Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Peach Blueberry Cake

We've had lots of blueberries and peaches in the last week or two.  When I was a kid, my mom made a delicious Blueberry Peach Kuchen (a german cake).  I searched for a recipe, but couldn't find what I thought I was looking for (and my Mom was away, so I couldn't call and get the recipe from her).  I found one for a Peach Blueberry Cake on Epicurious that sounded delicious and got great reviews.  We made it and it was fabulous!  (I was a little skeptical of how long the recipe listed for a bake time- 1 hour and 45 mins, but it really did need that long!)  I made another version yesterday using whole wheat for the crust and adding in cherries.  The cherries were great, the whole wheat crust not so much.  It was fine... and if I'd had that first I might not have minded, but in comparison to the crust with only all-purpose flour, well... it just didn't compare.  All in all, a great summer dessert we highly recommend!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Corn Fritters with Aged Cheddar and Arugula

I started this blog with partial hopes for it helping me to reduce my spending on groceries.  I wanted to track what we were spending and where we were spending it, and then figure out ways to reduce it.  In the midst of this, I read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  Both are wonderful, thought-provoking books. They've made me realize that there is nothing more important that I could spend our money on than the food that feeds and nourishes our family.  They've also given me some context for thinking about where our food comes from- where and how it is grown, how it is transported, how it is handled, etc.  I'm now trying to purchase as much of our food as possible from local sources, talking to the farmers who grow our vegetables, seeing the chickens that lay our eggs, putting money back into the community in which we live.  I'm also trying to make sure I use everything we buy, and hope this will be where I will be able to save some money.

With our new hopes for food, I purchased two new cookbooks in the last week.  Both are by Deborah Madison, a favorite cookbook author of mine.  Local Flavors approaches cooking from a seasonal perspective- the recipes are organized around what you would likely be able to find at a Farmer's Market around the same time.  Vegetarian Suppers is a lovely book of fairly quick vegetarian dinners that can be made on a weeknight when time might be shorter.  We made our first meal from Local Flavors last night and it was fabulous!

Corn Fritters with Aged Cheddar and Arugula from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison

6 ears sweet corn, enough to yield 3 cups kernels (from our local CSA)
2 eggs, beaten (from a local farm's free range, pasture fed Chickens)
4 scallions, finely sliced (from our local CSA)
1/2 cup chopped parsley (from our local CSA)
2 Tbsp shredded basil or dill 
1 cup grated or crumbled cheese (aged cheddar, goat cheese, feta, swiss, gouda, jack, etc.)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
unsalted butter or oil for frying
3 handfuls arugula, stems trimmed (from our local CSA)

1.  Slice the tops of the kernels off the corn, then reverse your knife and press out the milk.  Mix the kernels and scrapings with the eggs, scallions, herbs, cheese, and as much flour as can easily be absorbed.  Season with 1/2 tsp salt and some pepper.

2.  Melt enough butter or heat enough oil to cover a wide skilled generously.  Divide the batter roughly into sixths and drop into the skillet.  Fry over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes, then turn and brown the second side.

3.  Place a fritter on each of 6 plates and top with the arugula leaves (we thought our fritters were too pretty to be under the arugula, so we put them on top).  Serve right away.

This was pretty quick and easy, and delicious!  We were thrilled to have leftovers and gobbled them up for lunch today.