31 March 2010

Little Grey Cloud

In case you were wondering what Jacky Scrapple was up to... It's no good.

Blueberry Muff's

When we spent that grueling day constructing Fancy Acre Farm in the back yard, I knew I had to feed my workers right. So I made muffins like a lady. I had a giant tub of Nancy's whole-milk honey yogurt in the fridge that I wanted to use up, and so in it went. They were moist on the inside and had a nice brown sugar crust on top. I might not be much of a muffin person (too healthy) but I found these to be very good, especially when served with butter. 

  • Blueberry Muffins made with Yogurt
  • 3 cups of a-p flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 10 T unsalted butter (1 1/4 stick), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1 t grated orange peel
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • brown sugar to sprinkle on top
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar together, then add eggs one at a time. Slowly add some dry mix, then some yogurt, then some dry mix, until both are thoroughly encorporated- do not over mix. Gently fold in blueberries and orange zest. After greasing them with butter, fill muffin tins about half way with batter. Sprinkle brown sugar and a little sea salt on top and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

29 March 2010

I think I'm In Love

Guess which one I bought? No it's not the fox, though that is how I first found Stephanie Tillman, the genius behind this work. Its spaghetti face!!! Yes!! Check out her Etsy shop if you're nasty.

Easter Chocolates

I don't know what my grandma is trying to do to me, but I like it. From here on out, I want any gift I am lucky enough to receive to have a note in it that says it is made with heavy cream and needs to be eaten within two weeks. No problem.

Cooking for People without Teeth

Having my wisdom teeth out really sucked. It hurt, it made me grumpy, but worst of all it dramatically limited my options food-wise. At first I could only have ice cream and creamy soup which might sound like the best time ever, but actually it got old really quickly. Yogurt, smoothies and kefir, which are all the same thing, came next. By friday I was feeling ready to upgrade something excitingly mushy. I consulted the Chez Panisse "Vegetables" cookbook and found a recipe for Panade. Call me sheltered, but I had never heard of such a thing. I read the recipe and couldn't imagine what it was getting at so I asked my friend Holly for a description. Her eyes rolled back and she sighed, "It's like brothy bread pudding with a cheese crust! Every time you pull a spoonful out, cheese stretches with it... There are silky bites, and crunchy bites... and so much cheese." Now that I had such a clear visual of what this dish was I knew I could make it, and also eat it.

It was a huge success. It tasted like something I would make even if I had a fully functioning jaw. And that is a big compliment, Alice Waters.

Onion Panade
adapted from "Chez Panisse Vegetables" by Alice Waters

6 sweet onions
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup madeira
1 1/2 quarts beef stock
3 springs of thyme
salt and pepper to taste
12 slices stale or toasted country bread
1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
1 cup grated gruyere

I used a large dutch oven for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Slice onions into rainbows and caramelize with olive oil. Scrape the bottom of the pan frequently, and when the onions have taken on plenty of  color deglaze the pan with 1 cup of madeira. Separate remove the onions from the pan and set half aside in a bowl, and in another pan add the other half to the beef stock and let simmer. Break the bread slices into pieces and make one layer in the bottom of the dutch oven. Then layer on some of the reserved onions, then the parmesan, then one of the sprigs of thyme. Repeat this layering 3 times, and then ladle the beef and onion broth over the whole thing. The broth should come up an inch from the top of the last layer. Sprinkle the top with gruyere. Cover the pan and bake for 45 minutes, then remove the top and bake for another 45 until the cheese is toasty brown.

24 March 2010

I'm Pleased to Announce

Fancy Acre, My new farm blog. You see, this way I will be able to keep STAFF MEAL full of food and delights and leave those horrible chicks and piles of filthy dirt out of it. Also, Fancy Acre has several contributors so each post will be full of tricks and surprises. And, as always, thank you for reading.

Spring Chicken

23 March 2010

Perfect Potatoes

In case you didn't know, I love potatoes. I have just had my wisdom teeth out this weekend which has been horrible aside from the fact that Kevin made me a big batch of whipped mashed potatoes, so full of sour cream and butter that they are practically a soup. That's the upside.
Last week, before the tooth pain, I was able to eat potatoes however I liked. I bought a little bag of charlie boys in order to make my most favorite home fries, and look what I found inside. A heart shaped charlie boy to commemorate my passion for potatoes! Obviously, I didn't cook that one, I carried it around with me and cooed to it.

Home fries are easy to make and don't really call for a recipe, but here is mine in case you want some inspiration. Something that I think is important about home fries is that there are plenty of onions. This recipe is an approximation of ingredients- I never measure home fries.

Charlie Boy Home Fries

One bag of charlie boys (the tiniest of potatoes)
1 large sweet onion
a big glug of olive oil
1/3 stick of butter
1 teaspoon ground new mexico chile
salt and pepper to taste
1 spring onion for garnish

Cut large and medium charlie boys in half- only the tiniest tinies can remain whole. Boil for ten or so minutes, until they are cooked but still quite firm. Meanwhile, heat up cast iron skillet with olive oil and butter. Transfer potatoes (not the water!) into pan. Let them sit for a bit- you want crisp, brown, fried sides. Toss around until nice and brown, then add chopped onions. I like my onions chopped large, but you can do it however you see fit. When the onions have softened and browned a bit, sprinkle the whole pan with chile, salt and pepper. I like lots of salt. Dice a spring onion and sprinkle on each serving. I ate this with two sauces- tatziki which I loved, and catsup, which I am addicted to.

18 March 2010

Spring Gnocchi

Before we ripped out the old raised beds to put in the new ones, I had to harvest our winter crop of onions and leeks. They were so tiny and perfect! We had some pre-made gnocchi (the horror!) in our refrigerator, so for a lovely lunch I chopped up the leeks and baby onions and sauteed them with gnocchi in brown butter. I sprinkled some fresh basil on top with pecorino, and lunch was born. I was surprised with how good the store bought gnocchi was and will not be afraid to buy it again.

PS The chicks are getting HUGE. We are planning a farm blog- stay tuned...

13 March 2010

Look at this Nerd

Nic brought over yet another chick yesterday. World, meet Tammy. She is one crazy girl, with a blond puff top and a sassy attitude to boot. Its going to be awesome when she grows up to look like this.

Also, can you stand how cute Patsy Cline is? She is my little sweetheart. Jacky also loves her. Loretta has tripled in size and can fly, so that's a problem. I thought chickens couldn't fly but it turns out that I know nothing.

Twin Dinner!

My mom has been visiting this week, and for our last night together we went over to visit our friends who have twin babies. We made homemade pasta with arugula and pecorino and drank lots of wine. We also squeezed the babies until they ran from us.

We wanted to use the pasta attachment on Elisabeth's kitchenaid to roll out the pasta, but the dough was too sticky and we got very frustrated. In the end we rolled it by hand, which really isn't hard. After boiling and draining the pasta, we poured a bit of the pasta water over the noodles and then melted tons of butter in it. Then we stirred in fresh arugula and grated pecorino cheese on top and added salt and pepper. It was terrific!

But seriously, WTF is up with the pasta attachment? Has anyone ever used it successfully? Any tips?

11 March 2010

Farm Living

This weekend we flattened out the back yard and put in 8 raised beds. It was a lot like a barn raising, but without the barn. Our friends and family did most of the work and I pretty much just shouted orders and wrote the checks. We are sharing our yard with a couple of our friends, so we will all share the weeding responsibilities AND the huge crop of vegetables.
But more importantly, I just got 3 baby chicks. We still have to build a coop, and for the next 6 weeks they have to live in the garage in a washtub with a heat lamp!!! They are so sweet and little, and already have very bossy personalities. They are named Patsy, Wynonna and Loretta. Patsy will someday lay green and blue eggs! I couldn't be more proud.

03 March 2010

Oh, I Want That

A seagull oilcloth. Its clear that this summer will be made of garden parties and picnics. Why not start preparing now? With a nautical theme.

A Smeg refrigerator. Picking the color wouldn't be easy, but I've been doing some real soul searching and I think baby blue might be the answer.

These litte mice are acceptably cute

And since blue seems to be the theme, why not throw in a few french ovens for good measure? I have no problem with Le Creuset.

02 March 2010


Well, I have just fully recovered from the stomach flu and had some pancakes, so I finally feel up to blogging. These are some photos from a recent visit with my celebrity friend, Grace. We visited the sea and liked it! We had morning bonfires, and ate hamm and drank buble! We snuck up on this wild bunny and I patted it on its side! We ate cornmeal crust pizza until we were sick and had to go to bed at 9 pm!

Recipes to come. I have only cooked one thing in two weeks so maybe I'll write about it tomorrow. We'll see.