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Pre-deflation cake

Last weekend, we made our annual pilgrimage up to Oak Glen’s apple farms. Last year, the apple crop wasn’t strong enough to sustain their usual u-pick operations, so we were happy to see that this year there was a healthy crop of fruit-laden trees. Right now, they have Granny Smith, Red Rome, and Red Delicious ready for picking, but it changes as the season progresses. We picked a peck of all three (after surreptitiously taste- testing the Red Delicious to make sure they were as different from the supermarket examples of that variety as we hoped — they were, crunchy and sweet, with a little tartness). We used up all our cash paying for the apples we picked, and then it was downhill from there. My husband left his Visa at home, I couldn’t use mine because some fool in Florida made a counterfeit card to fund his $5/gallon gas habit, and the yummy barbecue place didn’t take AmEx. But at least we had apples. Lots and lots of apples.

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Fig upside-down cake

No spam was harmed in the taking of this picture.

We have this thing in our house. Whenever the kids are giving us a hard time about food — you know, won’t choose a snack, can’t decide what they want — we offer them figs. Figs figs figs. Sometimes we throw in some Spam. Figs and Spam Spam and figs. For some reason lost to time, they find the idea of figs hilarious and kind of disgusting. Figs figs figs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Everyone loves the traditional NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Cookie recipe. Sure. But do we really have to stick so closely to it? If we add a few things, will the NTHCCCC* come down on us like a ton of bricks? There is really only one way to find out. Read the rest of this entry »

If you are like me (and I think you probably are),  your tomatoes haven’t been very good this year.  In fact they probably haven’t ripened at all, and here you are at the beginning of October with a bunch of green tomatoes to dispose of and a distinct lack of options.

I have always been vaguely disdainful of the whole fried green tomatoes idea. Anything tastes good when you coat it in eggs and breadcrumbs and fry it 1/2 an inch of oil.  That does not impress anyone. This will. Read the rest of this entry »

Did you know that, according to the Southern Rockland Co. Center for Wheatberry Studies, 99.99% of all Americans are not getting their recommended daily allowance of wheatberries? And according to the Wheatberry Institute at the State University of New York at Pulldata Myasse, just one serving of wheatberries a day can lead to higher levels of energy, youthful high-spiritedness and increased sexytude? Not to mention their effect on bowel regularity. So, as part of my work for the National Association for the Advancement of Wheatberry Consumption, I am dedicating the following blog post to the delicious fruit of the wheat tree, the wheatberry.

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Ever had a garlic spear? No? Well, what’s keepin’ ya? The immature head of elephant garlic, they have a mild, sweet garlic flavor when roasted or grilled. I hear they’re great sauteed as well. Anything you can do with asparagus, you can do with the spear. Serve them alongside grilled meat or fish! Toss them in pasta! Pull them off the grill and nom them up one at a time until you have to figure out another side dish for the rest of your guests!

Here’s what I did!

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Me + dessert generally = epic disaster, but this was a dinner party, dammit.  It was the right thing to do.

Kheer 1

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Just because I like to make things a little more difficult for myself.

Vidalia Onion Relish

Dice a sweet onion (Vidalia or Walla Walla – if you’re using a regular yellow onion, up the sugar in the recipe).  Combine with 1 Tbsp lime juice, sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon sugar, and a pinch of salt.  The longer you can let the flavors combine before eating, the better – I recommend overnight.  Prepare for vicious onion breath, and make sure that if you eat it, you also feed some to anyone you plan to make out with later.

Vidalia onion relish

Cilantro Chutney

Toss 1 bunch cilantro (stems and all!  Technology FTW!) into your food processor.  Squeeze in the juice of half a lime.  Add a medium-sized shallot, a clove of garlic, a hefty pinch of salt, and a liberal sprinkle apiece of cumin and cayenne.  Start running the food processor and drizzling in olive oil until you have a good emulsion.

Cilantro chutney

“Jai Ho” means “Victory to you.”  When a girl who’s whiter than a mayo and Wonder Bread sandwich manages to pull off a successful Indian dinner party, I consider that girl victorious indeed.

Indian plate

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If you have milk you do.

From Thirty Great Cheeses to Make at Home:

1/2 gal whole milk
1 c heavy cream
7 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 t salt

1. Squeeze the lemons. It took 3 small lemons to make 7 Tablespoons

2. Put all the ingredients into a pan over medium low heat.   Allow mixture to heat for 45 to 50 minutes until temperature reaches 165 to 170 degrees.  Stir the mixture once or twice to avoid sticking.  But don’t stir too much otherwise the ricotta curds will be too small.

3. Increase heat slightly for another 7 to 8 minutes or until it reaches 200 to 205 degrees on the edges and in the middle.

4. Remove ricotta from the heat and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.  Line a colander with a double thickness of damp cheesecloth.  Pour the curds into the colander.

5.  Allow the ricotta to drain for 20 minutes

Makes 16 ounces of yummy light slightly lemony ricotta.  Perfect for pasta, salads or even cheesecake.

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