Wednesday, May 27, 2009

the dog ate my homework :: saga of DB in May

No. Seriously. I'm not kidding. She ate half of my morel and oyster mushroom strudel. Full disclosure: there was also a whole lot of prosciutto in it. But more on that later.

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caf├ęs of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

I made two versions this time around, one savory, one sweet. The idea of strudel dough was a little intimidating, I'll admit. I'm happy to report that it is very easy to work with. I don't think I got mine quite thin enough. Parts of it were fairly transparent. But when the whole thing was rolled up it was not as thin as I would have liked it to be.

Rhubarb is in abundance here in Michigan these days, and I've been finding many uses for it. Mostly jars full of rhubarb compote. Mm mm, makes my tongue tingle just thinking about a spoonful of that.

Although I can enjoy a sweet dessert, I do not crave them as I do the savory. For this version I sauteed two shallots, in 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil. Chopped roughly two cups of oyster mushrooms and one half cup of morels. Sauteed and added 1 tbsp fresh thyme. Added 8 or so chopped slices of prosciutto.

Here's a shot of it getting filled.

I intended to add 1 cup of shredded Comte inside before I rolled it, but in the process the cheese was forgotten about, so at the last 5 minutes of baking, I put it on top of the strudel. This created a wonderfully bubbly crispy cheese layer that I was really proud of. But alas, the dog found it irresistible as it cooled on the stove top. That dirty mutt. I have to admit; she's got pretty good taste.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

this is not a joke ::

I let the kiddos go into Morgan and York for an afterschool snack. Naturally they gravitated for the chips. Who wouldn't really? As I was ogling the prosciutto, they came over to me with several bags of uniquely flavored chips. Easily my favorite was Tyrell's Roasted lamb with shrewsbury sauce. Tyrell's is a gourmet chip/snack company in the UK growing potatoes for their own potato chips. Right up my alley, a small producer who cares about the product from the seed to the bag. Here's a quote from their site about why they exist.

Passionate about potatoes would be one way of describing our team at Tyrrells Potato Chips. We've been growing our own potatoes and turning them into delicious chips here at Tyrrells Court Farm in Herefordshire since 2002. Borne out of a passion for quality and simplicity, potato farmer and founder Will Chase, has established the farm as a sustainable and growing business. Having travelled the world in the late nineties in search of the perfect potato chip production methods and equipment, he brought his new-found knowledge back to Tyrrells Court Farm and launched a product that would soon become one of Britain's best loved premium snack products.

Let's get back to the reason for this post. Yes, potato chips flavored with lamb. If you're against the eating of lamb because you feel for the poor helpless fuzzy things, I'm very sorry for you. On Easter a rack of frenched lamb chops are about the best thing you could put in your mouth. At any rate, yes these chips are flavored with lamb fat. Separate the cute white fluffy bleating from the sinfully satisfying feeling for lamb fat on your tongue.

I was trepidatious on the first bite, but once I had that inital crunch, I was hooked. The flavor is pretty intense, and I might add that they might not be the kind of bag that you eat out of while munching in front of the TV. They call loud for you to pay attention. I can't wait to try the other flavors. An excuse for another trip to M & Y.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

ode to my dad... on mother's day?

My dad is a pretty cool guy. I think my tendency to pick up a lot of hobbies and dabble in them for only a short while comes from him.

Food photography is one of those things for him and for me. I guess you could even technically call him a pro because he's gotten paid for his food pictures. Last time when he visited, he helped me set up a studio in the basement where I can take my own food shots. I love natural light, but that's not always reliable. So now, I have a guarantee that the lighting will always be there.

He calls this one "The Pieta".

I think that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I'll take any compliment I can get.

Friday, May 08, 2009

mushroom lovers unite

Sometimes I get an idea for a new hobby, and believe me this is not a good idea. I have so many hobbies, it's stupid. So many things I'd love to fill my hours and days with, but alas NO TIME. Mushroom hunting is one of those things that I'd love to dabble in; not do day in and day out, but just say "Yeah I can do that. No big whoop."

On my birthday I had my kids humor me and go for a birthday walk. Little did they know it would be to search for morels. I've heard that there are plenty to be found here in Ann Arbor. But mushroom hunters are as tight lipped as virgins, so you can never get them to hunt and tell.
An anonymous website suggested Bird Hill park as a potential morel site.

So for about an hour, with a toddler on my back for half of that time and the other three following along, I "walked"/searched for morels, and in fact came up with these two half-free morels. Resources will tell you that they are not as flavorful as true yellow or black morels, but for my first time, I'd say that I did a fine job.

Although I'll admit it left me wanting for more...

simple sides :: ricotta fritters

Last week fresh ricotta caught my eye at WF and I just couldn't resist. So I bought it without any idea what I'd use it for.

It's been staring at me from the fridge for six days, begging to be used before it went bad, so tonight I threw together a fantastic side dish that had the kids and adults longing for seconds.

Proscuitto ricotta fritters
(You could of course make this without the Proscuitto, but I had a few slices in the fridge also begging to get used before spoiling.)

1. Mix together 3 cups fresh ricotta (if you've only got Sargento or Polly-o, don't bother with this recipe), 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, 2 egg yolks, 1/2 cup self-rising flour & 4 or 5 slices of Proscuitto di parma chopped & black pepper. Go easy on the salt- the romano and proscuitto add a lot.

2. Drop by 1/8 cupfuls into 375 degree oil. Remove when golden brown- approximately 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towel lined baking sheet.

These are seriously yummy and hard to stop popping in your mouth. Not only do they make a great side dish, but they'd also make a great app. Tasted just as good at room temp.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

birthday girl

I can remember way back into my distant childhood that the best part of my birthday was choosing whatever I wanted to eat for the whole day. The. Whole. Day. Even then I was obsessed. So even if against the grain of my natural food whole-wheat bread household, I wanted salami and cheetos, salami and cheetos it was.

I do this for my own kids now, and even though it sometimes means banana splits for breakfast, I'm cool with that. It's only once a year.

For me now, my meals of the birthday can make or break the day. I suppose even more than they can on a normal day. So after being "good" and detox-dieting over the last couple weeks, I decided to let loose. I'm going to level with you. I ate Zingerman's all day. Yeah, yeah, I'm obsessed. But it tastes good, darn it. I don't care how much it costs.

Breakfast = Farmers' hash, one egg, one Edwards breakfast sausage, onion rye toast. A cafe mocha and an iced tea.
This filled me up so much at 9:30 that I didn't even need lunch, but opted to save the hunger for dinner.

Dinner = half of a pimento cheese burger with sweet potato fries and a traverse city cherry soda (my daughter split a meal with me)

And naturally it ended with a cake (ordered from NJ from Zingermans) from my sweet mommy.

A pretty good birthday indeed.