Monday, June 21, 2010

A Cheese Class

My youngest gave me a cool birthday present. A class in cheese-making, followed by wine and cheese tasting! Our class was at the Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills.

Gloria helps shake up the milk. We used non-homogenized milk, so the fat had to be loosened.

Curds and whey after heating the milk, and adding citric acid and rennet.

Our mozzarella balls after shaping the curds and dipping them in HOT water. We decorated them with flower petals or herbs.

Gloria and I pose at the door. We also got to visit the farm's goats!

Wild Alaskan salmon: food politics in action

So who gets the money for all that expensive salmon? Here's another example of Big Ag (in this case, Big Fish) destroying a local economy:

Wild Alaskan salmon: food politics in action

Monday, June 14, 2010

More Greek Weekend

I had more cooking to do on Saturday. Since I made half the recipe for Copenheim, I wanted to use up the rest of the phyllo dough. But the last thing I needed was more sweets.

Which calls for an appetizer. Oooh - vegetables!

Elaine's cookbook has recipes for cheese puffs and spanokopita. My appetizer became a sort of combo, based on what I had in the frig:

A mixture of kale and beet greens, sauteed with onions and garlic:

To this, I added cottage cheese and dill. Are you wrinkling your nose? You might be surprised to know it tasted darn good!

Using oil on the phyllo, I rolled this mixture up into turnovers:

I haven't baked them, yet. I put the pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes, then put the turnovers in a plastic bag for storage. They'll be great to just pop in the oven for a quick dinner or appetizers for guests. Perhaps this weekend, when the R. family comes for dinner.

Ah, but now it was time to prepare the marinade for the Arni Souvlakia, aka, shish kebabs (p. 50).

I had a small leg of lamb and roast in the freezer, so I'd thawed them out and cut them into little pieces. I added quartered onion, cherry tomatoes, and mushroom caps (cremini). The recipe called for bell pepper, but I haven't found any locally grown pepper yet, so I left them out.

Sitting in the marinade

But what did I have left after these preparations? Did you guess a lamb bone? With a little meat still on it? What do you think I did with that?

Yep - lamb stew! An excuse to use more vegetables! Sorry, I didn't get a picture of it, but I've got a nice broth with onion and carrots. I'll finish it today - adding a roux and some fresh peas. Can't wait!

The next day (Sunday), was the crowing touch:

We grilled them, along with some corn, and had a marvelous lunch. We had one skewer left over (go figure), and that became this morning's breakfast, chopped up with some leftover asparagus and scrambled with some eggs. Perfect!

Gloria and Bill have no complaints about Elaine's cookbook! They just want more!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Report and a Review

Greek Weekend! I finally had company, and took advantage of it to try a couple recipes from Elaine Schmitz's Recipes & Recollections of My Greek American Family.

It was done in my usual of-course-I-messed-with-it way of cooking. This usually happens because I refuse to go out and by an ingredient if I have something else that I need to use up, and that just maybe, could substitute without totally screwing up the recipe.

More often that not, this involves vegetables.

So yesterday, I donned an apron and pulled out the pots and pans. The recipes:

Connie's Arni Souvlakia - Shish Kebab p. 50
Minnie's Copenheim p. 125

Then there were the dishes I had to make up on the spot to deal with leftover ingredients:
Veggie-Cheese Turnovers (a weird version of spanakopita, or perhaps Cheese Puffs)
Lamb Stew (sort of)

First, I made the syrup for the Copenheim:

Sugar, water, & lemon juice, simmered for about 45 minutes.

Then I got busy with the phyllo dough. Being me, I found, and used, whole grain phyllo dough. Every little bit helps.

I should probably remind you that I'm not a patient person. It's rare that I make something both delicious AND attractive. I can live with that.

Then I beat the egg yolks, folded in the walnuts and beaten egg whites, and spread it over the phyllo:

This was topped with more buttered phyllo dough and baked for about an hour. The syrup was poured over the top of it.
You know, sometimes it does turn out looking attractive!

I need to get a picture of the inside. The egg/walnut mixture bakes into a fluffy, cake-like center. I never would have imagined it. This tastes wonderful, too. A great dessert. Even though I cut the recipe in half, there is still a huge amount left, so it was divided between the guests to take to their various places of work on Monday. The whole Bay Area gets to play Greek!

I'll post the other recipes in a separate entry, so I don't overdo the picture fairy. But I should add: this recipe is very easy to do! Don't be afraid to try it - just have plenty of people around to help you eat it!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cooking Club - the Third Day


That's what we did for our third cooking club meeting. Everyone brought their own toppings, I made the dough. We used my lovely pizza stone and made delicious, crispy pizzas, with highly creative toppings! I was impressed!

First up is Barry, who was a little self-conscious to be the first guy at our meetings. But we were delighted to have him! And his Apple/Dubliner Cheese pizza was amazing:

Here's a better look at the pizza:

Corrine, who comes to us from England, via Houston, made a fabulous southwestern affair. Let's see, it had chipotle-dusted, sauteed chicken breast, fire-roasted tomatoes, roasted vegetables, and cilantro. Marvelous!


I made a more typical pepperoni/mushroom/cheese pizza, with the addition of zucchini. Never pass up an opportunity to add vegetables:

It was good, too!

We need more people! Where is everybody?