- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.eVyALSMd.dpuf born and raised: October 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Great Pumpkin

Chelsea's Descry launch was amazing, fun, and there was a great turn out. Nick and I warmed folks up with boozy beverages, and welcomed them in from the rain with scoops of ice cream, and boy were they happy to see us. I happily scooped until there was nothing left to scoop. We were very well received and are so grateful to be apart of such a wonderful night.
The pumpkin ice cream was a delight, and I was pleased to have some leftover pumpkin. What to make next?

I decided to make a lovely pumpkin gnocchi. I love gnocchi and every once and awhile I try my had at a perfect gnocchi, and they usually turn out OK (as good as store bought) but there is always room for improvement. It may just be the Italian gene I lack, in which case there is no hope for me.
In theory though, like all pasta, gnocchi is very simple to make.
It starts with a baked potato.
When your potato has baked through, pull it out of the stove and scoop out the hot insides and run through a food mill.

Spread the potato in a single layer onto a working surface and let cool completely.  Once the potatoes have cooled, sprinkle 1 cup of flour and a few teaspoon of salt over the potatoes.  Gather the mixture together to form a well.  Add the pumpkin puree (I used about 1/3 cup) and an egg into the middle of the well,

lightly knead the mixture together just until all ingredients are combined and it forms a ball. If the gnocchi are too wet, add more flour a little bit at a time only until the dough comes together and doesn’t stick to your fingers easily. It’s important not to overwork the dough, as this will make the gnocchi heavy and tough. 
Roll out your dough into finger with worms, and cut into bite sized pieces. I will often roll a fork over them to give them a little texture for sauce.

Plop them into boiling water for 3 to 4 minuets, until they come to the surface looking like little pillows. Drain and add your favorite sauce.

For our sauce:
This was a "chop it up, throw it in" light tomato sauce. I diced a handful or cherry tomatoes from the garden, some garlic, some onion, a spoonful or so of leftover pumpkin puree, sauteed with butter, a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Not too shabby.
We served our gnocchi with a dollop of pesto on top, and a simple apple and cheese salad.

Saturday night we carved pumpkins, and reserved the seeds, and gunk. We have more roasted pumpkin seeds then we know what to do with, the chickens have been pumpkin feasting, AND I roasted and pureed five pints of pumpkin...
In the posts to come you may note a theme. Hey, it's what's in season.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Descry Presents

I've been busy making ice cream and shaking jars or hooch.
Chelsea is hosting Descry Magazine's second issue release party, and she asked us to make sure everyone had something sweet to eat and/or drink.
Gladly I agreed.

I've been roasting pumpkin for pumpkin ice cream and crushing up cardamom for a batch of cardamom saffron.

To drink I've put together a peach vanilla brandy that has been infusing for a month now.
For the last week or so vodka has been infusing with honey and oats.
The finished product should be something quite special.
I suggest you taste for yourself!

3641 Main Street Gallery, Occidental CA
October 22, 7-11pm
 Issue No.2 Release
Art Exhibit
And Silent Auction Featuring Work By:

Elena Zavala

And Chris Weller Presents:
A Magnificent Microcosm- The Smallest Circus in Western Territories

Performance By: Odd Bird
Homemade Ice Cream and Infused Beverages By: Born & Raised 
With Toppings By: Produce to the People
Hope to see you Friday!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Folklore and Figs

When I was little I hated figs.  Now I LOVE figs. I love the way they taste, their texture, and the way they look.

Figs are one of the oldest fruits enjoyed by humans, and one of the best for us (I suppose this is just my opinion, but they are high in potassium, iron, fiber and especially plant calcium). In Buddhism the fig tree is a symbol of enlightenment. In Greek mythology, figs are associated with Dionysus, the god of wine, and with Priapus, a satyr who symbolized sexual desire.  Ancient Egyptian priests ate them at consecration ceremonies and figs show up a lot in the Old Testament as well as the New. The beautiful innards, full of seeds, signify unity and knowledge as well as fertility.
What I am trying to say, what history proves, is these are damn good eatin'.

I got a handful from Midori, and decided I would make a fig cake. A fig cake with cinnamon, to give us unifying knowledge and prosperity (cinnamon is ruled by Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love, but also has a long history of use as a herb used for business, attracting wealth abundance). A cake for writing a business plan.

Get Down to Business Fig Cake

 2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
16 T unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup chopped figs
For the top:
1/2 cup sliced figs (or however many needed to cover the surface)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
ground cinnamon

 Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

Whisk two cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl.  Beat butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated into butter & sugar.  Beat in one-third of flour mixture;  add and mix in half a cup of milk.  Add half of the remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Fold in the chopped figs.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Arrange sliced figs on the top, sprinkle the sugar, and then dust with cinnamon.

Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Making friends and family feel more abundant, one slice of cake at a time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stuffed and Stacked

I suppose we are moving into Autumn, but this 90 degree weather certainly is no indication of that.  I can tell that the seasons are shifting- I am all of a sudden waking up before the sun, and the plants are starting to shed.  The plants seem a bit confused.  We are still getting tomatoes and summer squash, even though the plants look like they are ready to be composted.  We are still getting basil too.  I want to make the most of this strange growing season, but I really want to be eating soup and starch and fungi.
For now we are combining the two, and embracing our summerfall limbo.
Stuffed mushrooms.  Or, rather: Stacked mushrooms.
I started by caramelizing red and yellow onions with a little olive oil and a little maple syrup.
When the onions looked beautiful I piled them on the upturned underbellies of portobello mushrooms. On top of that a thick slice of tomato, and some fresh local goat cheese. I drizzled a little balsamic and and olive oil over all of it, and of course, salt and pepper.

In the oven they go at 375º-ish, for 30-ish minutes, until the cheese browns a bit.

We ate our mushroom with fresh greens and some garlic bread.

Nick gave dinner two thumbs up. Success.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Goodbye Sweet Summer

Blackberries and blackberry picking are quintessentially summer.  There was a short blackberry season this year, and we picked more then we could handle at the time, so Nick and I froze some to use later.  Here they make their end-of-season debut in a Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn cake.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn Yogurt Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs (thanks chickens)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup blackberries (you can use any berry,  fresh or frozen, ours were frozen and not completely thawed)
1 pear cored and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350, grease a 9 inch pan of some kind
Mix flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold blackberries gently into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and arrange the sliced pear on top. bake for about 50 (+) minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the cake comes out clean.

 Hello Autumn!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pizza Pie in the Sky

Finally, pizza!
As I've mentioned before we love pizza, and we eat a lot of it. It has been awhile though. This summer has been so busy for us and we have been eating other things... like eggs.
The key to pizza success is good dough and high heat. We have aspirations to build a wood-fire oven in the backyard, but we just haven't gotten to it. The next best thing is on the grill.
It is true that everything tastes good if you grill it, but is especially true with pizza. Grilled pizza is crispy, chew, smokey, perfect.
There are a few tricks to grilling pizza; thin crust is ideal (always, right?), and less is more when it come to toppings.

 Nick makes the most amazing dough,
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
11/2 cup warm water
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp salt
4 cup flour
Add yeast to warm water, let proof for 10 minuets. Yeast should become a frothy paste.
Stir in olive oil
Add flour and salt, knead for 10 minuets
Refrigerate overnight
Take the dough out and punch and flip dough, then put it back in the icebox for at least 4 hours

We have found that making the dough a few days ahead of pizza night give the dough a really beautiful sour flavor.

Pizza night! Prepare your grill, you want your coals to be medium hot, not too low, the point it to quickly cook on high heat (without burning)
Roll out or pull out your dough, we usually keep our pizzas on the small side because it is easier to work with.
Brush your dough with olive oil and grill for 3 minuets
Flip over and add toppings, sometimes we pull the pizza away from the grill to add toppings so we can grill another dough.
When you have the toppings on cover the grill an check every few minuets. Remove when your cheese has melted or underneath is golden.

Experiment with toppings. We love the classic Margarita pizza, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella. If you can afford it (we usually can't) get yourself mozzarella di bufala. It's not local but it is the best. We opt for Belfiore mozzarella from Berkeley.

On this night our second pizza was sliced pears from my dads tree, fresh local goat cheese, spinach, and a little bit of Gruyere.

It's never too late in the year for using the grill!