Grow Cook Brew

Cherry Cla-FOO-tee (Clafouti) by Ms. A
August 15, 2010, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Cook the Food

Sadly I only discovered the joy of part custard, part-pancake, but fully delicious clafouti a year ago.  During my blissful post-gradschool/pre-work two months of vacation/unemployment, I cooked up quite a storm.  One rainy day, I was determined to finally make something from my new copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Well, finding something that I had the ingredients for AND wasn’t going to take the whole entire day didn’t leave too many options.  Cherries:  check.  Cherry pitter:  not so much.  Master Google offered some suggestions of how to fashion your own, and I think I used a twisted paperclip.  The dessert was pretty good, but I remarked to J, showing my cherry stained fingers, that it was definitely NOT worth 45 minutes of hand-pitting cherries to only end up with this good-but-not-great dessert.  I thought I was done with clafouti…but I was wrong.  A few months later, one of my friends made cherry clafouti for brunch (and it tasted better than my Julia version had), and extolled the virtues of the cherry pitter.  Noted.  So as cherry season came round again this year, I used half a bag to try clafouti again.  I followed The Gourmet Cookbook‘s recipe, substituting cognac for the kirsch.  I’ll share the credit for the improved experience with my friend the proper cherry pitter.  This year’s conversation with J went more like this:  “This is so easy.”  “This is so delicious.”  “Why don’t we make this everyday?”  Good question!

Cherry Clafouti (Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)

1 1/4 pounds fresh cherries, pitted (they call for sour, but I used sweet cherries and it was delicious!)

1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar (i used a bit less since I was using sweet cherries)

4 eggs

1 cup whole milk (I used a mixture of 1% milk and half and half)

1/2 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons kirsch (I used cognac instead)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400, making sure rack is in middle of oven.  Butter a 2 qt baking dish (square Pyrex works perfectly here, I’ve also used a pie pan).  Mix the cherries with the 1 Tbsp sugar and spread in the pan.

Put eggs, milk, flour, salt, butter, kirsch/cognac, vanilla, 1/2 cup sugar in blender and blend until smooth.  It will be fairly thin.  Pour the batter over the cherries in the pan.

Bake until puffed up and golden, about 35-45 minutes.  Cool slightly on a rack (it may sink a bit..don’t worry, it will still taste good).  Serve warm.  Makes delicious breakfast reheated the next morning.

Cherries ready, waiting for the batter to go in the blender!


Marinate your Steak by Ms. A
August 3, 2010, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Cook the Food


A year ago, we first found a mysterious package labeled “flap meat” in the cooler case of beef at the farmer’s market.  How could we NOT buy something labeled “flap meat”?  A year later, we’re still buying it whenever we can.  While it sounds bizarre, flap meat turns out to be from the bottom sirloin cut of the cow.  The beef and butchery industries have gotten more careful about how they create cuts of beef, and they’ve analyzed all the traditional cuts to find out where they could cut it differently to get “new” steaks or cuts.  Flat iron steak was found this way (it used to be attached to a roast), and perhaps flap meat got discovered the same way.  Continue reading

10 Batches In by snman31
July 18, 2010, 7:14 pm
Filed under: Brew the Beer

(Guest post by Mr. J) Yesterday we brewed our 10th batch of beer. Ten batches of beer means that 50 gallons or close to 500 bottles of beer have been produced by the Unibrau brewing company since we first got started on 03 January 2010. Fittingly enough, this milestone brew was a repeat of the very first beer we ever made: a Bavarian Hefeweizen. But while the style of beer may be the same, a lot has changed since that first snowy brewday. Continue reading

Grilled Fish in a Basket by Ms. A
July 18, 2010, 7:27 am
Filed under: Cook the Food

I have a weakness for kitchen stuff, and last year bought a fish/vegetable grilling basket from the Crate and Barrel outlet.  Except I never used it once last season.  Oops.  I felt it staring at me, hanging off the pot rack, imbibed with J’s voice from the future trying to downsize my kitchen equipment and throwing out everything that hadn’t been used in the past year.  So I set off to use the pan.  And?  Delicious perfectly grilled fish and veggies!  The basket allows you to layer lemon and herbs around the fish (an idea taken from magazine and catalog pictures), and you can keep turning it without disrupting the skin or causing the fish to fall apart.  I sandwiched the salmon between thinly sliced lemons, and the salmon took on a light lemon flavor.  Perfect summer meal.  To round it out, I served with peas and with mashed cauliflower. Continue reading

July in the Garden by Ms. A
July 13, 2010, 7:02 pm
Filed under: Grow the Garden

Our plants have been busy growing, bugs and pests have been busy reproducing, and it remains dry dry dry.  Last year we had too much rain and no sun, this year we have abundant sun, higher-than-normal temps, and no rain. 

Done:  Spinach, arugula, broccoli rabe, and shelling peas. 

Almost done:  sugar snap peas…these have had a great run, but only a few plants are still flowering and producing fruit.  I will replant in August for a fall crop.

Here for awhile:  Carrots, kale

Newly here:  Green beans, Hungarian Wax hot peppers, pickling cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini

On the cusp:  some cherry tomatoes, eggplants Continue reading

Double Pea Risotto by Ms. A
July 3, 2010, 9:17 pm
Filed under: Cook the Food

Our pea crop is coming to an end, and I still hadn’t gotten around to making a pea risotto!  I don’t think I had risotto until college or after, and it seemed the grown-up, mature version of the rice-based “concoctions” or casseroles my mom would put together for weeknight suppers.  I think it is magical how the rice becomes creamy as you cook it, and risotto is a great vehicle for lots of flavor combinations. Risotto with peas is one of my faves.  For this dish, I used two kind of peas:  the full pod of sugar snap peas (cut them into ½ inch wide “strips” diagonally), lightly sautéed in olive oil, and then the peas from English shelling peas, dropped in at the end.  The snap peas provided a nice crunch, and the shelling peas provide the spring sweetness.  A healthy handful of chopped basil adds additional flavor. Continue reading

Sweet and Spicy Wild Rice Salad by Ms. A
June 30, 2010, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Cook the Food

Wild rice , until recently, evoked memories of dark, cold winter nights, eating Wild Rice Soup at the kitchen table on Saturday evenings while listening to Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion.  I hated these suppers.  First, I did not appreciate wild rice, nor wild rice soup, and was disappointed when I discovered the identity of what was on the stove.  I never understood why the adults seemed to think it was a treat.  Continue reading