27 August 2015

Bastelles a la Courge - Squash Handpies

The squash is getting ripe in the gardens. I guess this means Fall is at the corner! I spent the morning slicing and dicing butternut squash, onions, and garlic and rolling out a spelt flour handpie crust. It's always fun to start making those first few recipes that hale a change of season, isn't it?

25 August 2015

Manchet and a Tribute to a Book

Normally, I'd write a reaction to any book I want to share with folks over on my literature and writing blog, Buch Handling. This book, though, just has to be recommended to all my foodie friends and followers.  Lawrence Norfolk has given foodies a taste of the life of a cook during the late 17th century. I've given you ... bread!

15 August 2015

Bourbon Cherry Ice Cream

It's hot. Make ice cream.

12 August 2015

Lemon Zucchini Tea Bread

One of the things I love about social media is the sharing of recipes and foodie websites. My cousins and I pass our share of yummy food porn photos back and forth. Jenny and Gretchen love their baked goods and last week a photo of a lemon zucchini bread was smeared ALL over our FB walls. It was more than I could take, so I have grabbed the recipe they shared with gusto, whizzed up some of the copious zucchini that is coming from our backyard plot, and put together the bread for today's tea time treat.

10 August 2015

Mushrooms and Marsala Wine with Venison Medallions

Although this dish feels like fall and winter, I have a cache of venison in my freezer, dark Baby Bella mushrooms that need using, and copious amounts of garden vegetable that will be a snap to roast and steam, as I sear the venison and prepare a rich sauce to put around them.

In thinking about this meal, it occurs to me that much of the main ingredients come from our garden and from SB's passion for the hunt. Is this where I let out that primal scream that announces our sure ability to survive longer than the regular schmoe, should the apocalypse happen?  I'm not that smug, but it sure is satisfying to know that when I look at tonight's plate I can be a happy backyard gardener and look across the table at the hunting hick !

Inch thick blade steaks - trim the sides of the silver skin, but leave the center strip of fat)

Now, here's a good way to make venison ... pound out a couple steaks  (these are blade steaks, but tenderloins or chops work also!) and cut them into burger-sized medallions. Heat a grill pan until it's searing hot. Toss a pat of butter on the pan and push it around to grease the ways. Plop on the medallions and set the timer for one minute. Flip them and set the timer for another minute. Remove them to a platter and cover loosely for a couple minutes while you finish whatever sauce you've started making. Drizzle some of the sauce over top and serve them immediately.

That's it!

Pounded to about 1/3 inch thickness, sprinkled with salt, pepper, steak spice and drizzled with just a bit of olive oil

Sautéed in a bit of butter until browned and beginning to crisp at the edges, soaked in some Marsala wine and set aside to soak up the flavors... finished with cream and butter just before serving

Now, about this sauce ... it's Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced thickly (because we like a bit of chew to our food), a couple tablespoons of butter, a couple sprigs of thyme with the leaves stripped off, some salt and pepper, a couple tablespoons of Marsala wine, and some light cream and butter pats to finish the sauce.

That's it!

Pour the wine and enjoy. 

If venison is not your thing, you could do this meal with beef tenderloin and it would be pretty darn good. Go for it !

A Note About Venison ...

The big thing with venison is to have really simple side dishes (or sides that you can fuss over earlier in the dinner prep process.). In our case, we have new potatoes and rosemary for roasting and fresh green beans for the steaming. I know that I've ranted on this in earlier venison posts, but it's really important. there's nothing worse than overdone venison ... think shoe leather. It must be cooked medium rare to rare in order to maintain its moisture and tenderness. Venison is so very lean that it dries out fast and then it's useless ... make it into Slim Jims or something equally gross.

So ... keep it rare. Simple as that ...

08 August 2015

Remember Fig Newtons ???

When I was a kid, my mother would pack our school lunches every day of the week. Oftentimes, she'd get Nabisco Fig Newton bars when they were on sale at the supermarket and pop three little cookies in a plastic wrap. They were so delish dunked in milk and chomped in such a way that the little seeds popped between my teeth. Loved that sensory thing ... don't know why, but to this day I love figs for their sweetness and their seed-popping chew!

07 August 2015

An Aside ...

Our wax and green beans, our tomatoes, our chives, local corn ... summer's bounty!

Easy dinners come my way in the summer ... tonight's a simple plate of Spanish rice and beans with browned butter and almonds. Meatless, full of vegetables and perfect with a cold glass of Albarino.

What easy meals are you making at this time of year ?  I could always use some new ideas for using the garden produce!

05 August 2015

Campanelle and Pesto Pasta Bowl

The other day, a Facebook friend posted a funny comment about this being zucchini season and that everyone should begin locking their cars ... yeah, it's zucchini season all right ! My counter is starting to become cluttered with zucchini and cucumbers. By next week, I'll be threatening SB with death if he brings any zucchini into the house that is larger than a  ... you know! Sorry, but THAT is the perfect size for cooking. What can I say?

04 August 2015

Baba Ghannouj with Black Olives

Okay. So this is the next starter dip that I will prepare when next we have guests come through the door. So smooth and warm, so full of smoky, lemony, garlicky flavors ... perfect scooped onto plain pita chips or slices of cucumber or radish. My God. Could it be semi-healthy also !?!

01 August 2015

Apricot and Blueberry Galette

- High Summer on a Plate ...