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A highlight of a delightful program on the amazing hummingbird was the amazing hummingbird cake created by Gio DiNicola -- light, lucious, and magical. From a recipe developed by Cook's Illustrated/Cook's Country.
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A special treat for the autumn and the holidays from Cecile Sandwen -- and a delightful addition to our October meeting.
6 oz dried mixed fruit (I used about 1 ½ c mixed raisins, craisins, prunes, and dates)
2 chopped bananas
2/3 c orange juice
1 tsp cinnamon
a dash of ground cloves
1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 ¾ c. wheat flour
1 ½ c. old fashioned uncooked oats
½ t cinnamon
½ c chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 375. Combine fruit mix and set aside. Combine oat mix and set aside. In a large bowl beat butter and brown sugar till creamy; add oat mix and beat until crumbly. Take out ¾ c of this mixture and set aside. Press remaining oat mix into 13 x 9 inch pan using a spatula or spoon. Bake 15 minutes. Remove and spread fruit mixture evenly over crust and within ¼ inch of edge. Add nuts to reserved oat mixture and sprinkle over fruit. Pat down lightly with a spatula. Bake 16 to 20 minutes until golden. Cool and cut into bars. Makes about 30.
Ben Elliot, local chef/caterer and organic farmer at Saltbox Farm in Concord (across from the Middlesex School, at the farm with the bell collection out behind the house), demo’ed a simple way to make homemade ricotta cheese. Here’s a quick summary of the recipe he uses for 1 lb. of ricotta cheese:
In a large metal saucepan, mix 1 gallon whole milk (High Lawn, available at Whole Foods, Donelan’s, etc., or other milk that’s not “ultra-pasteurized”) with 1 c. white vinegar (or for a different taste, lemon juice or apple cider). Place over a low to medium flame, and slowly raise temperature (you don’t want it to boil, ever).
Ben’s tools included a candy thermometer, a large strainer (he had a good-sized Chinoise), a pot to let the whey drain into, a doubled square (~24-30”) of cheesecloth, a spatula and a ladle. Monitor carefully as it heats; use a spatula to stir and lift solids from the bottom of the pan as they form. When the milk reaches 140 degrees, turn down the heat and let the temperature rise slowly; at 170-175 degrees take it off the heat and stir (warning: at 180 degrees, it becomes drier and coarser, and loses its moistness). Line the strainer with the cheesecloth, ladle the solids onto the cloth, and let the ball drain until the whey stops dripping.
Remove to a refrigerator container and add salt, lemon zest, scallion, perhaps chopped tomatoes – whatever strikes you (he also recommended trying pumpkin, honey, apple, sage, basil, etc.) For a dessert such as cannoli, use sugar and vanilla. Consume within 3 days for best flavor. As a commercial alternative, he recommended “hand-packed” ricotta from Calabro, available by request from the Cheese Shop (or ask your favorite cheese purveyor).
Saltbox Farm currently offers cooking classes and catering, as well as CSA shares. Follow the link for more information.
From the Harvest Potluck - 9/14/2014
Smoothies for fall gatherings from Alison Saylor and a delicious rub for pork tenderloin created by Deb Van Walsum were highlights of our 2014 Welcome Back potluck.
Delicious! --we can hardly wait long enough to get it out of the pan before it gets eaten! This is more like a coffee cake than a bread, but very tasty! (Note: I have found that you can use a total of ¾ c applesauce in place of ¼ c of the oil and ½ c of the sugar in the bread, and it is still delicious!)
4 c apples, peeled, cored and chopped (4-5 apples, cut into chunks of about 1”)
4 large eggs, beaten
1 c vegetable oil (you can use ¾ c oil + ¼ c applesauce)
2 t vanilla extract
1 t almond extract
2 t baking soda
2 t salt
2 t cinnamon
3 c flour (I use 2 ½ c King Arthur white, ½ c King Arthur white wheat)
2 c sugar (can use 1 ½ c sugar + ½ c applesauce)
¾ c flour
¼ c sugar
2 t cinnamon
6 T butter, room temp.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two 9” x 5” loaf pans (or one 9” x 5” and three mini loaf pans, or 24-28 muffins)
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until frothy. Add the oil and beat until combined. Add the vanilla, almond extract, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Beat until thoroughly mixed. Add flour and sugar and mix on low just to blend, then turn the mixer to high and beat until mixture is smooth – the batter will get very thick.
Fold in chopped apples by hand. Divide mixture into loaf pans. (Since the batter is thick, it's easier to spoon it in than pour.)
To prepare topping, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Cut butter into mixture with a fork until all ingredients are moist and crumbly. I just use hands – it works better/faster. Sprinkle topping onto loaves.
Bake large loaves about 1 hour on center rack of oven (mini loaves I take out around 45 min. and test with a toothpick or skewer, muffins take about 25 min.). Place on cooling rack and cool for at least 5 min. before removing from pans. – Bonnie Sellew
Adapted from Gourmet (sniffle), February 2003
Serves 6 to 8.
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, squeeze of all excess liquid, and chopped
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed French or Italian bread in 1-inch cubes (1/2 lb)
6 ounces coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups)
2 ounces finely grated parmesan (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk (I use skim)
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Sauté onion in butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nutmeg and continue cooking for one minute. Stir in spinach, remove from heat and set aside.
Spread one third of the bread cubes in a well-buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other ceramic baking dish. Top with one-third of bread cubes,one-third of spinach mixture and one-third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice with remaining bread, spinach and cheese.
Whisk eggs, milk, mustard and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Cover with plastic wrap and chill strata for at least 8 hours or up to a day.
The next day, let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 350°F. Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. -- Melinda Lindquist
Submitted by Katherine Dhar
This dish is the simplest thing ever:
Drain/rinse the beans. Mix the beans, onion, and pepper in a bowl. Add the salsa. Then add salad dressing to taste - I would start with 1/4 c. Then, you can add salt/pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro. Very easy recipe to double/triple.
This recipe is provided by Alison Saylor for those who purchase sugar pumpkins at the club's annual Pumpkins on the Common fundraiser.
This recipe was prepared at our October meeting by chef Liz Barbour (firstname.lastname@example.org) and won raves from 23 garden club members. Like the following recipe, it uses seasonally available ingredients. Serves 6
1 small butternut squash, peeled*
4 cups baby arugula, shredded
6 cloves garlic, cut lengthwise into thin slivers
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Optional: shredded Parmesan or crumbled feta cheese
*Liz recommended buying two peeled squash halves for the recipe serving 6. She also mentioned that a squash with a long cone and a small "bowl" at the end is easier to dice into uniform cubes.
This recipe was prepared and served, to great acclaim, at our October meeting by chef Liz Barbour (email@example.com). Liz also said she keeps the raisin, seed, and nut mix in a sealed jar on the counter as a quick topping for oatmeal or yogurt at breakfast. Serves 6-8
8 cups kale
1/2 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (roasted and salted)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (AKA pepitas, roasted and salted)
1/4 cup roasted almonds slivered almonds (preferably with brown skins for fiber)
1 cup crumbled cheese (feta, queso fresco, blue cheese)
1 tsp garlic, smashed and finely minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp Bragg's apple cider vinegar (organic, with cloudy "mother")
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
I got this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks put out by Wilson Farms in Lexington.
An easy delicious recipe for those who have run out of ideas for their tomatoes.
Preheat the oven to 350° and butter a deep 1 1/2-quart casserole. Serves 6.
Melt the butter in a small frying pan. Add the pepper and onion and sauté over medium heat until soft but not brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the crumbs, salt, and pepper.Place the tomato slices and crumb mixture in the prepared casserole in three or four layers, starting with the tomatoes and ending with the crumbs. Bake, uncovered at 350° 35 to 45 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and the crumbs brown.
Submitted by Meghan O'Sullivan-Spanbauer