Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Italian Easter Pie

a more traditional approach is to add orange flower water or millefiore -
Aroma Millefiori (Flower Essence)Aroma Millefiori (Flower Essence)
 , candied citron, or orange and lemon zest.
also, tradition calls for a pasta frollo italian crust - not this american version shown here
I really just liked the cook and her cooking technique - here is another recipe;
1/2 cup hulled soft wheat berries*
2 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 whole large eggs
4 cups cold water
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb fresh ricotta
1/2 teaspoon orange-flower water**
1 1/4 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange zest
2 tablespoons finely chopped candied citron***
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Special equipment: a fluted pastry wheel
*available at natural foods stores and Middle Eastern markets
**available in the supermarket 's bar section or in the baking aisle, or by mail order from Kalustyan's (212-685-3451)
***available at specialty foods shops and some supermarkets
Cover wheat berries with cold water in a bowl, then chill, covered, 8 to 12 hours. Drain in a sieve and rinse.
Make pastry while wheat berries soak: Sift together 2 1/4cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and 1/2teaspoon salt. Blend in 1 1/4sticks butter (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 whole eggs and stir with a fork until a crumbly dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a work surface. Divide in half and with heel of your hand smear each piece of dough twice with a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough and form into 2 disks. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.
Make filling: Bring soaked wheat berries and cold water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until wheat berries are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer 5 minutes more. Drain in sieve and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain well.
Whisk together 2 yolks and 1/4 cup sugar, then whisk in cornstarch and remaining 3 tablespoons flour until smooth. Bring milk to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, then gradually add hot milk to yolks, whisking.
Pour custard into saucepan and bring to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking constantly (custard will get very thick), then boil, whisking, 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and remaining 1/4 stick (2 tablespoons) butter. Transfer pastry cream to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with wax paper.
Beat together ricotta and remaining 1/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Beat in flower water, pastry cream, and remaining 2 yolks, then stir in zest, citron, cinnamon, and wheat berries.
Assemble and bake pie: Preheat oven to 350F.
Roll out half of dough into a 13-inch round on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Fit dough into a 9-inch (24-centimeter) springform pan (dough is very tender and will crack). Press dough against side of pan and patch any cracks. Chill.
Lightly beat remaining egg. Roll out remaining dough into a 10-inch round and transfer to a baking sheet. Brush dough with some of egg, then cut into 10 (1-inch) strips with fluted pastry wheel.
Spoon filling into chilled piecrust (filling will not reach top of crust).
Arrange 5 dough strips vertically on filling (1 inch apart), pressing ends of strips into crust. Arrange remaining 5 strips over them in same manner to form a diagonal lattice. Trim crust 1/2 inch from top of filling, then fold over lattice. Brush edge with some of egg.
Bake pie in middle of oven until pastry is golden and filling is puffed and set, about 1 1/2 hours, covering top of pie with foil after 50 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Transfer to a rack to cool. Run a thin knife around edge of pie and remove side of pan. Chill pie at least 2 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fresh Picked Blueberry Muffins

I froze blueberries from a UPick farm in Cooperstown NY named INGALLS BLUEBERY HILL.  they are organic - more expensive - the berries are plump and the owner is helpful.
we picked for about 3 hours.

It was the middle of August, I think a later harvest than normal.  Call 607-547-2600 for info + facebook link - call first for best picking.  

They provide buckets to pick lined with bags to take your blueberries home.  I brought a plastic tray to lay them in the car - they are fragile.  Than I washed and froze them and de-stemmed.  I froze in large 2 mil bags that I use for freezer products.  They held up very well.  I recently made blueberry muffins.  Here is the recipe.

2 c cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking pwder
3/4 tsp salt
mix dry ingredients

1 stick butter
3/4 c sugar or substitute (honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar)
3/4 c sour cream or buttermilk
2 eggs

add dry ingredients and mix
add blueberries to taste - I used alot

the frozen berries help the batter to chill immediately which makes for better baking
Bake at 350 degrees until a tester comes out clean depending on the size of your muffins they take as little as 15-20 minutes to bake.  They stay moist and soft for a good amount of time in your frig! Enjoy!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Peking Duck

we raised ducks a few years back...Gene did not like taking them to be "processed".  he always has been a bird man.  otherwise a vegetarian...i do enjoy peking duck...roasted Chinese style.  he and i both feel so much for all creatures that we are better off with veggies...

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Making of Siggi's

What I like about this product is the taste and the ingredients.  It is thick like Greek yogurt - strained - but not as thick as some.  Best of all it is produced by Evans Farmhouse, wonderful, down to earth people and local.  While the product is not organic - the cows are pastured and that allows them to live in their natural environment.
Chobani yogurt, another local producer, is made from milk largely from factory farms that confine their cows 24/7.  The founder, Hamdi Ulukaya has brought some revitalization to the area's job market.   However, reports that "his ex-wife Dr Alyse Giray is suing Ulukaya for $1.5 billion, claiming she gave him money to start and expand his original business in exchange for a 53% stake." Ulukaya says the suit has "no merit"  I wonder when the case will be determined? I hardly think any locals know about this.  But that has no bearing on the yogurt product of course...

If I had to choose a Greek yogurt for taste, the runner up would be Fage, also made in New York State.
We have alot to celebrate with so many yogurts made in New York State.  Here is a list of some:
Agro Farmer - Chobani

Friday, January 9, 2015

Foodie Year in Review: 2014

this is the pineapple heirloom - a great slicing tomato!

My favorite food consumption this year included oysters at a local restaurant.  Cleaned and served chilled with fresh lemon and hot sauce is one of the truly simple and delectable treats.  I found these purveyors posted on the Martha blog.  I have not tried them yet, but intend to in the future for parties!

These are reasonable prices, especially if you are having guests and need 100 oysters!

for smoked salmon, you may try russ and daughters:

My all time favorite food - is the fresh heirloom tomato plucked from our farm gardens and sliced on Italian bread topped with mayo.  Nothing else screams summer to me, except the beach!  Purely delectable...
here is a sandwich with tomatoes, my cousins great fried hot peppers, and chunks of provolone cheese.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Onion Souffle Cheese Dip

Really like this dip!  It is an indulgence, so we'll only have it once or twice a year.  I saute the chopped onions first to carmelize them but you dont have to.  To vary this mixture: replace cream cheese with any soft goat or sheep cheese, instead of a pecorino, use any hard grating cheese.  Add a blue cheese.  Bake the whole mixture in individual ramekins and serve room temp or warmed, not hot.  Serve with crackers or thin sliced toasted bread.

3-4 onions chopped
24 oz cream cheese
2 cup pecorino
1/2 cup mayo