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“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." JRR Tolken

Month: February, 2011

The Dutch Baby

Valentine’s Day inspired me to go outside my usual breakfast staples (2 fried eggs or a smoothie) and I finally made the beautiful, baked Dutch baby pancake. I love anything baked in a cast iron pan, I guess that’s probably apparent as more than half of my posts are dedicated to food oh so perfectly browned in the embracing richness of a well seasoned cast iron.

I can’t wait to  make these in the peak of summertime, piled high with sensually sweet strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, oh and peaches, nectarines, and plums too.

Fresh out of the oven with steaming pockets, a rich buttery flavor and crispy crust

Kiwis, blood oranges, and bananas with maple syrup

Dutch Baby
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup whole milk
2 antelope valley ranch eggs (farm fresh is so much better!)
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1 tsp powder vanilla (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
3 tablespoons goat butter (any butter will do but goat is especially delicious of course)
Fresh, seasonal, chopped fruit
( I could also imagine adding pureed yam, pumpkin or other squash to these, and flax, oatmeal, maybe some other grains…next time)
Heat oven to 450, put the 3 tbsp butter in your cast iron, heat in the oven till it melts. Mix everything else together, pour it in the buttered cast iron. Bake for around 20 minutes at 450, and another eight or so minutes at 350 if it needs more time. Luxuriate in the rich intoxicating smell of freshly baked Dutch baby deliciousness, top with chopped fruit and maple syrup, enjoy!

Rants and Lion Skulls

I recently attended a reading by one of my English professors. It was by far one of the most enlivening, hilarious, and inspirational events I’ve experienced so far in my school career. As I listened to his comic essays about the wild arid west (and its wild arid people) and the long history and absurdity of turkey pardonings by presidents, I thought oh yeah, this is what learning is supposed to be about: fun. Mike Branch is a huge believer in fun and has the charisma and talent to present serious issues, like environmentalism and politics, in a lighthearted way that foremost make us laugh, and also cause us to question and think seriously about important issues.

I urge you to check out some of his essays on High Country News. He read us “Walking to California” and “Customer Cranky” and also a long essay not presented on HCN. His recognition of the absurdity of the “normal” is such a unique gift and he had us laughing for the entirety of his reading. Thanks Mike!

The highlight of my day today was the mountain lion skull my mom brought down for me. She was out on a long hike at the ranch and came across the full skeleton of a mountain lion. Due to my affinity for such things she knowingly brought me the skull which was promptly incorporated into part of my room decor.

The co-op has provided such incredible and beautiful produce lately. I mean they always do, but recently I’ve been overwhelmed by the beauty of the greens there and find them overflowing my basket. I can’t wait for them to move even closer to me soon! Our chickens have started laying eggs like crazy, I mean 17 eggs a day crazy. It’s nice to have a plethora of vividly orange, delicious eggs.

speckled brown, big and small the eggs keep coming

Jorge Enchiladas

Chard, cherry tomatoes, oyster mushrooms, onions, zucchini, olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice

Sauteing the fillings for the enchiladas

Beautiful chard from the co-op

Filling the sprouted corn tortillas with the vegetables and goat

The finished enchiladas, covered with gruyere and chedder and sauce

My camera failed to do justice to these enchiladas,  maybe it the was the lighting, or  maybe I was rushing the picture taking process in anticipation to eat these because they smelled so good. I just had little tidbits of goat leftover and decided to make enchiladas with them. These aren’t really traditional I guess but, like all the goat meals I’ve had, they were one of the better dishes I’ve eaten recently.

I started out browning  little cut chunks of goat in the cast iron then sauteed a bunch of vegetables I had in the goat juices: chard, oyster mushrooms, onions, zucchini, and tomatoes with salt, lemon juice and olive oil. I cooked them just until they were a little browned and softened so they wouldn’t turn to mush. Then I packed the fillings into the tortillas, covered them with that traditional Trader Joes salsa and gruyere and cheddar, and then baked them for oh around maybe 15 minutes at 425*. These are quite easy to make and such a rich and satisfying meal with none of the ingredients overwhelming your palate or stealing the show.

Jorge’s Ribs

We’ve been raising a few male goats at the ranch and sadly, but deliciously, one of the goats named Jorge made his way into our dinner around Thanksgiving. We still have leftovers so I had a few ribs and other cuts to use in a few recipes.

I usually leave the meat cooking to the men in my family but I think I held my own this time around.

I browned the ribs in my cast iron after coating them in sea salt and lemon pepper. After a few minutes on each side I put them in a 405* oven. After ten or so minutes I took them out and added chopped mizuna and kale to the cast iron (make sure the greens get coated by the oil in the pan). Meanwhile I had potatoes chopped and roasting for about 20 minutes or so before…I put the potatoes in with the greens and then set the ribs on top of them and roasted until the greens were a little crispy. I almost never eat ribs, and I’ve never prepared them before, but these were incredible. The complexity of flavors from the kale and mizuna roasted in with the goat completely made the dish and added texture and color.

Diced purple, sweet, and red potatoes with mizuna, kale, and goat ribs

Vegetable Stuffed Pumpkin

Roasted vegetables inside a roasted pumpkin

I made this roasted vegetable filled pumpkin a few weeks ago and it fed a decent size crowd. It’s kind of an awe inspiring dish, robust and elegant and super versatile. I roasted celeriac (or celery root), fennel, garlic, mushrooms, parsnips, peppers, shallots and some other root vegetables on baking pans with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt at 425 until they were browned. While they were roasting I also had the pumpkin roasting (and the pumpkin seeds in their own pan with salt + lemon juice+ olive oil). After about 40 minutes or so I put the vegetables inside the pumpkin and roasted a little bit longer, then for the final effect I broiled the pumpkin (and accidentally lit it on fire) so it had a blackened rustic look.

The light, sweet flesh of the pumpkin balances the earthy, salty, caramelized root vegetables perfectly. My dish was about half roasted veggie and half scooped out pumpkin with goat cheese and fresh herbs (we used parsley). I’m envisioning mini pumpkins filled with beets, garlic, shallots, and whatever else I have on hand with roasted kale, goat cheese and cilantro. The pumpkin recipe that I (semi) followed came from Gourmet magazine, find the recipe here.

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