Will Travel for Food

MUSSEL RISOTTO WITH PARSLEY PURÉE

By Sanford D’Amato, Photos by Dominic Perri

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I’m keeping my foot to the floor so I don’t lose the firefly-sized tail lights in front of me. It’s almost a losing battle as the matchbox Fiat rental Angie and I are in seems to be powered by a wind up rubber band. The rain is pummeling the windshield and the only thing I’m sure about is that there is a large crevasse on either side of the road.

It’s 1985 and my wife, Angie, and I are driving through Europe for the first time. From our starting point in Brussels until our last day in Paris, there was one daily ritual we could count on—we would be lost for part of the day.

This day, it was the second largest city in Italy: Milan. We started out from a small pensione called Hotel Asnigo situated in the hills overlooking Lake Como. The older proprietor, Luigi, lent us his personal map—which, judging from the condition of the paper, must have been a christening gift—to direct us the 40-some miles to Milan from Cernobbio.

We arrived in Milan a few hours before our dinner reservation at 8pm. Being that it was sunny and light out, we didn’t really need the map as the route was very well posted with “Milano” directing signs every few miles.

We went to a traditional Milanese restaurant, and we put ourselves in the hands of the waiter. He brought us a selection from the copious antipasto table that we had to maneuver around as we were seated. The plate contained all pristine grilled and roasted vegetables, some sweet and sour, stuffed or crusted, flanked by paper-thin regional cured meats and salamis.

For the entrée, it was Piccata of Chicken and Veal Cotaletta. All was delicious, but the star of the dinner arrived between the antipasto and entrée. This was usually the position reserved for pasta in Italy, but we were in the north, which means rice, and the waiter brought two of the special Seafood Risottos. This was my first taste of risotto and it immediately changed the way I thought about the white grain. Growing up, we were a Minute Rice family, and I felt that the bland white kernels just took up valuable real estate on my plate that could have been put to better use. This rice took more than a minute. It was cooked all’onda, which loosely translates to wavy. When you tap the rim of the dish, the creamy rice slightly undulates like ocean waves with the pristine chunks of seafood looking like little bouncing buoys. It was absolutely luscious, with each perfectly cooked kernel of rice exploding with briny crustacean goodness.

We walked out of the restaurant after dinner, and the perfect night had turned into an impromptu gale. We ran to the car and unfolded the map, which quickly deteriorated into four separate pieces. Using our best internal GPS, we tried to retrace our way back to the Autostrada (highway), but soon found ourselves following the only tail lights around down a dark and otherwise deserted road. We knew we were in big trouble when the tail lights became headlights that started to beam down on us, eventually swiping right past us on the narrow road. That’s when we figured out we might be following another lost traveler.

After an hour of aimlessly driving, we miraculously ran into the Autostrada ramp flanked by a minute arrow sign pointing toward Cernobbio. Saved again from self-destruction.

Today’s risotto is inspired by that night of highs and lows. I suggest using short-grain Carnaroli or Nano Vialone rice or the easier to procure Arborio for this dish. Be sure and keep it fluid (but not watery) and please don’t overcook the rice. After your first taste, you’ll agree this is a dish worth driving for.

MUSSEL RISOTTO WITH PARSLEY PURÉE

Serves 4 as an appetizer

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, peeled and diced fine; need ½ cup

1 cup Carnaroli rice

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 cup dry sherry, heated

2–2¼ cups no-salt vegetable stock, heated

24 cleaned mussels, placed in a covered pot with ¼ cup dry white wine

½ cup packed (½ ounce) cleaned fresh Italian parsley leaves, puréed with ½ cup no-salt vegetable stock

2 tablespoons salted butter

Fresh Italian parsley sprigs for garnish

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add oil, then add onion, and cook about 3–4 minutes, until opaque. Add rice and, with a wooden spoon, continually stir to lightly toast, about 3 minutes.

Add garlic, pepper flakes, bay leaves, and thyme and stir for 30 seconds. Add hot sherry, continue stirring, add salt and pepper, and cook until rice starts to absorb sherry.

Start adding the stock by small ladles, just enough to keep the rice liquid and continually absorbing—keep stirring so rice does not stick.

While rice is cooking, place mussel pot over medium heat and steam mussels open—should take 2–3 minutes. Remove pan from heat as soon as the mussels open. Keep pan covered.

Add all liquid from mussels as the next addition of liquid to the risotto. Taste rice and continue adding stock until rice is just cooked, but still al dente. At this point, rice should be creamy and fluid, but not watery.

Finish rice by stirring in butter and parsley purée, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately in 4 hot bowls. Garnish with warm mussels and parsley sprigs on top.

Raising the Bar

Bar Snacks That Go Beyond the Basics

By Mary Reilly, Food Styling by Joy Howard, Photos by Dominic Perri

Who said bar food needs to be basic? Not us! With just a little effort, you can easily add flair (and vegetables!) to make old favorites new. Transform classic bar-top and couch-side snacks into even tastier treats and pair them with a local beer, a homemade soda, or a good game.

Mini Potato Skins

Cracker Jill

Inside-Out Shishito Poppers

Sriracha Cauliflower

Chickpea "Fries"

Wallow in the Blues

A truly fresh fish yields a happier tune

by Sanford D’Amato
photo by Kevin Miyazaki

There is a solid rap at the back kitchen screen door of the restaurant. I look over and see that the bright morning sun is completely eclipsed by the husky outline of a local fishmonger, self-named Chubby. 

“I’ve got a surprise for you today!” he calls out as he wedges himself through the doorway, each of his large paws grasping a three-foot fish. As he points one of the fish, as rigid as a board, toward my face, he proclaims, “They’re still in rigor mortis!”

Chubby was a local legend in the East Quogue area of Long Island where I worked in the late ’70s. He would arrive daily with bags of the most pristine Peconic Bay scallops that, because of their inherent sweetness, you could pop straight into your mouth like lush, briny candy.

But today, he has caught a beautiful 12-pound striped bass and a slightly smaller bluefish. They are so fresh that I expect them to start flipping. “Well, do you want them both?” he asks. The striped bass is for sure but, as blue things go—I love blueberries, I’m a huge blues music fan, and I’m a true-blue friend. But I hate bluefish.

All my experiences with bluefish up to this point were from my time at the Culinary Institute of America. Students were responsible for receiving fish (steward class), prepping fish (butchery), preparing fish (kitchen class), and serving it (service class). We also had to eat whatever we made.

Bluefish has high oil content and is very perishable. Slow and inexperienced student handling, slightly improper trimming and cooking, and delayed serving made this fish the scourge of lunch and dinner classes. The mere mention of bluefish was enough to send student diners scurrying for the exits to escape the funkiness.

I relate my misgivings to Chubby. “I’ll give you this one for free,” he says, “because I know after you have a really fresh bluefish, you’ll be buying all I can get you in the future.” 

I fillet the glistening fish and remove the skin and its red outside bloodline to yield thick filets that look like slightly darker-hued striped bass. I grill up a piece with just a bit of salt and pepper. The oil content of the fish helps it grill up with a golden, crunchy exterior and a moist, flavorful interior. This bluefish has zero relationship to my previous frightening experiences. As usual, Chubby didn’t disappoint. 

Thirty-plus years later, Angie and I are luxuriating in our first visit to the Pioneer Valley. Our friend David, the self-appointed guide for the day, takes us on his personal “Best of the Valley” tour. We start on River Road for blueberries, cross Christian Lane and go down to Golanka’s for corn and tomatoes, then into Northampton to Northshore Seafood for fish. As we enter the corner fish market, I am immediately smitten with the concise repertoire of the East Coast’s greatest piscatorial hits: sword, cod, hake, stripers, sea scallops, cherrystones, and mussels. David, with the excitement of a lottery winner, looks past them all and exclaims, “Yes! Bluefish!” 

Within an hour, we are scarfing down succulent, crusty bluefish between bites of sweet corn and a perfectly balanced tomato salad. It’s hard to seal a deal in one meal, but it is the start of the journey that brings us from Wisconsin to our current home on the banks of the Connecticut River in Hatfield. 

 

PEPPERED BLUEFISH WITH GLAZED TURNIPS AND TURNIP GREEN BROTH

This preparation makes full use of the Valley’s vibrant farmers’ markets. Find a nice bunch of just-dug early turnips with really fresh green tops to use when enhancing the broth. (If you can’t find turnips, radishes with tops will do.) The key, as Cubby taught me: It’s all about the freshest blue.

Serves 4

1 cup unsalted chicken stock

4 small (about 4 ounces each) turnips with fresh green tops, greens removed and reserved. Turnips peeled and cut in 1-inch wedges.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Zest of ½ lemon and juice of 1 lemon (need 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon juice)

2 tablespoons crushed peppercorns, strained in a fine strainer to remove any pepper dust

4 (6- to 7-ounce, about 1-inch thick) skinless bluefish filets (can substitute striped bass)

2 shallots (1½ ounces), peeled and thinly sliced 

2 garlic cloves (½ ounce), peeled and finely chopped

½ cup dry white wine

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cover the turnip wedges with stock, add a pinch of salt, and bring up to a simmer for about 4–5 minutes, until just tender. Strain and reserve the turnip stock. Place a 12-inch sauté pan over high heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When oil is hot, add the turnips, season lightly with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 4 minutes, until golden brown. Add the sugar and lemon zest and toss together. Add ½ teaspoon of the lemon juice, glaze, remove from pan, and reserve warm. Clean the pan and put back over medium-high heat. Divide the pepper evenly over tops of the bluefish and press in. Season all lightly with salt. Add the remaining oil to the pan and sauté the fish until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the fish to a plate. 

Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Add the wine and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and reduce by half. Add the reserved turnip stock and reduce to ⅓ to ½ cup. Place the reserved stock and reserved greens in a blender and purée until fine. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Divide the fish and turnips between 4 plates and divide the turnip green broth around and serve. 

Last Bite: Asparagus

Last Bite: Asparagus

Fresh Hadley grass is fabulous adorned with nothing more than a pat of butter. But during asparagus season, we eat it every day and want to shake up our asparagus game. Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy this lovely local treat.

Read More

Last Bite: Miso

There are many types of miso at the market. All of these recipes were tested with shiro (white) miso and chickpea miso from South River Miso. Experiment with other miso types, and use more or less to your taste.

Miso Cookies

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Edible Radio: Lost Recipes of Prohibition

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On this episode of The Kitchen Workshop, Mary Reilly (the publisher of Edible Pioneer Valley) speaks with Matthew Rowley. Matthew is the author of Moonshine! and the new book Lost Recipes of Prohibition.  He write about folk distillation and illicit spirits. 

Mary and Matthew spoke about the amazing Prohibition-era notebook that Matthew used as the foundation for his book, drinking during our country's "dry" period, rum shrub (see below for a recipe) and ice liquor. 

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Rum Shrub

750 ml 151 proof rum

3.25 ounces fresh orange juice

3.25 ounces fresh lemon juice

Peel of 1/2 lemon, pith removed

Peel of 1/2 orange, pith removed

13 ounces sugar

16 ounces water

Combine the rum, juices and citrus peels in a large swing-top jar. Seal and let macerate 24 hours in a cool place. Meanwhile, make a syrup by heating the sugar and water in a nonreactive pot. When cool, combine with the strained rum mixture, stir to blend and bottle.

The West Indian Shrub  is identical, except that it uses fresh lime juice in place of the lemon and orange juices. 

Edible Radio: Preserving the Japanese Way with Nancy Singleton Hachisu

9781449450885On this episode of The Kitchen Workshop, Mary Reilly (the publisher of Edible Pioneer Valley) speaks with Nancy Singleton Hachisu, the author of Japanese Farm Food and the new book Preserving the Japanese Way

Nancy and Mary talked about Japanese pickling and preserving. Nancy shared her method for making miso and discussed where to find good miso, if you're not making your own.

Learn more about Nancy's books and appearances at nancysingletonhachisu.com.

Find miso and and koji at South River Miso, and many Japanese ingredients at Gold Mine Natural Foods.

Nancy was kind enough to share her recipe for miso squid with us. Find it below.

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Miso Squid – Ika No Misozuke

Serves 6

We are fortunate to have a constant supply of very fresh squid in Japan. If you have any doubts about the freshness of your squid, you might want to perform a boiling water–ice bath operation a couple of times by pouring a stream of boiling water over the squid for 10 seconds, then plunging in a bowl of ice water to refresh (yudoshi). Also squid is one sea creature that does not suffer much from freezing, so frozen squid is an alternative to fresh. Miso tends to burn, thus low-ember coals or far away from the broiler is best. Squid stands up to the miso and the long, slow cook more than fish, as its surface is naturally taut and becomes slightly caramelized. Utterly delectable as a before-dinner snack or appetizer. Also excellent cold the following day.

5 small fresh squid (about pound/150 g each)

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon sake

4 tablespoons brown rice or barley miso

1 to 2 small dried red chiles, sliced into fine rings

Position a cutting board immediately to the left of the kitchen sink. Set the bag of squid directly behind the board and a wire-mesh strainer in the sink itself. Remove the squid from the bag and lay them on the board. Gently dislodge the inner gastric sacs from the bodies by running your finger around the perimeter of the inside body walls and pull the sac out in one piece. Reserve the sacs and some of the meat for making shiokara, if you like, otherwise, toss into the strainer for later composting. Stick your finger inside the body and pull out the plastic-like stick, called the gladius and set the bodies in the sink to wash.

Pat the squid bodies well with a clean dish towel. Drape across a dinner plate, and sprinkle all sides with the salt. Stash in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours uncovered.

Muddle the sake into the miso and spread over both surfaces of the squid bodies with a small rubber scraper; smooth around the tentacles (still attached at the top) with your fingers. Return the squid to the refrigerator for 2 or 3 hours more for a deep, dark taste. Grill slowly over low-ember coals or on a rack set in the third slot from the top of an oven broiler for about 5 minutes on each side. Julienne and eat as is for a before-dinner snack.

VARIATION: The laconic gentleman who hid behind dark glasses at the Wajima air-dried fish place parted with his favorite way to make squid: Marinate in soy sauce for 30 minutes and grill. Simple. I like to serve it with a squeeze of yuzu or Meyer lemon.

From Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC

Last Bite: Cabbage

Recipes by Edible Pioneer Valley staff / Photographs by Dominic Perri

Cabbage isn’t one of the most glamorous vegetables in your market basket, but it doesn’t deserve its dowdy reputation. Nutritionally, it’s a valuable addition to any diet due to its high levels of vitamins K, C, B6, and folate. Culinarily, it’s a powerhouse in the kitchen. Any variety of cabbage can be used in these recipes: green, Savoy, red, Napa … pick heavy, “squeaky” heads.

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Fall 2015 Cover Story

Cover photograph by Dominic Perri

One of the flavors that shouts “Fall!” to us is apple cider. In this issue we visit a family-run cidery and orchard: Bear Swamp Orchard. Find recipes using hard and sweet ciders, including one for tangy-sweet apple cider caramel, in the story here. We like this caramel drizzled over a big bowl of ice cream, naturally, but it’s also a decadent topper for a bowl of yogurt and granola. For a savory option, drizzle it over a pork roast, or mix with mustard to make a spicy-sweet sandwich spread.

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Honeydew and cucumber gazpacho from Chef Dino

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Here's the last demo recipe from last weekend's Wachusett Farm Fresh Fest.

This recipe comes from Chef Dino Giordano of 30 Boltwood at the The Lord Jeffrey Inn in Amherst, MA. It’s exactly what we want during the dog days of summer: cooling, refreshing and it comes together in about 5 minutes! Delicious on its own, this soup also makes a great accompaniment to seafood, try it alongside grilled shrimp, salmon or lobster.

The gazpacho is at its best when very cold, so chill your melon before making it, or leave yourself enough time to let it get cold in the fridge. Add a splash of vodka to any leftovers and enjoy a cooling cocktail.

Honeydew and Cucumber Gazpacho

  • 1 dead-ripe medium-sized honeydew melon, seeded, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup of water, a little more if needed
  • A few basil leaves
  • Pinch of Aleppo pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Put everything but the lemon juice in the blender (you may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your blender). Blend well, until everything is silky smooth. Use more water, if needed, if the soup is too thick. Combine the batches, if needed, and taste, add a squeeze of lemon juice and salt to taste. The soup should be sweet, a little tangy and well-seasoned. Add more Aleppo pepper if you desire more of a kick.

An Apple That Fell Close to the Tree

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Three generations make cider at Bear Swamp Orchard

Story and photographs by Leslie Lynn Lucio

In the hilltowns of western Massachusetts, in the small town of Ashfield, you’ll find Bear Swamp Orchard, a small organic apple orchard run by the Gougeon family. Jen Williams and Steve Gougeon operate the orchard along with their sons, Aidan and Elliot. The orchard offers pick-your-own during the early fall months (starting in mid-September), hosts hard cider tastings throughout most of the year, and they make and sell both organic sweet and hard cider made from their own apples.

Bear Swamp Orchard is located on land that has nurtured apple orchards for over 100 years. In the 1950s the whole area was entirely apples, but toward the mid-1970s, some of the orchard was cut and burned and switched over to pasture. As time passed, woods took over the old orchard. Any apple trees that remained were embraced and hidden by the trees that grew around them.

When Steve was young his parents, Melinda and Richard, moved to the site and built a house right next to the old, still-hidden orchard. In the mid-1980s, an apple-growing neighbor helped out when he came through and cleared out the trees that weren’t apples, enriched the soil, and planted new apple trees.

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Many years later, when Jen and Steve finished school, they moved back to the area, their family, and the orchard. Steve, who’s also a carpenter, built a second-family addition to his parents’ home, bringing three generation to live on the property. Jen and Steve decided to return the orchard to its former productive state.

“It was sad to see all these apples fall on the ground and just rot. So we decided we wanted to try and take care of it,” says Jen. They knew there were more apple than they could consume, so in 2006 they began selling apples and offering pick-your-own apples as well.

They have since put in five acres on two fields and planted more varieties of apple. This is an exercise in patience, as the trees will take years to produce fruit. The Gougeons have worked since the beginning to make sure the orchard is growing in a sustainable and holistic manner. The apples share the land with their animals: a llama named Fern and some Shetland ewes, which help by grazing the pasture and orchard.

Juicy Recipes

Apple Cider Caramel

Crispy Pork Belly with Braised Apples and Cabbage

Putting ideas in place

Steve and Jen had been making hard cider for themselves for many years.

“We realized we could share a lot of the fruit with other people, but the thing about organic production is that the majority of apples are not dessert-quality fruit, people aren’t buying them in stores. So you need to have some plan for all those apples that people don’t want to just pick and eat. That’s where hard cider comes in,” says Jen. They had already done the organic hurdle, so now it was a matter of time overcoming the level of paperwork that involves the selling of alcohol. It was a lot of work, time, and patience, but they knew it was worth it.

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“Ten years [of cider experiments] gave us a lot of time to try out different varieties,” says Steve. “A lot of the varieties we have aren’t necessarily the varieties that most people would use to make cider, so we had to really figure out which ones were good and which ones weren’t.”

The process they use to make their hard cider is a traditional one. They ferment the juice with wild yeast and use lots of wild organic apples that are harvested when fully ripened. They also don’t interfere with fermentation by filtering or by adding other processing and fermenting aids. Steve says, “We did many yeast trials and we realized that none of the yeast you could buy gave us a better ferment than leaving it alone and letting it ferment by itself. Our process has always been simple.” There are six varieties to choose from, including New England Hard Cider, Sparkling Organic Hard Cider, and Hop Hard Cider.

This year, they put in a new production building and tasting room. They offer hard cider tastings and you can purchase cider, baked goods, and other local products in their shop. Steve is now a full-time cidermaker and orchardist and part-time carpenter. Jen teaches part-time when she is not working the orchard and cidery. They do most of the work themselves, but are able to bring in family or friends when they need a little extra help. Their two boys, Aidan, and Elliot, help out as well, but Jen and Steve keep their ages in mind, so they don’t put too much on them. But the boys like to lend a hand when they can.

It has taken time to build Bear Swamp Orchard to where it is today. Like the slow growth of an apple tree, their efforts have taken time to yield fruit. Thanks to their passion for the orchard and the cidery, the Gougeons’ relationship with their land is one that will endure.

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Bear Swamp Orchard, Ashfield | 413-625-4829 | BearSwampOrchard.com

Visit the website or call for tasting room hours, Pick Your Own information, and details about ciders.

Pickled Salads from Julia Poppins

Dane Kuttler at the Julia Poppins School of Cooking also graced the demo stage this weekend. Dane's an expert on cooking for, and alongside, children (and grownups too), and she shared her formula for Pickled Salads with us. Find the method over on her blog and build your own perfect pickled salad. 

 

 

Cheesemaking, the Natural Way

sm_TheArtofNaturalCheesemaking_LoResOn The Kitchen Workshop, Mary Reilly, Edible Pioneer Valley publisher and editor in chief, sat down with David Asher. David runs the Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking in British Columbia. He follows traditional and natural methods of cheesemaking and doesn't rely on the freeze-dried cheese cultures that make up so much of today's cheesemaking. Mary and David talked about cheesemaking methods, rennet types (During they veer off into a detailed discussion of rennet production and GMO rennet. For more information on GMO-produced rennets, read Changing Times for Wisconsin Cheesemakers from Edible Milwaukee.)

Listen to learn how David makes paneer and chevre at home. Recipes for both are below. These recipes have been adapted from David Asher's The Art of Natural Cheesemaking (July 2015) and are printed with permission from Chelsea Green Publishing.

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PANEER

I learned how to make paneer at a gurdwara (a Sikh temple). The original community kitchens, gurd- waras open up their temples to the public and serve free vegetarian meals known as langar to anyone, regardless of gender, creed, or need, almost any day of the week. At the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, the most holy Sikh temple, tens of thousands of pilgrims are served wholesome meals every single day.

If you haven’t been to a gurdwara for a meal, I highly recommend it. It’s an important cultural experience, and an excellent way to get to know your neighbors and enjoy a meal with folks off the street. If you don’t want to accept a free meal, the temples will gladly accept donations, or your help in the kitchen.

Gurdwaras make phenomenal homemade Punjabi food, often featuring homemade paneer. When I learned that this temple I visited made its own cheese, I asked the community if I could volunteer in the kitchen and see how it was made. Expert cheesemakers, the Punjabis in the kitchen were very instructive and happy to share their skills. I later learned that many Punjabi households make their own paneer, even after immigrating to North America (you’ve probably seen them buying gallons and gallons of milk at the supermarket and wondered how they were going to drink it all). They should be an example for us all!

This is an adaptation of the gurdwara’s recipe, scaled down from the 25 or so gallons (100 L) of milk that they transformed into cheese in their kitchen! The 25 gallons of milk produced about 25 pounds (10 kg) of cheese, and all that warm cheese, sitting in the strainer, pressed itself firm. When making this recipe at home, you’ll probably not be making as much, and you’ll need to set up a cheese press to press your paneer firm.

Queso fresco, literally “fresh cheese” in Spanish, is a similarly made heat-acid cheese that’s commonly consumed across Mexico and Latin America. Essentially paneer made on a different continent, the recipe for queso fresco is virtually identical to its Indian cousin.

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Ingredients

1 gallon (4 L) milk—and almost any milk will do!
1⁄2 cup (120 mL) vinegar (or 1 cup [240 mL] lemon juice, or 1⁄2 gallon [2 L] yogurt or kefir)
1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt (optional)

Equipment

2-gallon (8-L) capacity heavy-bottomed pot
Wooden spoon
Medium-sized wire strainer
Steel colander
Large bowl

Homemade cheese press—two matching yogurt containers, one with holes punched through from the inside with a skewer

Time Frame

2 hours

Yield

Makes about 1 1⁄2 pounds (700 g) cheese

Technique

Bring the milk to a boil over medium-high heat.
Be sure to stir the pot nonstop as the milk warms to prevent its scorching on the bottom; the more time you spend stirring, the less time you’ll spend scouring! As well, stirring promotes presence of mind and keeps you focused on the milk, which may boil over if forgotten.

Let the milk rest by cooling it in its pot for a minute or two. Letting the milk settle will slow its movement and help ensure good curd formation.

Pour in the vinegar or lemon juice, and gently stir the pot once or twice to ensure an even mixing of the acid. Do not overstir; the paneer curds are sensitive when they’re fresh and can break apart if overhandled. Watch as the curds separate from the whey . . .

Let the curds settle for 5 minutes. As they cool, the curds will continue to come together. As they become firm, they will be more easily strained from the pot.

Carefully strain the curds: With a wire-mesh strainer, scoop out the curds from the pot, and place them to drain in a colander resting atop a bowl that will catch the warm whey. Pouring the whole pot through the colander is not recom- mended, as the violent mixing that results can make it difficult for the cheese to drain.

Add spices or salt (optional). If you wish to flavor your paneer or queso fresco, consider adding various herbs or spices to the curds before they are pressed. Now is also the best time to add salt.

Press the curds (optional): Transfer the paneer curds from the colander into a form while they are still warm, and place the cheese-filled form atop a draining rack. Fill up the follower with hot whey, and place atop the form to press the curds firm. The paneer is ready as soon as the curd has cooled. It can be taken out of the form and used right away, or refrigerated in a covered container for up to 1 week. Paneer, unlike other cheeses, can also be frozen.

Recipe adapted from David Asher's The Art of Natural Cheesemaking (July 2015) and printed with permission from Chelsea Green Publishing.

CHEVRE

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The cultural circumstances within which chèvre evolved make the production of this cheese ideally suited to our modern times. With the many distractions and diversions in our lives, it is often difficult to find dedicated time for cheesemaking; chèvre’s simplicity helps it find a place in our daily rhythms.

Cows’ milk can be used in this recipe in place of goats’ milk: the soft and creamy curd that results is firmer than yogurt cheese and is sometimes called cream cheese, fromage frais, or Neufchâtel, though that final name is an American bastardization of a very different bloomy-rinded French cheese. The long fermentation of the cows’ milk allows its cream to rise, creating a beautiful layer of creamy curd atop the whiter curd below.

Chèvre is excellent on its own but also serves as a delicious canvas for adding many other herbs, spices, and flavors. Roasted or raw garlic, cracked pepper, preserved lemons, even fruit preserves all pair well with chèvre. But be sure to add them at the end of the cheesemaking process, when the cheese is salted and drained; if the flavorings are added too soon, their flavor will flow away with the whey.

Chèvre is generally eaten fresh in North America, so it is a little-known fact that it can also be aged! Chèvre is the foundation of an entire class of aged cheeses that start as this fresh cheese.

Ingredients

1 gallon (4 L) good goats’ milk
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) kefir or active whey
1⁄4 dose rennet (I use less than 1⁄16 tablet WalcoRen calf’s rennet for 1 gallon milk)
1 tablespoon (15 mL) good salt

Equipment

1-gallon (4-L) capacity heavy-bottomed pot
Wooden spoon
Ladle
Du-rag or other good cheesecloth
Steel colander
Large bowl

Time Frame

30 minutes to make; 2 days total

Yield

Makes about 11⁄2 pounds (700 g) chèvre

Technique

Warm the goats’ milk to around 90°F (32°C) on a low heat, stirring occasionally to keep it from scorching.

Stir in a cheesemaking starter culture: Pour in the kefir or whey and mix it in thoroughly.

Stir in a small amount of rennet: Dissolve the quarter dose of rennet in 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) cold water. Mix it into the warm milk gently
but thoroughly.

Leave at room temperature, covered, for 24 hours. After the long fermentation period, the curd will shrink and sink to the bottom of the pot.

Ladle the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander perched over a bowl to catch the whey. Tie the cheesecloth into a bag, and simply leave it in the colander to drain.

Drain for at least 6 hours, at room temperature. Cover with a clean towel if need be to keep flies from landing on it. Be sure that the curds are well suspended above the level of the whey.

Salt the curds: Open up the cheesecloth bag and sprinkle 1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt over the surface of the cheese. With a wooden spoon, mix the salt into the cheese thoroughly.

Tie up the cheesecloth bag, and let the salted curds drain for another hour or two. Once the cheese feels quite dry, it’s ready to eat, or have herbs or spices added to it.

Keep chèvre in the refrigerator if you don’t eat it right away. It will keep for at least 2 weeks.

Recipe adapted from David Asher's The Art of Natural Cheesemaking (July 2015) and printed with permission from Chelsea Green Publishing.

Waste Not: Pesto Improvisations

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Americans waste up to 40% of all food produced annually (National Resources Defense Council)––that’s 35 millions pounds of food that ends up in landfills each year (Environmental Protection Agency). In our new department Waste Not, Edible Pioneer Valley gives you a quick ways to use more of the food you buy. Check out our Waste Not section for more ways to reduce the amount of food you waste at home.

Summer is here and that means CSAs, farmers markets, and home gardens will be filling our kitchens with gorgeous vegetables. Impromptu pestos are a great way to use the “green leafies” that come attached to the top of your carrots, beets, radishes, and turnips. They also do yeoman’s work when it comes to taming the umpteenth bunch of kale in your CSA box. Pestos can be tossed with pasta, spread on sandwiches, used as a dip … the possibilities are endless.

 Recipe: Kale Stem Pesto

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 Recipe: Radish Top Pesto

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RIFF ON THESE RECIPES

If your greens are tough, give them a quick blanch in boiling water, otherwise jump right in. Use the oil of your choice to blend the pesto and add nuts, cheese, tofu, and/or beans to thicken and enrich it. Finish with a splash of vinegar or citrus juice and a little salt and pepper.

Other combinations to try:

• Beet or chard stems (blanch first), olive oil, white beans
• Carrot tops (blanch first), sunflower oil, sunflower seeds, sharp cheddar, sherry vinegar
• Turnip tops, olive oil, Romano cheese, lemon
• Cilantro stems, pumpkin seeds, lime

 

Blake Orchard Juicery

A Juicy New Business

Story by Samantha Marsh | Photo by Dominic Perri

Alli Messenger, owner of Blake Orchard Juicery in Wilbraham, did not start her college career with the thought that she might one day own a juicery. She was always interested in nutrition, but it was after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives that Alli truly changed her views on food and began to learn more about the benefits of raw foods and juicing.

“I wanted to offer something to people that was healthy and nutritious,” Alli says. Blake Orchard Juicery began as a way to offer a healthy product to people that would make them feel their best. A Longmeadow native, Alli decided to launch the juicery close to her home and to the Valley’s plethora of local farms and produce. After extensive research on nutrition, the purchase of a Press Right hydraulic juice press, and a secured rental kitchen on the property of Rice Fruit Farm in Wilbraham, Blake Orchard Juicery was born.

A one-woman show for now, Blake Orchard Juicery offers seven types of organic juices and two homemade types of organic almond “mylks.” The juices are available for home delivery and are also sold at area farmers’ markets.

“I hope to expand my home delivery service,” Alli says. Home delivery is a great option for those who want to try drinking fresh raw juices, but are intimidated by the process. Due to Blake Orchard’s juicing process, the juices last for up to three days in the refrigerator, so people are able to order juices just a couple times a week and have enough for the whole week.

“My juices are cold pressed,” she says, “which is a two-step process that requires no heat or oxygen.” According to Alli, cold pressed juices typically have five to seven times more nutrients than juices pressed using other processes, and result in a smoother, denser product. Cold pressed juices use more of the fruit, and therefore have a higher yield and less waste.

Alli makes juices that are based on the effect they will have on energy and health, but also have flavors that go well together and taste great. Her three green juices, “The Insomniac,” “Iron Man,” and “Skin Cleanser,” are some of her most popular. Through she hesitates to pick a favorite juice herself, Alli says she is partial to “Glow,” which combines carrot and ginger juice.

Alli sources most of her produce from Red Fire Farm in Granby or the Berkshire Co-op in Great Barrington. Her kitchen is equipped with two commercial juicers, a Vitamix, and bottling supplies and is located inside Rice Fruit Farm, a local farm store dating back to 1893 that opened its doors again in April. A small-but-mighty operation, Blake Orchard Juicery is filling glasses throughout the Pioneer Valley.

Find a summery cocktail recipe using Blake Orchard Juicery’s Clean Buzz here!

Blake Orchard Juicery juices are sold at Rice Fruit Farm and will be at several farmers markets this summer. Check BlakeOrchardJuicery.com for details.

Last Bite: Zucchini

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Zucchini and other summer squashes are ubiquitous at the supermarket year-round, but in summer these often-unappreciated vegetables really do shine. Any summer squash or zucchini will work interchangeably in these recipes. A medium (about 6 inches long) zucchini usually weighs about 6 to 8 ounces. Each of these recipes, except the Herbed Zucchini Jam, makes approximately 4 side dish-sized servings.

Zucchini Fritters 

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 Herbed Zucchini Jam

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 Zucchini Ribbons with Sesame

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 Crispy Zucchini Rounds (Online Exclusive!)

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20 Recipes for a Festive Fourth!

On the Grill

Photo courtesy Edible Capital District  Try using local lamb (or beef) in these Lamb Burgers with Raita from Edible Capital District
Photo courtesy of Edible Sarasota Grill up these non-traditional Cauliflower Burgers for a vegetarian option. Thanks to Edible Sarasota for this fresh approach!
Photo courtesy of Edible Tulsa Edible Tulsa's Chicken Burgers are a great way to show off local chicken and ripe tomatoes. 
2015_Apr30_EdiblePIoneerValley_Summer_035 Impress family and friends with Grilled Scallops with Caramel Corn Sauce from our Summer issue. No scallops? Shrimp make a great substitute!
Photo by Elaine Papa Don't let whole fish scare you away from the fish counter. Chef Giordano's Grilled Mackerel with Spicy Cabbage Slaw will convert you to the beauty of grilling whole fish.
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 An unusual and delicious option is these Grilled Feta and Vegetable Kabobs from Edible Sarasota.

sutter_rec120  These Korean-Inspired Tacos from our Summer 2014 issue are a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. Want to go vegetarian? The marinade is fabulous on firm tofu or portabello mushrooms as well. 
franklin2  This classic Grilled Tri-Tip is a traditionally delicious approach to this beefy cut. 

Sides and Snacks 

11536508_891285734276327_6499994447551028885_o When it's hot out, a puckery pickle can help quench your thirst. These Quick Pickles are ready in a just an hour or two and can use up any veggies you have on hand. 
eV11_fromthemarket_elizabethcecil_02_650_434_90  Edible Vineyard shares Paula Wolfert's classic Fattoush recipe with us.
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The Curried Carrot Salad from Edible Vineyard is an elegant, yet simply-prepared, addition to your holiday weekend table. 

simply-Asian-tomato-salad  Ripe tomatoes? Tomato Salad to the rescue. Thanks Edible Green Mountains!
 Photo courtesy of Edible Indy http://edibleindy.ediblefeast.com/recipes/german-potato-salad
grilled-beet-salad  If the grill's hot, everything should get on there, even beets. Try them in this Grilled Beet Salad from Edible Santa Fe
whipped-goat-cheese-with-pea-shoots Need a snacky starter? Try these Whipped Goat Cheese Toasts from Edible Green Mountains. Up your holiday weekend chef credentials by grilling the toasts before topping them.
Photo courtesy of Edible Santa Barbara This Watercress and Spring Pea Salad from Edible Santa Barbara is a light, flavorful contrast to the traditional burgers and dogs. 

  Desserts 

Photo courtesy of Red Fire Farm  This Strawberry Cake is loaded with fresh fruit, easy to put together and can be made gluten free or vegan if you wish. Wait are you waiting for?
coversneak  This Blueberry Corn Bread from Edible Boston is a dessert crossed with a side dish. Perfect for nibbling all day.
Photo by Dominic Perri Virginia Willis' Cream Cheese Brownies are guaranteed to please the kids, the added fruit (via applesauce) pleases the parents. 
new-england-berry-galette-hoverfly Make Edible Green Mountains' Berry Galette extra festive for the Fourth by using strawberries and blueberries and giving it a dollop of whipped cream. 

 

 

Breakfast at the Greenfield Market

sagefarmsausagesandwichEvery Saturday, rain or shine, the crew from Sage Farm sets up at the Greenfield Farmers Market. Located in nearby Montague, Sage Farm is a one-man farm that raises a variety of heritage-breed pigs. 

Technically, the Sage Farm booth offers shoppers one option: a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich, served with local greens on a baguette. But those in the know can order another treat. 

Simply called "The Gluten Free Option," the sandwich was invented for Tom, a frequent visitor to the Sage Farm stand. Two plump sausage patties (made with Sage Farm pork at the nearby Adams Slaughterhouse) sandwich a fried locally-raised egg, a slice of cheese, and crisp farm-fresh greens. You can add a squeeze of Sriracha if you’d like and then head to a nearby bench to enjoy this slightly-messy, yet always delicious, treat.

Can’t make it to the market? Make your own sandwich at home and get the farmers market experience in your own kitchen.

For each sandwich, you will need:

  • 2 3-ounce breakfast sausage patties (The sausage is really the star here, buy bulk sausage from a local butcher, or make your own.)
  • 1 egg
  • Slice of cheese 
  • 1 handful of fresh greens (spinach, mizuna, arugula, tatsoi, etc.), torn into sandwich-sized pieces if necessary
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot sauce, if desired

Over medium heat, heat a skillet large enough to hold the sausage in a single layer. Lay the sausage patties into the skillet and cook until crisp and brown, flip over and continue to cook until cooked through (about 10 minutes total). Remove from pan and lay on a sheet of paper towel to absorb any excess fat. Do not drain fat out of the pan.

Fry the the egg(s) to your desired doneness, seasoning with salt and pepper. At the market, Farmer Tyler cooks his eggs to medium, but at home you might prefer a runnier egg.

Build your sandwich: sausage patty, slice of cheese, greens, egg, hot sauce if you’d like, and the second patty. Dig in!