BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘apples

Whole Fish Stock (with Whiting a.k.a Silver Hake a.k.a Lake Trout, Heads and All!)

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Whole young whiting are perfect for making fish stock.

It’s my second September living year-round in Maine, and the access to fresh, affordable seafood is one of the things I’m most grateful for after more than a year here. Of course the produce is incredibly bountiful now, though a chill is setting in. I can barely keep up with our C.S.A. and my neglected community garden plot’s bounty. I’m actually a member of three C.S.A.s at the moment–incredibly indulgent I know, though I believe they are saving us money on food costs if you pencil everything out. In addition to the vegetable C.S.A., I just started John Bunker’s incredible bi-weekly “Out on a Limbheritage apple C.S.A. program. And on and off for almost a year now I’ve had the privilege of being one of the inaugural members of the Salt & Sea Community-Supported Fishery, which does a weekly drop of fresh-from-the-boat fish and shellfish in Brunswick. I’ve had a chance to cook with some of the freshest fillets of pollock, Acadian redfish (my new favorite…especially pan-fried for fish tacos), haddock, dabs and monkfish you can imagine. Every week, owner Justine Simon emails us a suggested recipe for that week’s fish, which can usually be assembled with ingredients you have on hand. It takes all the guesswork out of coming up with dinner and then procuring those items. Effortless, delicious fish dinner!

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The potato-and-tomato-rich simple stew we made with the sweet stock.

Unfortunately, Justine says last week’s share caught many members off-guard. I was delighted to get her announcement of whole fish for the first time: “some lovely little whiting (silver hake) tonight from Jerry and crew on the Teresa Mare IV. They caught them close to shore as they were coming in from their trip,” Justine wrote. It’s also GMRI’s fish of the month in their excellent Out of the Blue Campaign.

I’ve had a fascination with whiting ever since living in Baltimore, where filets of the cheap fish are fried and known as the local delicacy, Lake Trout (not from a lake nor a trout). As Justine went on, “Whiting is considered a delicacy in many different types of cuisine, and is more often than not prepared whole.” I’m not sure if you can call young whiting “scrod,” but seems to be similar to young cod, haddock and other whitefish.

The whole fish thankfully came gutted and cleaned. Justine said folks most often remove the head, fins and tail, then dredge the fish in egg and flour and either fry or bake them. But my in-laws had just arrived, so we opted for take-out (something we rarely do) to avoid the mess of frying fish.

So I gladly opted for Justine’s latter suggestion that whiting are perfect for fish stock for those who “don’t want to wrestle with small fish.” I’d never made fish stock before, but this was the perfect alternative, since we weren’t eating the fish right away. Plus, I’ve always been disappointed by the canned version. Doesn’t seem worth paying for doctored water when you have time to make your own. Justine goes on: “I was talking to an Italian woman while the boats were unloading and she gave me a simple recipe that we made last night, and it was delicious:

Fry some onion and garlic in olive oil, cook on low heat until onions are caramelized. Add plenty of water, some salt and the fish. Bring to a boil and let simmer for an hour or so. Strain, so all you are left with is clear stock. Put back in pot, and add more water, finely diced potato and carrot, orzo, parsley, salt and pepper. Yum!”

We simmered potatoes, carrots, celery, fennel, onions and tomatoes from our CSA and/or my garden in the stock, which made for a delicious meal. I just used a mesh ladle strainer to remove the fish bodies, picking off the sweet delicate meat that gave right away from the bone. It would also be perfect for bouillabaisse, cioppino or my grandmother’s Manhattan-style clam chowder.

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Bagels from Union Bagel in Portland. Pale perhaps, but still chewy and delicious. At least far better than the insipid, roll-like, Mr. Bagel or Einstein’s alternative.

Surprisingly, Justine reported “overall the whiting didn’t get great reviews from the CSF.” How I often forget my tastes are more exotic and adventurous than my average fellow American. Fortunately, several members rallied to tell Salt & Sea they liked it! So they’ll at least offer it again as a preference that people of which people can opt out. Count me in! I’m ready to continue to get my hands dirty with fresh fish. If only I could have smoked these small fish as a stand-in for whole smoked whitefish at our lovely Yom Kippur break-fast we had with friends this year. I brought the bagels, local Maine lox and cream cheese instead.

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Apple Blackberry (and Quince) Pie, from Rustic Fruit Desserts

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Apple Blackberry (and Quince) Pie

Apple Blackberry (and Quince) Pie

Local quinces, including ones that are apparently edible raw.

Local quinces, including ones that are apparently edible raw.

This is a brilliant pie because it bridges the seasons, melding tart, jammy berries with crisp, fragrant apples. I also added quince slices to the mix, because the astringent fruit gains a wonderful rosey pear-like flavor when cooked with sugar. I’d never come across quinces before moving here to the Pacific Northwest, where we even haven them growing on the neighbor’s tree down the road. The USDA genebank here in Corvallis is home to North America’s perhaps most diverse quince collection.

Making and rolling out your own pie crust is always a patshkie, but at least this all-butter recipe made four discs, so we had two leftover to freeze. We also didn’t dock the dough (prick it with a fork) before pouring in the filling. The crust was flakey and delicious but not quite crisp enough. Maybe pre-bake it a bit first? This pie crust tutorial video helps you beef up your technique.

Fresh out of the oven.

Fresh out of the oven.

The pie recipe comes from Rustic Fruit Desserts, published by Portland chef Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson of the Baker & Spice Bakery there. Cory recommended the recipe when he came on our KBOO Food Show Wednesday. For our School Lunch Special, Schreiber also spoke about the challenges of his work as farm-to-school coordinator for the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Written by baltimoregon

September 20, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Apple and Comte Salad Days

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Alas, come dinnertime I couldn’t find my precious recipe for “Autumn Salad with Apples, Comte and Hazelnuts” that I had clipped from The Baltimore Sun. These scraps get lost in a move. So I tried to recreate the apple cider vinagrette anyway and did the rest from memory. I used spinach greens, substituted walnuts for hazelnuts and sliced up some celeriac (celery root) along with the celery hearts. The syrupy reduced apple cider in the dressing and tangy raw milk comte cheese really make for a memorable salad I’ll continue to make.

Googling around, I remembered the recipe came from Susan Spicer’s Crescent City Cooking book of New Orleans recipes. I finally found the recipe reprinted on a blog (see below).

Hey all you turophiles out there, any other ways you recommend using comte? This one for comte and pear phillo triangles looks intriguing. The cheese just pairs so well with any kind of fruit.

Autumn Salad with Apples, Comte, and Hazelnuts
Serves 4

8 cups mixed greens, cleaned
1 medium apple, thinly sliced into matchsticks
2-3 ounces Comte cheese, cut in matchsticks
1/4 cup sliced celery hearts
1 cup Cider Dressing, recipe follows
Salt
1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries, optional

In a large bowl, use your hands or two wooden spoons to toss together the lettuce, apple, cheese, and celery hearts. Drizzle in enough dressing to lightly coat the salad; reserve remaining dressing. Season the salad with a little salt, if necessary, and divide among four plates. Sprinkle salad with hazelnuts and drizzle with equal portions of the remaining Cider Dressing.

Cider Dressing

1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup pure olive oil or a mild vegetable oil
1 teaspoon hazelnut oil, optional
salt and pepper

Place the cider and vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until reduced to 3 tablespoons of liquid. Pour it into a small bowl and add the shallots and mustard. Whisk to combine, then slowly whisk in the olive oil and the hazelnut oil, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Written by baltimoregon

December 27, 2008 at 1:07 am

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The kindness of neighbors

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Our neighbor two houses down dropped off a gallon of home-pressed apple cider this afternoon, just because. He extracted the sweet juice from the fruit of his own overbearing tree. This same neighbor, who recently retired from Hewlett-Packard here, brought us a homemade blackberry cobbler when we moved in.

And the apples on the right are a rare Royal Gala/Fuji blend our other neighbors, both forestry folks, created from a graft on a tree in their yard. I used them to make an apple crisp. Those kind next-door neighbors have given us plums, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers from their harvest. They also lent us tables, chairs and lamps so our house wouldn’t feel so barren before our furniture arrived. Corvallis people are rather generous and always willing to lend a hand.

Written by baltimoregon

November 1, 2008 at 11:12 pm

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