Archive for the ‘The Family Plot’ Category

Home Crepes!

Yarrow, ranunculas, sweet peas and strawberries from last spring out of the family plot

The children categorize items in their world by homemade or store bought.  It’s either home broccoli or store broccoli…they wrinkle their noses at store broccoli.  They have learned a great lesson about home grown food. Sometimes they wrinkle their noses at home items, but that’s a story for another time.

Today we made home crepes…an old cook book called Pancakes has been a great reference for all kinds of flapjacks, and now crepe batters. They turned out to be easy and very quick. They will be added to the repertoire…

Basic Crepe Batter-
This recipe says it makes 24 crepes, we made 10…I guess the novice crepe maker uses twice the batter…we’ll keep at it!

1 C plus 2 T flour
6 large eggs
1 1/3 C milk
3 T rum or cognac (we used grand marnier)
6 T butter melted (ref: 16T per cup)

sift flour, whisk in eggs 2 at a time, then milk one third at a time. Beat until smooth. Whisk in rum, let rest for an hour (we didn’t). When ready to make the crepes, whisk in half the butter. Heat pan, brush with butter, 1/4 cup of batter in to pan, swirl around until set, flip, turn out on to plate…it all takes seconds. Crepe fillings on counter for custom orders….family happy, new favorite meal!


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Monarch & Zinnia
While my yard is not an official Monarch Way station…the basil and zinnia bed certainly qualifies for a butterfly garden.  Zinnias are on the list for nectar plants adult Monarchs love and I can say first hand they do!  Easy to grow from seed and really hearty in the hot hot sun.  I wonder if it’s too late for another good crop?  I think I’ll plant a couple of flats in the front tomorrow and see how it goes.  Couldn’t hurt!

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Flavorella Plum Hand Pies
This summer’s favorite dish for the concerts in the park…was hands down the hand pies. Nectarine, plum, strawberry or a combination of all three.

The best of the lot was the elusive Flavorella plum pie, which I could only produce one time…I must have caught the tail end of the season for that tree. The ease of this dish is what makes it such a favorite of mine and the tangy deliciousness combined with puff pastry made it a real crowd pleaser.

Buy puff pastry sheets and let thaw in the fridge. Each box makes about 8 pretty good sized pies. I just lined the giant muffin tin with squares of parchment paper, then with the puff, then dollops of the fruit mixture, topped with tangy strawberry preserves. Pinch together and bake!

Fruit Filling-Cut up 8 plums and toss with a couple of tablespoons of flour and sugar. Strawberry preserves-made earlier in the summer, just mash up berries and cook down a bit with 1/4 (or less) the amount of sugar for jam…and lots of lemon juice. It won’t set up, but use as sauce…way tastier!

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Ahhh, the summer sun dried tomatoes!  This year I have been making them with Juliet tomatoes from my garden…As the season ends…I will stock up from the farmers market on heirlooms, cherry, pear, and small roma varieties so I can have the taste of summer well in to winter.

The only sun-dried tomatoes I enjoy these days are plump fresh oven dried from home.  Mario Batali made these on a show one time and I have  been making them ever since.  I just do not reccomend you start them at 8pm like I did last time…luckily I woke up (the aroma wafting through the house roused me) in time to save them from becoming over dried tomatoes.

Here’s how easy it is:  cut in half, place cut side up on a couple of sheet pans (might as well make a lot).  I like to line the pans with parchment.  Mix equal parts sugar and kosher salt.  Sprinkle tomatoes with white wine vinegar, and the sugar/salt mixture.  Place in the oven at 200-225˚ for approximately 4-6 hours depending on the size of the tomatoes.  I check frequently and remove them as they are ready.  I like them to have a little plumpness left in them…dried, but not crispy.

To store:  layer with olive oil and basil leaves.  I use like to toss with pasta and any number of additional items from shrimp and feta, to chicken and fontina on top of flat bread.  Enjoy!

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g-Basil patch

Okay- tonight was a real Crisper Crap Shoot.  From the home garden I have corn, basil, sorrel and zucchini.  From the farmers market I have garlic and pasilla.  From Little India I have red rice.  From the fridge I have a little cream and white wine.

Hot, hot heavy enamel pan.  Dry the scallops.  Sear scallops in a little butter.  Remove and set aside.  Throw in whole head of garlic (cloves just smashed and skinned) and push around the pan….lots of brown bits forming….deglaze with a healthy pour of the wine, some in the pan and some in the glass.  Scrape all the bits, add a couple cups of sorrel.  Add a bunch of basil.  Add the juice from the resting scallops.  Add a cup or two of the heavy cream.  Walk away.  Let simmer and reduce.  Add 1 1/2 roasted pasilla chile.  Grab the kick ass immersible blender and puree.  You now have a thick veggie cream sauce!  Add the scallops back in to the pot and heat through.  Pour over (in this case) fresh raw julienne of zucchini  and top with a little rice.  Best case scenario is fresh pasta of some kind (papardelle) or risotto made with a fish stock…yum.

Rich loves everything…but loved this more!  I think the secret ingredient of pasilla added a nice little twist without over powering the greens.

Kiely asked for a big bowl of the fresh raw zucchini and just sauce…now that’s sayin’ something!

I really do think that picking the veggies about 5 minutes before cooking does add a level of deliciousness and healthfulness that you can just feel when you’re eating.  The corn, from the breezeway (just a 4 x 15′ patch between the houses) is hands down the best corn we’ve ever eaten.  We grew corn last year, but out at the Family Plot…picked hours and hours before cooking.  Well this year, I had the pot boiling and threw in the ears seconds after they were plucked and shucked, then turned off the heat and served a few minutes later.  We could all taste the diff.

Bon Appetite!

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Summer Plantings

g-Tall corn close up

The corn does not look like this yet, um, I planted the seeds today.  But this was our corn from last July!  Between the home garden and the community garden we have over 100 corn plants heading our way.  Way!  Griffin will lose all those looth tooths thith summer for thure.  Currently growing in the family plot-



Tomatoes, names of which just crack me up!  Mortgage Lifter, Millionaire, Hill Billy, Box Car Willie, Lemon Boy, Juliet, Champion, Pink Brandywine…there’s a couple more, but you get the drift…lots of tomatoes.

Beans-green, yellow wax, trail of tears-black beans (already harvested a batch of cranberry beans courtesy of Rancho Gordo)





Birdhouse Gourds

Cayenne peppers

Bell peppers



Purple Basil




Yellow Sage



And, there is so much more yet to go in!  I want carrots, but apparently so do gophers…I am starting beets, more peppers, more basil, I really need garlic!  We’re finally off to a good start with the summer crops.  Yea!

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Apricot Clafoutis

And when I say perfected, maybe I should clarify and call it Clafoutis Accepted.  Last night we made one with home strawberries that,  while amazingly delicious was not quite set up.  Maybe even a hot berry soup.  Todays version was adjusted, set up and just perfect!  I took the recipe from Eric Ripert, and instead of 1/2 & 1/2 which I never have I used 1/2 the amount of milk.  I also added an extra T of flour, and the sugar is raw and perfumed storage for my vanilla beans.  Maybe the strawberries are extra juicey too and you need that extra flour to compensate for their delicious juices!

1tablespoon butter

1/2 cup sugar + more for the ramekin

2 large eggs

5 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

7 tablespoons flour

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Butter the ramekins and dust with sugar.  Whisk eggs until very frothy, add sugar, milk and vanilla.  Add flour and whisk very well.  Put the fruit in the bowls or ramekins and pour the batter over.  Bake until set about 10-15 minutes.  Serve with ice cream, creme fraiche or whipped cream.  Or eat hot, bubbly and plain like we do!

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