppers, diced
1 ½ teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled between your fingers
2 eight-ounce packages wild rice tempeh (or plain tempeh)
Balsamic vinegar, shoyu (or other soy sauce), and hot sauce
6 cups cooked hominy* or six 14 ounce cans of hominy
4 cups cooked wild rice**
2 cups cooked sweet (glutinous) brown rice
2 sushi rice
1 cup lightly toasted sunflower seeds***
1 small bunch parsley, 1 cup minced
Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Cook the diced onions over medium heat for ten minutes or so. Add the diced carrots and celery. Crumble in the thyme. Add the diced chiles and continue cooking until the vegetables are relaxed and just a bit browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Heat some more oil in the same skillet. Crumble the tempeh with your fingers and cook over high heat stirring frequently, until nicely golden-brown. Pour about 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar into the hot pan, as well as more modest amounts of shoyu and Tabasco or other hot sauce. Sizzle, sizzle sizzle. Remove from heat.
Combine vegetables, tempeh and hot cooked grains in a large bowl. (If you cooked the grains in advance, warm them up a bit. Add sunflower seeds, minced parsley, and taste for seasoning. Bake the dressing in a gratin dish, or use it to fill a cooked pumpkin or squash.****

* To Cook Hominy

Soak two cups whole hominy several hours or overnight (or skip this step). Place hominy with ample water to cover in a slow-cooker, or in a heavy saucepan on top of the stove. Add salt, a bay leaf, and one or two dried chile pepper pods. Bring to the boil; lower heat, and simmer for between ten and fourteen hours, checking your water-level every so often. If using a slow-cooker, start on the high setting, and switch to low after the first two hours. Save the hominy-liquid for your next soup, or to cook the other grains.
** To Cook Wild Rice
Bring two quarts of salted water to a vigorous boil. Stir in 2 cups of wild rice. Keep the water boiling, and cook for 25 minutes. Drain the wild rice in a strainer.
*** To Toast Sunflower Seeds
Put the sunflower seeds on a baking sheet and toast them in a 350-degree oven for twenty minutes, stirring after the first ten. If you forget to stir in the middle, it’s not too terrible.
**** To Stuff a Pumpkin

Scrub the surface of a pumpkin or Hubbard squash. My forst choice is a blue Jarrahdale pumpkin. My second favorite is a cheese pumpkin pictured here. Place the squash in a pyrex pie plate of just the appropriate circumference and bake it at 350 for about two hours. Depending on your squash, you may have to pour out exuded excess water (Hubbards and blue pumpkins seem to be drier, and therefore better for baking whole). When the squash is tender, cut out a lid on top, angling you knife so that the lid can be comfortably replaced. Scoop out the seeds and fibers and any excess water. Season the inside walls of the squash with salt and Tabasco. Spoon stuffing into the pumpkin. You may push some a bit sideways to reach all the nooks, but you must valiantly resist the temptation to pack it in or tamp it down. You can always bake the extra stuffing in a casserole or gratin dish. Return the stuffed squash, along with the dishes of out-of-pumpkin stuffing to the oven and bake another 40 minutes to an hour.
For Weekend Herb Blogging, to be found this week at What’s For Lunch, Honey?

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Grape Pie

Many things about grape pie appear initially to be difficult. First of all, there is the name. “Pie” is one of my favorite words. I once read an article by John T. Edge about fried pie, and I just sat there for what may have been six or seven minutes saying “fried pie, fried pie. . . ,” but how do you say grape pie? Gray pie? Grape by? Grape eye? I've been practicing, but I'm still not confident. Another difficulty is the problem of getting the seeds out of Concord grapes after popping the grapes from their skins. This turns out to be much less trouble than I feared.

There used to be rows and rows of Concord grape vines on the farm. I loved the way they tasted, but eating them was a real challenge. You had to pop the grape into your mouth squeezing all the fragrant juices out of the inedible skin. You then had to apply something like thirty pounds of suction pressure on the grape pulp in your mouth to extract the seeds. I knew other children who swallowed the pulp with the seeds, but I could never bring myself to do this.

It turns out that the seeds come out easily enough once the grapes are cooked, and even the skins soften up a bit.

First prepare a piecrust. "Piecrust" is another one of my favorite words. Piecrust, piecrust, piecrust. For this pie, I tried using coconut oil in my pastry for the first time, and I am very pleased with the results. I might possibly even try an all coconut oil piecrust sometime.

Butter and coconut oil pie crust

12 ounces all-purpose flour, about 3 cups

4 ounces sweet butter, one stick, one half cup

4 ounces coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

Blend the butter and coconut oil into the flour with your fingers or a pastry blender. Break the egg into a measuring cup and add water to come up to the half-cup line. Beat the egg and water with a fork, and add half a teaspoon salt. Pour the egg water into the flour and stir with the fork until it just holds together. Form the dough into two circles, wrap them up, and chill for at least one hour.

Grape Filling

1 1/4 pounds Concord grapes

1 rounded tablespoon flour

1/3 cup sugar

Remove the stems and any grapes that have gone a bit nasty. Wash the grapes well. With your fingers, pop each grape into a saucepan, squeezing the perfumed juice from the skins. Chop the skins roughly on a cutting board, and set aside. Cook the grape centers for about five minutes. They will turn almost white. Now push the grape pulp through a strainer or put it through a food mill to remove the seeds. That's not too hard. Return the seedless grape pulp to the saucepan along with the skins, sugar, and flour. Cook the mixture, stirring, for about 10 minutes. Taste, and add more sugar if needed. I don't think you need to add any cinnamon or lemon. Allow the grape filling to cool. If you have more grapes, make a larger batch of filling. Up to twice this amount will fit in the pie.

Heat oven to 425.

Dust your work surface with flour, and roll half of the dough into a circle 1/8 of an inch thick. Lay this dough in a 9 inch pie plate and trim the edges. Fill the pie with grape filling. Roll out the second piece of dough. With your smallest biscuit cutter, cut several small vents in the crust so that they resemble a cluster of grapes. Pretty cute, huh? That's from The Pastry Bible by Beranbaum. You can use a scrap of leftover dough to make a little stem. Lay the top crust on top of the pie and fold the edges under all around. Bake for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 350, move the pie pan to the floor of the oven, and bake five or 10 minutes more. You can serve the pie warm or at room temperature. Some cream or ice cream will show off the many shades of purple to great advantage and will also be delicious.

You will have extra scraps of leftover pastry dough. Use this to make a buckle or slump.


Preheat oven to 425. Heat butter in a cast iron skillet. Add sliced apples (or other fruit) and sugar. Cook, cook, cook. Lay scraps of piecrust on top and place the skilet in the oven. Nicely brown in twenty minutes. Hot slump, cold ice cream. Slump!

The essay I mentioned before is "Fried Pies in Tennessee" by John T. Edge in Cornbread Nation 3. And this is from Separate Checks by Marianne Wiggins:

I like men who don't talk rough, who smell like limes and taste like piecrust when they kiss me.


Beranbaum, Rose Levy. The Pie and Pastry Bible. New York, NY: Scribner, 1998.

Lundy, Ronni, and Southern Foodways Alliance. Cornbread Nation 3: Foods of the Mountain South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.

Wiggins, Marianne. Separate Checks: A Novel. 1st Perennial Library ed. New York: Perennial Library, 1989.

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