The summer is slowly cranking up – we are past the longest day. The mad rush of spring catching up on lost time after our extended winter - everything from March to June happening at once - has quieted. Now we want the sedate and orderly progression of seasons. As farmers, we are so reliant on the weather happening at the right time in the right order. We sit on top of natural processes, imagining we control them. The weather gave us a little slap to remind us who’s boss.
Photo by André Baranowski
The dark time of year, dark mornings, night comes so early. When we have sun it seems very special, and with a thick enough coat and hat is a magical time, precious brightness, low light highlighting every bare twig and blade of grass. The earth feels like it is ruminating, digesting last year, brewing next year. The undergrowth disappears, leaving everyone’s tracks clearer. Tom & I were in the garden one late afternoon, and about 20 wild boar solemnly trooped by on the other side of the stream, a couple of sows, a few gilts, but mainly this year’s piglets. Boar, like the farmed pigs they are so closely related to, have large families. Tasty, but scary when you get too close. When we said we wanted more room for wildlife on farms, I’m not sure we meant this: be careful what you wish for, you will get it.
Just a reminder: our deadline for our Thanksgiving Recipe Contest is Sunday, October 28.
If your goat cheese dish is one of the three deemed turkey-worthy, Laura Chenel's Chevre will send this for your conucopia:
Three varieties of LCC's fabulous fresh and aged goat milk cheeses, along with some luscious Gravenstein Apple Chutney and a spicy Fig Jam from their neighbors here in Sonoma, California. It's a seductive pairing, guaranteed to win over fans of football, parade floats, and pumpkin pie alike.
For me, this autumn has been gastrocentric. Scrumptious seasonal ingredients and the cool, crisp weather make me want to spend hours in the kitchen, which is exactly what I did this past weekend. In addition to baking apple crumb cake and oatmeal dark chocolate chip cookies, I also made my first ever raviolis.
The inspiration for this meal was my request, maybe it was a demand, for goat cheese and butternut squash, but the recipe is Ben's. I provided the challenge to think up something ideal for fall and he formulated this fun project and delicious meal. I also made sure it was recorded.
Some would argue that the season is over for frozen desserts but I say coffee ice cream all year round! Fresh dairy and quality coffee are always readily available. Also pie season is upon us and à la mode is always à la mode.
Personally, I prefer my ice cream blended into a thick, creamy beverage. To the rest of the world it's a frappe or a milkshake but where I'm from, Rhode Island, we call them cabinets and we specialize in the coffee variety. I grew up drinking this heavenly treat at Delekta's, a mom and pop pharmacy seated on Main Street in Warren's sleepy town center. Delekta's makes their own coffee syrup and serves your beverage half in a classic soda pop glass and half in the malt mixer it was made in. A perfect pick-me-up for a bad day or a...well, actually I think these are perfect for any day, any weather, any mood.
I want to share a recent discovery. My cheese friend Paola just returned from a trip to her homeland in Italy and sent me a delicious recipe for Focaccia col formaggio. Here is what she says:
Focaccia col formaggio is a typical dish that originated in Recco, a small town located on the Italian Riviera very close to Genoa, Liguria.
It seems 'focaccia col formaggio' was already known in Liguria at the time of the crusades in 1200. History books relate that it was offered to soldiers before their departure from San Frattuoso Abbey located in an enchanting tiny village close to Portofino in Riviera Ligure.
Being such a popular and delicious dish, you can find it in many places throughout Liguria - even in bakeries. However, in my opinion the best version is the one you eat sitting down in a focacceria.
April was National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month and The Lady and I, your humble Feline Foodie, promised 30 new grilled cheese recipes… alas… to mis-quote the late, great John Lennon… “we had grilled cheese plans and then life got in the way”… so even into mid-May, we are still posting grilled cheese recipes… this one today is #26 and as with the last, this is actually an open-faced cheese melt.
The Lady took Jasper Hill Farm’s sample #120125 to make her latest cheese sammy…
Using Original La Panzanella Croccantini for her bread base, she topped it with Prosciutto and then JHF’s sample #120125. She sprinkled a little rosemary on top.
She popped it in the toaster oven and three minutes later… ta da… we had dinner.
Another terrific grilled/open-faced sammy for the grilled cheese recipe vaults and future reference… living with The Lady does have at least one good side… Cheese, Glorious Cheese…
-- Spaulding Gray, The Feline Foodie, for Marcella (The Lady)
I hope that you are all keeping yourselves warm this winter! Yesterday, as I was walking home from university, I had a sudden craving for Gratin Dauphinois. I used to make this dish all the time when I was a child, due to it's simplicity. As a student, half of my diet consists of potatoes. I am well known for eating "mountains of mash" on the side of every meal and so I decided to do something different with some of the potatoes from the 5kg bag that I purchase on every shopping trip!
Fortunately, I had some parmesan in the fridge. I find that this beauty goes with almost everything, especially everything potato.