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Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Archive for March 2012

Buckwheat Cookies

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I’ve been experimenting with buckwheat flour, thanks to the 5-lb. bag I scored from Open Oak Farm (my winter C.S.A. source) at a fill-your-pantry event last fall. I’ve made several variations of buckwheat crepes (or galettes)–all good, except for this version where I subbed a leftover blueberry stout for the I.P.A. the recipe calls for. Keep it simple. I made thick, pillowy buckwheat pancakes from Simply in Season cookbook, by Corvallis locavore Cathleen Hockman-Wert.

Then, flipping through the massive new Essential New York Times tome, I stumbled upon a recipe for “buckwheat cookies.” These crumbly morsels truly are the revelation Melissa Clark describes. Or as Amanda Hesser puts it in her head note about the cookies, “If it’s engaging flavor and not too much sugar, you have found the holy grail. These cookies, which are great with tea, taste like sweet wet stone–in a good way, I promise.” Spot on. Delightfully pebbly, I would add. Who knew wet pebbles could taste so right. The buckwheat flour (actually not wheat  at all, but a relative of sorrel and rhubarb!) provides a tangy, mineral quality.

I added a pinch of ground cardamom to the recipe, which married well with buckwheat’s flavor. In fact, the crumbly texture of these buttery cookies very much reminded me of the magical Honey-and-Cardamom Cookies I discovered years ago, reviewing The Spice Bible for The Sun. The texture also reminded me of my late grandmother McCandlish’s beloved spicy cheese straws (with their added Rice Krispie crunch). Lots of butter must be the common denominator there.

Next in my buckwheat adventures, I’ll have to try Italian buckwheat polenta and the pasta they call pizzoccheri. I’ve still never made good ole’ Kasha Varnishkes with buckwheat groats and farfale, but my husband says he can’t stand the smell. Buckwheat can have an aroma off-putting to some. But not to this soba-loving gal!

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Written by baltimoregon

March 28, 2012 at 2:05 am

Burnheimer Meat Co. CSA Dispatch: Month One

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Burnheimer Meat Co. CSA: Month 1 Box

Omnivorous flexitarian that I am, I still find myself in an off-again, on-again, feast or famine relationship with pork. It’s not the Jewish background: my Friedberg grandparents had their kosher friends over for ham. I’ve learned that meats as unctuous as pork–and all meats really–are best experienced as a condiment (with a nod to Thomas Jefferson and Chinese cuisine), used to compliment and flavor the fresh vegetables and whole grains that make up a bulk of one’s plates. Meat is a precious and rare resource, a great source of protein and sustenance that creates environmental challenges we can’t ignore. We should pay more for animals raised in a humane and Earth-friendly way, and eat less of that meat, with more reverence. With that spirit, this spring I signed up for our first (three-month) meat C.S.A.

First, I tackled the delicate duck breasts from Evergreen Creek Farms in Philomath. Brad promises me duck legs in April, so I can try my hand at confit.

Next time, I'll cure duck proscuitto. This time, just went with fennel-and-lavender-studded "Roasted Duck Breast with Bourbon-Braised Italian Prunes (I used cherries instead)," from Seattle chef Jason Wilson of Crush, included in Ivy Manning's standby "Farm to Table Cookbook."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At first, $80 a month (a $240 check) seemed a lot for three months of meat. But GTF charcuterie wiz Brad Burnheimer promised 10 lbs. of fresh cuts, sausages and bacon, from free-roaming heritage pigs. I picked my first box at Gathering Together Farm on March 2. Enclosed was the note:

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Written by baltimoregon

March 27, 2012 at 12:10 am

Buckwheat Cakes (along with Crispy Burnheimer Bacon)

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Buckwheat Crepes (from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian") with Balsamic Plum Sauce (Made by KLCC's Jes Burns) and Sour Cream...and buckwheat flour grown and milled by Open Oak Farm in Sweet Home

Why don’t I cook with buckwheat more? I love soba noodles and (yes, mostly gluten-free, but that’s besides the point) buckwheat crepes. My sister, Elaine, and I once even did an ice-skating routine to the tune of “Buckwheat Cakes, Buckwheat Cakes, Along with Crispy Bacon.” I’ve had a lovely bag of buckwheat flour from Open Oak Farm in Sweet Home nagging at me all winter. So today I took the plunge, inspired by a buckwheat crepe recipe in Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.”

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Crispy Burnheimer Bacon.

But first, we fried up some bacon (actually Italian bacon–tesacured with fennel, red wine and garlic) received this week our first installment of the scrumptious Burnheimer Meat Co. fresh cuts and cured meat CSA (more on that in a later post!). Then I griddled the crepes in the leftover bacon grease. We topped them with maple syrup and tangy balsamic plum sauce made by my KLCC colleague Jes Burns. Not bad for a simple Sunday breakfast.

Written by baltimoregon

March 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm

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