Sunday, November 11, 2012

Romanesco Fractal Cauliflower

This has got to be the ultimate nerd vegetable. This is a food to enjoy with both your mouth and your head. We got ours at Wilson Farms and cooked it with shallots and shiitake mushrooms. The flavor was mild on its own, taking up the flavors of the mushrooms and shallots. We served it with a side of pork chops that I cooked on the grill. It was great to have such a delightfully warm late-fall day. Gail and I spent the first part of it raking then toodled around together enjoying it.

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

Noele has been extending her vegetarian repertoire with some great vegan recipes. She shared a vegan fettuccine Alfredo recipe with us that she really enjoyed. We weren't able to find the raw cashews, so we substituted the walnuts we had.

Ours didn't come out tasting like Alfredo, but it did taste good, more like carbonara. I think you can see in the picture how the nuts didn't chop into a butter like I think the cashews will. We bought some raw cashews today and will try it again soon.

We put the sauce on a fun, flower shaped pasta. It is called Primule Mediterranee from Pasta Di Stigliano. Gail also sauteed a vegetable mix of celery, zucchini and tomatoes that was really wonderful.
Vegan Alfredo Sauce
Makes 2 c sauce

½ c plus raw cashews
Salt and pepper to taste (1/16 t)
½ t ea onion and garlic powders
1 ½ c vegetable broth
2 T olive oil
1 ½ T cornstarch
  1. Pulse nuts with seasonings in food processor.
  2. Mix broth and oil in saucepan; temper in cornstarch. Stir into saucepan; bring to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  3. Pour thickened broth mixture into cashews; pulse to puree.
  4. Serve over cooked fettuccine.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pecan Pear Bites Featuring Trees from Austin to Boston

I got these fresh pecans from from my blogger swap partner in Austin. She got them from a neighborhood tree. The pears are from the pear tree in our own yard. So, this dish really represents the spirit of the Austin to Boston blog swap.

That's a slider bun with a layer of brie, a layer of homemade cranberry sauce, a slice of our pear and a pecan half. It really couldn't be simpler. Thanks for the deliciously fresh pecans, Rachel.

Another Great Bread Bowl ... & Cheese

You'll know from past posts how bread bowls hold a special place for Gail and me. Tonight, Gail made homemade wheat bread bowls, and we filled them with soup made with garden potatoes and leeks. Yum.

We also like a little goat cheese in our soup. Since we still have some cheese left from our cheese share, we did a taste test of how various cheeses compared. We typically use grocery store chèvre logs, so this was the cheese to compare against. The other two were the boucheron-like Ada's Pride from Ruggles Hill Creamery and the brie-like Kunik from Nettle Meadow Farm.

Eaten plain, both the Ada's Pride and the Kunik far outshine the chèvre log. I really expected the Ada's Pride to be my favorite in the soup. Surprisingly, the chèvre worked best in this soup. Well, that's why we do these taste tests.

Gail's bread bowls worked particularly well with the soup. She made a half recipe of this whole wheat sourdough bread from It had a particularly good mouth feel as I scraped the gooey inner walls of the bowl. Gail wishes she had made four loaves with this half recipe, and I agree. Each loaf was too big for one person, but also too big to hold their bowl shapes.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Formaggio Kitchen Local Cheese Share

On Saturday, Gail and I picked up our first local cheese share from Formaggio Kitchen. We signed up for three months, and it looks like something we might keep doing for a while.

Formaggio hires passionate people. By coincidence, the first person we asked about picking up our cheese was Erin Carlman Weber, the person who picks what is in the package. She was excited to tell us about the heirloom apple she included to go with the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. Her enthusiasm made getting our package feel like getting a Christmas present.

The package included:

Ada's Honor, Ruggles Hilll Creamery from Harwick, MA
This is a small round of goat cheese. It has a thick, white rind followed by a thin gooey edge and a dry, flaky center. It reminded me of the texture variety of a Bucheron, but with a thinner gooey edge. It was both mild and richly flavored. I'm not sure how that's possible. We both liked this one very much.

Kunik, Nettle Meadow Farm from Thurman, NY
This is a larger round of cheese, like a small brie. And, this cheese tasted like a mild, but not bland brie. It had the same white rind with a slightly gooey center and a nice buttery flavor. It is made with a delicious combination of goat milk and cow milk. I would favor this over the sometimes funkier flavors of a brie.

Dorset, Consider Bardwell Farm from West Pawlet, VT
This is a wedge of soft, moist cheese. It was mild, but had a slight blue cheese flavor. By chance, we had another cheese in our refrigerator from Consider Bardwell: Pawlet. It is a very similar cheese; a bit dryer and firmer but still soft. It has a similar mild flavor without the tangy blue notes. We liked the Pawlet better.

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Cellars at Jasper Hill from Greensboro, VT
This was not our first Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, but it was the most well aged, flaky-dry example we've had: wow! There was really no slicing this cheese, and I'm not sure how they sliced the piece we had. It just broke apart under the knife. The result was a rich cheddar flavor with a mild hint of the caramel notes of a great blue cheese.

Erin included a D'Arcy Spicy heirloom apple to go with the cheddar. The apple was from Scott Farm in Dommerston Vermont. The apple alone was mildly tart, not the type of apple I would usually eat plain. I'm also not usually an apple and cheese guy, but I can see why people would like this pairing of sweet and salty. The textures matched so that it was hard to tell what was apple and what was cheese. The cheese mellowed the tartness of the apple, and the apple mellowed the blue notes in the cheese. I'd rather have those flavors independent and prominent.

Thanks for the gift, Erin.