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Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘quince

Figs and Quince

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Foraged figs.

Thankfully, I recovered from that unfortunate foraging experience. I’m certainly not ready to swear all scavenging off. Maybe I should stick to fruit, like these beautiful figs that drop on the sidewalk and into the street just around the corner from us. They must be a neglected student house, because the inhabitants¬† don’t seem so interested in picking the fruit. They aren’t the sweetest, ruby red-inside black Mission figs, but in a paper bag, these ripened nicely enough.

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Broiled figs with fennel.

I broiled some of them with fennel seeds for a hearty arugula salad recipe I found in The Spice Bible, which I reviewed a while back for The Sun. The recipe called for first slathering quince paste on a pork tenderloin and then broiling it. (If you don’t have membrillo, you could substitute another paste, chutney or jam.) Then you broil the fennel-crusted figs and toss both with arugula, in a light balsamic-olive oil vinaigrette. I had plenty of quince paste on hand from cooking for my Kitchen Window piece which runs Nov. 11. Speaking of quince, much of our October KBOO Food Show focused on the beguiling fruit.

And speaking of quince, we stewed some in to tarten up the applesauce I canned with a neighborhood group yesterday.

And speaking of quinces and figs, it appears there is even a new cookbook devoted to these sensuous, perfume-laden Persian fruits.

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Apple-quince sauce.

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Quince, Pork Tenderloin, Fennel-crusted Broiled Fig Salad on Arugula.

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Written by baltimoregon

November 9, 2009 at 1:31 am

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Pork Pork

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Restaurant-style pork chops with rosemary polenta and grilled quince.

Restaurant-style pork chops with rosemary polenta and grilled quince.

We really live, or at least eat, like kings here in Oregon. Grant us our one indulgence in these hard times, please. Thick cuts of pork twice in one weekend, oh my! We had milk-braised pork loin at a special quince-themed dinner at Big River Friday. Hard work researching an article. Perhaps that succulent meat prodded us to spring for bone-in loin chops from the Sweet Briar Farms stand at the Saturday market. Their smokey slab bacon was also to die for with pickled quince in Big River’s silky pumpkin soup.

Sam Sifton’s maple-glazed pork chops and rosemary polenta recipe also ¬†inspired the purchase. The man loves his meat. When will we be treated to his regular restaurant reviews? Here he recreates a popular Brooklyn bistro staple that was surprisingly easy to make at home. I didn’t go all out with the polenta, just boiled up the scant grains I had with some butter and rosemary. Didn’t have green apples but I’m swimming in quince and grilled in the maple pork juices, it was a tangy substitute. The chops were sweet and steak-like, with enough meat to feed us again tonight. The carmelized pecans and crystallized ginger made for an unfussy yet elegant garnish. There’s just nothing like open-range, acorn or hazelnut-foraging pork. Amy, we cooked it well (and that study was funded by industrial pork lobbyists).

So cute when they're young (at My Pharm in Monroe).

So cute when they're young (at My Pharm in Monroe).

Yet so nasty months later.

Yet so nasty months later.

I’m looking forward to a Slow Food Corvallis event later this fall, where we’ll taste-test a heritage breed alongside your supermarket Smithfield variety. The later will be hard to eat. The tasting will be at Gathering Together Farm, but the November date has apparently been pushed back because the Hampshire or Berkshire isn’t ready for slaughter yet. I’d love one as a pet!

Written by baltimoregon

October 13, 2009 at 12:02 am

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The Death of Gourmet

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The end is near: this is an unripe quince on the recipes for everything in season September issue.

The end is near. They couldn't even find a ripe quince for the "recipes for everything in season" September issue.

I’ve meant to blog about Gourmet magazine’s fate but can’t seem to manage posting more than once a week these days. Folks have a special fondness for it here in this food-loving state. And Gourmet loved Oregon back: see this recent feature on Portland Food Carts.

But I came late to the Gourmet table. I didn’t have the same heart attack/heartbreak other foodies did when the news of its demise broke. Yet it’s trumped-up website, rolled out by the magnetic (and tireless-that woman is always on the road) editor Ruth Reichl, drew me in this past year. Particularly Politics of the Plate columns. And their cookbook club reviews of new ones like Corey Schreiber’s Rustic Fruit Desserts. That’s where I got the apple-blackberry pie recipe. The website even encouraged me to subscribe for $12 a year. Wonder if I’ll ever get that first issue? But I can barely keep up with Bon Appetit. Two increasingly identical food pubs under one house is redundant, especially in these times. Why not keep the website though?

The September cover does now seem a harbinger of Gourmet’s imminent demise. Why would they put an unripe (green, still fuzz-covered) quince on the cover of an issue devoted to cooking with produce at its peak. Quinces don’t really come on ’til October. At least they got the favored quince preparation method right: poaching, in cardamom syrup, which really brings out the Caucus region fruit’s rosy fragrance and flavor.

These Oregon quinces are ripe. You can see-and especially smell-the difference.

These Oregon quinces are ripe. You can see-and especially smell-the difference.

Written by baltimoregon

October 9, 2009 at 12:26 am

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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

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