Monday, October 12, 2009

Love is a warm cheese puff

I discovered something this weekend. Gougères. Look at them, so unassuming. Little golden puffs...Shiny from the egg wash, with pieces of Parmesan cheese baked on top, adding a little salty, nutty flavor. Goat cheese and chives beat into the dough, baked until golden. I had been afraid to try these, now I'm upset that I didn't make them sooner.They're good fresh out of the oven, but I liked them best at room temp. Bite size, they're easy to pop in your mouth while chatting with friends, and it's easy to lose track of how many you've had!

Goat Cheese and Chive Gougères
adapted from Eggs on Sunday
makes about 4 1/2 dozen bite size puffs

1 cup milk
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, divided
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, moving the racks so that your oven is divided into thirds. I followed Julia Child's directions for baking the majority of these guys because my two test puffs didn't fare well.

Bring milk, butter and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, remove from heat and dump all the flour in at once. Whisk it together, then put the pan back on the heat to dry the dough out a little. Whack the whisk against the side of the pan to get it all out of the wires... (you know what I'm talking about. My least favorite thing about whisks, btw)... and switch over to a wooden spoon. Remove it from the heat and add four of the eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is completely stirred in before adding the next one. Once all the eggs are in, dump in the chives and goat cheese and mix that all in too.

Now, you have some options. Put the dough in a pastry bag and pipe it onto a cookie sheet lined in parchment paper OR just spoon it onto the cookie sheet in neat little spoonfuls. Beat up your last egg, brush the top of each puff, then sprinkle shredded Parmesan on top. Put your beauties into the oven and bake them for 20-30 minutes (each of my trays took a different amount of time, so use your nose and eyes) or until they're golden brown and crisp and yummy all over. Once they come out of the oven, poke them in the side with a sharp knife and put them in the now turned off oven for 10 minutes, with the door open. I know, sounds crazy, but it lets the steam out and keeps the puffs from getting soggy, very important!

I've already planned my next batch... bleu cheese and lots of pepper. And then, sweet puffs instead of savory, maybe with some kind of pumpkiny filling. Excuse me while I gain 200 lbs from the puffy goodness.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Hazard of Eating Locally

I'm a label reader. Where is this from? What's in it? What the hell is Red #6? Eating food that isn't overly processed and is sourced locally is important to me. I'll confess, I have my weaknesses. Who doesn't? But, I've found that local fruits, veggies and meats taste better. More flavor, everything is fresher and since I know my farmers, I'm more confident that there's not going to be an E Coli breakout in my spinach or ground beef. I've tried more varieties and new varieties of, well, everything, in the past 2 years than in my (almost) 30 years total on this earth.

Right right, so where is this going? This summer was hard. Wait, make that Hard, with a capital H. We went with a new CSA this year and boy, what a disappointment. That picture up there? That's from last year. Each week I'd leave work and fill my bags with pounds and pounds of produce. There were weeks I brought so much home that DH and I weren't able to eat even half of it. This year though. Wow. The early summer rains decimated the farms that were involved in our CSA. We received 3 summer squashes total this season, as opposed to the pounds of summer squash we got last year. I think I still have some from last year, in the frozen depths of my freezer.

We made do with what we got and supplemented from other farms that had a better go of it by going to farm stands and farmer's markets. I was also lucky enough to find local produce in the grocery stores in the area.

I've already decided that next year, I'm planting a garden. It'll be a container garden, because of the whole condo thing, but that'll do for the 2 of us. I'll have to plant some extra carrots for the pup, but that's doable! I figure though, if I'm going to be disapointed in the quality and quantity of produce that I'm receiving, I'd rather be disapointed in myself, than local farmers that are having a harder time of it than me. I'll still be at the Hope Street Farmer's Market Saturday mornings though, coffee in hand, oohing and aahing over the tables of veggies and buying Bruschi's favorite dog treats...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Weekend Getaway-- Cape Cod

About a month ago, I surprised DH with a trip to the Cape. I was jonesing for the ocean, and we both were ready to just get away for a few days. I realized once I got home, that almost all the pictures I took was of food or drink! The Wee Packet in Dennisport does the best corned beef hash anywhere. Theirs is the only corned beef hash I will eat. Ever. At least, until I figure out how to reproduce it at home, because, honestly, driving to Dennisport for breakfast every Saturday would just be ridiculous. Falling asleep to the sound of the ocean, and then waking up to the sound of the ocean, is my favorite thing in the world. And yes, this is one of the few non-food/drink related pictures I took! Truro Vineyards is a great place to stop. Tasting 10 different wines, outdoors on the Cape? What's better than that? Oh, right. Buying 6 bottles to bring home with you! The road less traveled is the best road to take. We found Winslow's Tavern, an amazing restaurant in Wellfleet that does Lobster BLT's-- Lobster, prosciutto, saffron aioli, washed down with an Allagash White. We never would have found it, if we hadn't taken a random right turn when heading back to Yarmouth after visiting Truro Vineyards. I can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

4... no wait, 5, Things I Learned Today

1. Learning that I can put all the pieces of my food processor into the dishwasher makes homemade laundry soap way easier to make and SO much more convenient. Hooray dishwasher safe plastic!
2. However, wooden cutting boards? Not dishwasher safe.

3. Half a bag of microwave popcorn is NOT a suitable substitute for lunch because it means that half a bag of milk chocolate Nestle Flipz becomes an appetizer.
4. There's isn't much in the world that tastes better than an ice cold beer. Except maybe a gin and tonic, with a lime wedge. I like making mine in pint glasses. Less trips to the kitchen, more time for relaxing.
5. It is possible to be jealous of garden gnomes. Especially when they're on Good Eats, stuck in the veggie drawer, talking to Alton Brown (not that I want to be stuck in a veggie drawer or on TV, but the talking to Alton Brown part? Sign me up!).