30 October 2009

It can't be the end of October?

I couldn't believe my eyes when looking back at my last post! Sept 28...what happened? October happened! October is extremely crazy for us every year with 2 of my daughters birthdays, festivals for the store and harvest at the farm. Not to mention the absolutely terrible weather Michigan has had this season! I have been cooking like mad, but instead of writing...I am falling asleep on the couch at 10pm! Apparently, blogging is not a compulsion yet, but I'm working on it! I think this morning I will make some pumpkin quick bread and muffins for the masses of teenagers sure to invade our house (AGAIN) this weekend! My favorite recipe is actually a huge batch that I split and turn 1/2 into bread and 1/2 into muffins, adding whatever seems to be on hand in the way of dried fruit, nuts, chocolate or cheese. Since there is no photo yet...please enjoy "Precious"! Actually this is Otto...technically he belongs to my youngest daughter, Jamie, but I ply him with treats for affection! He in turn brings in many dead animals (or almost dead), muddy paws and lots of cheap entertainment! Enjoy your day!

3 c Sugar
1 c Vegetable Oil
4 eggs
1 16oz can pumpkin puree
3 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg, freshly ground
1 t allspice
2/3 c water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, dried cranberries, chocolate chips or any combination you enjoy!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar, oil and eggs and beat about 2 minutes. Add pumpkin, dry ingredients and spices. Mix 30 seconds, add water and nuts and stir until just combined.

At this point I fill one 9X5X3 inch loaf pan that has been greased and floured and then muffin tins (about 18) with the remainder of the batter. the bread takes about 50-60 minutes to bake through and the muffins about 25 minutes...watch them carefully. When finished baking,let rest in pans about 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.

28 September 2009

Balsamic Chicken

I do not own the 2001 ways to make chicken or any of the other multitude of chicken cookbooks. I tend to throw some things together and we grill it or bake it depending on the weather. I used boneless skinless chicken breast for this recipe (it was the only thing on hand to defrost quickly!) but I think it would have been better to use bone in skin on...next time! The only criticism from the family was to make a bigger batch of the sauce next time!! I totally could have garnished this up a bit...but really I think it's brown, glossy finish is just beautiful un-embellished! Later in autumn I will serve this with roasted root vegetables, which I think will be the perfect side!

1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar (I used The Boulevard Market labeled one!)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 whole chicken cut into pieces or boneless, skinless chicken breast (6 pieces)

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and pour over chicken pieces. Marinate refrigerated for at least 2 hours up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 and roast chicken uncovered until cooked through, about 45 minutes for bone in, 30 for boneless. If the sauce is too thin, pour into a sauce pan, skim off excess oil and boil until liquid is reduced to your liking. Pour over chicken, garnish with parsley or chives and a bit of grated lemon zest! I hope you love this dish as much as we do!

16 September 2009

Fig Galette

A galette is really just my lazy way to make a pie or tart! I can whip one up from frozen dough in just a few minutes and it isn't an ugly little pie, it's transformed into a "RUSTIC" Galette! I adore figs...growing up in Michigan it wasn't until I was an adult that I was introduced to fresh figs. I now have a list of which varieties are in season!

Mission are my favorite for any types of baking. I love the vibrant purple skins and that odd little green layer just below with the fleshy colored insides!

This dough I adapted from other recipes with just a bit of cornmeal or polenta to sop up the juices from the fruit and cheese. This dough can be frozen, tightly wrapped, for 3 months. When thawing, bring just to refrigerator temp and roll out.

Mascarpone is a triple creme cheese from Italy that is naturally sweet because of the cream content. It is famous for tiramisu, but actually does quite well in baking, or whip it with a bit of superfine sugar and use as a frosting or fruit dip!

The only thing I will caution is the use of honey in this recipe. While 2 tablespoons doesn't seem like much, I felt anymore made it too sweet and cloying. If you like it sweeter (I have been accused of liking really tart stuff!) then feel free to drizzle some extra on while still warm or serve with a really interesting Spanish honey in a funky clay jar. (We sell them at The Market!) It will be a conversation piece amongst your friends!

1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons cornmeal or Polenta
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold butter
1 Tablespoon shortening
1-3 Tablespoons cold water or enough to bind

Mix dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Using 2 forks or a pastry cutter, cut shortening and butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs, then add enough water until soft dough forms. Do not over mix or crust will be tough. Form into a disk and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

8 ounce tub of Mascarpone
2 Tablespoons honey

1 quart of fresh figs, remove stems and quarter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough into about a 12" circle, fold into quarters and transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Spread cheese somewhat evenly on dough leaving a good 2" margin around the edge. sprinkle evenly with figs and drizzle with honey.

Dampen edge of pastry with water and fold over once or twice to make a sort of rim. Bake about 20 minutes until pastry is cooked thru and galette is bubbly.

You can totally use this dough for a savory crust by omitting the sugar and adding fresh or dried herbs, garlic or freshly ground black pepper and sea salt! It tastes great!

14 September 2009

Plum Sauce

I am trying to take advantage of the bounty here in Michigan before the end of the season! This week happens to be plums! While I love the juicy red type, my favorite is the Italian plums that are drier and more intensely "plum" flavor. I also needed a quick dessert! So after much fiddling around while doing the Sunday night laundry, kitchen cleanup and listening to teenagers talk about what the weekend was all about, I came up with Plum Sauce.

I used about 3/4 of a quart of plums, halved and pitted (I want a few for an upside down sponge cake!) 3 Tablespoons Sugar, Zest from a lemon and 1/4 cup of Recioto della Valpolicella Classico. I cooked the whole thing over low heat until the plums just started to break down. It was about 20 minutes. I then ran the batch thru the food processor. I thought about straining it...but I wanted it to be a little rustic and chunky + the dishwasher was full and I HATE cleaning the fine mesh strainer by hand!

The Recioto wine is produced like an Amarone using semi-dried fruit but served sweet rather than dry. I like the fact that it is not fortified (12.5% alcohol) and has intense plum and cherry flavors! The Boulevard Market is stocking the pictured Recioto and I love that it is only a 1/2 bottle...

I think you could easily use a semi sweet Riesling or Gewurtraminer if you wanted to summer it up a bit. I put a giant dollop on top of plain Four Corners Creamery Goat Yogurt and it was divine! The yogurt added the right balance of tartness and the plum sauce was rich and sweet.

So I saved a cup full and will add a bit to tonight's vinaigrette! I love sauce recipes that become condiments. I could also see this served with a pork loin chop, maybe add a bit of vinegar to it.

12 September 2009

Banana Bread a la Orangette

I am the type of person who will not throw out food! I collect it from many sources and people, occasionally hoard it, find recipes for it and always end up creating something with it! It's seriously too much invested time just to throw into the compost or trash! So the family has been giving me a really hard time all week over the black bananas in the fridge, until yesterday...

I purchased "A Homemade Life" written by the creator of Orangette blog in June and had a few recipes marked to try. While the internet is an awesome source for recipes, I love books! I enjoyed "A Homemade Life" both the reading and recipes that I have tried, I can see why the blog has such an enormous following as well!

So for the black bananas I tried pg 26, Banana Bread with chocolate and crystallized ginger. It was made entirely with butter (my pre requisite for quick breads) QUICK and it didn't make 27 loaves of bread! Honestly, I just want one loaf...so this was the perfect recipe for me! Delicious, easy, delicious...no one has mentioned the black bananas since! the Boulevard market carries a nice crystallized ginger sold by weight if you have a hard time finding it. It was the magic of this recipe by adding just a bit of zing that quick breads sometimes lack! Enjoy and thank Molly Wizenberg for such a great recipe!

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped semi sweet chocolate (Callebaut or chocolate chips)
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup plain WHOLE FAT yogurt (I used four Corners Creamery...duh for me!)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9X5 loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, soda, salt, chocolate and ginger. Set aside. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork. Add bananas, yogurt, butter and vanilla and mix well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir gently with a rubber spatula until just combined but no unincorporated flour remains. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 minutes - 1 hour until deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan and then turn out to cool. I couldn't help myself, I cut it warm and ate it for breakfast! Molly does say this "freezes beautifully".

10 September 2009

Roasted Tomato Soup

Sometimes I just don't know what to make for supper! The nights when nothing sounds good and you just can't get up the energy to think about one more thing...it's tomato soup and grilled cheese! Our daughter, Julia is 17 and vegetarian, and this is one of her personal favorites! Late summer in Michigan has us wallowing in tomatoes so I use fresh now, but the canned are great for this recipe too! I like to puree mine, but if you prefer chunky soup...feel free! Like most soups, this tastes better the next day for lunch and freezes well for about 3 months. This is a smallish batch that feeds 4 comfortably or you can double it easily.

Grilled cheese is interesting for us...we make them from every kind of cheese we have in the fridge (American slices are not real cheese!) and add whatever we want. The beauty and downfall of owning a cheese shop is that just what you need you don't have at home, so improvise! We like to sprinkle the cheese with herbs, add roasted peppers, mustard or jam before frying. Melted cheese is somehow magical and comforting! I am fine with any sort of bread we have around.

1 14 oz can chopped tomatoes, drained or 4 large fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Heat oven to 450 degrees, pour tomatoes into 13X9 pan, drizzle with EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Roast about 15 minutes (20 for fresh) until caramelized.

1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

While tomatoes are roasting, in a large saucepan over medium heat, saute vegetables in EVOO until softened about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, butter and stock and simmer 15 minutes until vegetables are very soft. Remove from heat and add cream and basil and blend with immersion blender until desired consistency. You can garnish with extra chopped basil, croutons or some crumbled blue cheese (Roquefort is delicious!) You can also substitute about 1/4 cup blue cheese for 1/4 cup of heavy cream for a different spin! Enjoy!

07 September 2009

Sicilian Potato Salad

John and I visited Sicily last April and fell in love with this salad! The key is to use best quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil that you can afford! Not being of Italian descent, EVOO has always been something for salads and cooking...NOT TRUE! The Italians taught me EVOO is a condiment! I now have several brands I love, each with a different taste profile. Sample some at The Boulevard Market to see what you love! This recipe is easy to adapt for the number of people to be served and is just as great the next day!

Boil red potato wedges about 12 minutes until just fork tender. Drain well

Minced garlic
Fresh tomatoes in wedges or halved cherry tomatoes
Roasted red, yellow or orange sweet peppers, sliced
Green Olives, halved
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt to taste

Toss all ingredients in a serving bowl and drizzle with EVOO, let sit 15 minutes before serving. You may want to add more EVOO as vegetables will absorb some of the oil. Can be served warm or cold.

Pantry Brownies

Chocolate is a necessity on our household of John and 3 teenage daughters! We like great chocolate! Pantry Brownies are a favorite and I always have all of the ingredients on hand! This recipe is easy and can be made in a variety of pans depending on the occasion. A 9 inch springform, turns it into a torte or ramekins makes it individual sized portions. You only need to adjust your cooking times. We use Mascarpone cheese whipped with a couple tablespoons of sugar to fancy it up, but most of the time it doesn't make it that far! I ALWAYS use Valrhona natural cocoa powder, I have tried others and they just don't cut it! While it seems like a small batch, because the brownies are so rich and chocolate-y, it will feed a crowd!

2 sticks butter (do not use margarine)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs at room temp
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder (NOT Dutch processed)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a 9 inch pan with tinfoil or butter very well and flour pan.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. When just melted, remove from heat and stir in sugar,all 4 eggs and vanilla. SLOWLY stir in flour, baking powder,salt and cocoa powder so it doesn't fly all over the place! Stir until batter is smooth and uniform. Spread into baking pan and bake 40 minutes until toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs remaining. This is a fudgy brownie recipe, so be careful not to under cook. We have added nuts and glace cherries to this recipe successfully! Decadent and rich, this is a great recipe for last minute entertaining!

Grange Kitchen & Bar

John and I and a couple friends had the pleasure of eating at Grange Kitchen & Bar on Friday night. Grange is owned by Chef Brandon Johns and is a restaurant specializing in local food. We are so honored they have chosen to use Four Corners Creamery for their cheeses! About 90% of their ingredients are sourced locally and it isn't unusual to see Chef Brandon at a Farmers Market picking up his orders! While eating local is a trend that has many restaurants claiming they buy local...Grange actually does it! (We love integrity!) Everything from the decor to the service to the food was fabulous! I had (pictured above) the grilled pork loin with a cauliflower pale ale cream, fried baby brussel sprouts and fried pork confit! It was amazing! You can check out details for Grange at www.Grangekitchenandbar.com. Enjoy!

04 September 2009

Pie Social at The Market

Last night was our 1st Annual Pie Social at The Boulevard Market. We had a great time meeting new people and sampling great pies! Each attendee brought a pie and copies of their recipes to share! I will be posting some of the recipes in the future as they were all great and unique...it's nice to have something new in my repertoire of recipes! Thanks so much to all who joined us! I am always so grateful that Tecumseh is such a wonderful community to live, work (EAT) and play in!

31 August 2009

College Provisions?

Canned beets..check. Locally Roasted Espresso Beans...check. Extra Virgin Olive Oil...check. Greek style goat yogurt, Spanish sea salt? A Boulevard Market kid goes to college!!! Thought you all might get a kick out of this! My parents would say "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree"! I was impressed with the fact Gina did all the canning herself (my kitchen is still a little pink) and left a jar for the family! What a gal! We will miss her culinary creations and interesting music, thank goodness U of M is only 30 minutes away!

New Potaotes

New Potatoes
Late summer is my favorite time of year for local produce and easy meals! These small yukon gold potatoes make a great side dish and are creamy and comforting! I love how they can look elegant or casual, be suited to your taste depending upon the herbs and go well with anything! You could also use red skin potatoes. I love the fact I don't have to peel potatoes and it's said to add more vitamins, which may or may not be true...I'm sticking to it! You can adjust the recipe amounts to fit your serving needs and they taste just as fabulous cool or fried the next day!

Clean potatoes and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks and boil for 12 minutes. Drain and toss with:
3 tablespoons REAL butter
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (rosemary, summer savory, basil)

Toss, serve and Enjoy!

27 August 2009

The Boulevard Market Life

The Boulevard Market is a cheese shop and specialty food store in Tecumseh Michigan with a boutique wine selection, an in house creamery and Inn on the 2nd floor. My husband and I own the shop with our 3 teenage daughters.

Our "business" is sampling specialty foods and visiting producers around the world.

The Boulevard Market Life is about food, friends, traditions, wine and more! I hope you will visit us often to see what we are cooking, who we meet and what is happening in Tecumseh!