Each month, Small Potatoes will be inviting a guest blogger to share stories, recipes, and relationships to their food systems. Enjoy this first one from Diane at The Buffer Zone. Would you like a side of dysfunction with that turkey? … Continue reading
Barley flour adds a delicate touch to cookies (and other baked goods.) This flour and recipe came from the Eugene, OR, farmers’ market when we last passed through there. These snappy cookies are sturdy enough to live in your cookie jar without crumbling but wouldn’t be good for mailing or travel.
I made a batch of these for a fall cookie platter that also included chocolate peanut butter oat cookies, iced oatmeal, and pumpkin spice. There are also a few residing in my deep freeze, waiting to see if they make the Christmas cookie list.
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 c. molasses
2 1/4 c. barley flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
about 1/4 c. white sugar for rolling dough in
- Preheat oven to 350F. Cover baking sheet with parchment.
- Cream the sugar and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add egg and molasses. Mix until blended.
- In a separate bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together.
- Add dry mixture gradually to wet mixture, with mixer on low.
- Pour the white sugar on a plate, cutting board, or counter.
- With a cookie scoop (or two spoons), plop a 1 inch ball into your hand. Roll gently. Then, roll in sugar. Place on prepared cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. (This dough will spread.) When your sheet is full, flatten each ball gently with two fingers.
- Bake for 8 minutes.
Once, a long time ago when I was just beginning to learn to cook, I got a book from the library that contained something like a mind-blowing 150 recipes just made with potatoes. A few of those dishes that I learned then are still with me today. This dish, pommes anna, is a very classic french preparation and usually only uses two ingredients: butter and potatoes. I worked up an alternative version for a dairy-free friend. It was easy and yummy and served another important purpose. Our csa has been giving us handfuls of different potatoes each week. Varying sizes and types challenged me to think of a way to make them all into a cohesive dish. I scrubbed them up with our new favorite kitchen tool and then un-artfully stuffed them all in the top of the food processor. And there you have it – a quick potato side without any butter.
Makes 1 potato cake, serving about 4-6
about 3 handfuls of mixed potatoes
salt and pepper
- Prepare your pan. Use a 10 1/2 (or similarly sized) springform pan. Drizzle a little oil in it and smear it on the bottom and sides. Wrap the bottom in a piece of foil. Preheat oven to 375F.
- Slice your potatoes with the 2 mm. slicing blade of your food processor.
- Fill a large bowl with water and add potato slices. Swirl and rinse the extra starch off. Dry the potatoes with a dishtowel.
- Begin to layer them in your oiled pan. When you have a complete layer, drizzle a little more oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (It will cook up fine even if your layers are just approximated – no need for perfect overlapping circles.) Layer until you have about an inch of potatoes in the pan. Press down with your hand.
- Cover your pan tightly with foil. Place the pan on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake at 375F for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is brown (about 15 minutes more.)
- Unhinge your springform pan and slide the cake off the bottom. Slice and serve.
Do you ever indulge in heavy research mode for a recipe? I browsed friends’ cookbook collections and even went to the library for this one – all for the sake of a birthday request. My mission? To create a dessert that brought cheesecake and carrot cake together. Because I had a carrot cake recipe that I really loved, I decided to focus on creating a frosting that would evoke cheesecake. I started looking for an option that would be an alternative to the ubiquitous cream cheese frosting made with confectioners’ sugar. Though we all secretly love this (don’t deny it), this type of frosting is often way too sweet and distracts from the nature of the carrot cake.
So, after a lot of looking (and a lot of boring my friends with discussions about frosting), I discovered an “old fashioned” way of creating a cream cheese frosting. Essentially, you make a sweet roux and then mix in the butter and cream cheese. The result is a lightly sweet and creamy frosting that feels like pudding on your tongue. It was not difficult to make, but it definitely took some time and patience. (As R. said, this was a recipe created for a time when you were in the kitchen all day anyway.) Pay close attention to the temperature of ingredients and you will have success.
This frosting can be made ahead and refrigerated. I iced my first cake on the day it was made. The frosting went on easily, smoothly, and had a little glisten to it. I then refrigerated the rest of the batch and used it on the third day after it was made. The frosting tasted unchanged, but the texture was a little more grainy. (Still beautiful, but had a different sheen than on the first day.) Refer to the notes below for more specifics on how to hold the frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting (without confectioners’ sugar)
For one cake with layers (and a little left over)
16 tbls. unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 c. AP flour
3 tbls. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla
- Set out butter and cream cheese on your counter to come to room temperature. (Go ahead and just do this when you wake up in the morning, so you won’t forget.) If you are patient and wait until these ingredients can be squished with your finger, you’ll know your frosting will be smooth. There really is no way to simulate this with heating. Have patience.
- Combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in milk.
- Pour the milk mixture through a fine mesh sieve (to remove lumps) into a medium saucepan. If there is extra sugar in the bottom of your sieve, try to press it through with a rubber spatula.
- Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils. This will take about 7-15 minutes and it will look very thick (and a little splattery – so be careful of hot bubbles.)
- Transfer the boiled milk mixture to the bowl of your mixer. Let cool completely. This takes about 2-3 hours.
- When cool, add vanilla to mixture and beat with the whisk attachment on your mixer until blended or about 30 seconds.
- With the mixer running on low, add the butter and cream cheese in small pieces (about 2 tablespoons each.)
- Increase the mixer to medium and beat until fluffy, an additional five minutes.
- Frosting should be used at room temperature. If you’re making it ahead of time, refrigerate it in a container with a tight fitting lid. Before you want to spread it, let it sit on the counter for about an hour. Beat briefly with the whisk attachment on your mixer to return a little fluffiness.
- Frosting will last about a week in the refrigerator.
- Serve with carrot cake (or maybe a dark chocolate cake).
- This turned out to also be the perfect topping for birthday cinnamon rolls.
- I eventually found this recipe on the Cook’s Country website and worked through it. They have a lot of great down-home and “vintage” recipes that can be read with a subscription.
Earlier this week, we were gifted the invitation to lunch at Persephone Farm. Standing right in the field, we sampled their first corn of the season. I’ve never tasted anything like it. Rebecca talked to us about pollination and how it relates to plump, full ears. (That’s why corn is always grown in such close rows!) She encouraged the children to run through them. Giggles and sweet, sweet corn.
This morning at the market, I made sure that Persephone was my first stop. I filled my basket and am anticipating lots of corn recipes this week. Luckily, they also had baskets of chanterelles – tediously wiped and lovely.
This dish comes from the Wildwood cookbook and, like all of their recipes, really relies on simplicity and quality of fresh ingredients. It’s rich enough for a main dish when paired with a salad.
Serves 3 as a generous main, or 4 as a side
Creamed Corn and Chanterelles
4 ears of corn
about 4 ounces of chanterelles
1 tbls. butter
1 small onion
1 c. cream
1 tbls. lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 strips bacon, cooked and chopped (optional)
1 tbls. parsley, chopped (optional)
- Take the corn of the cob, slicing and milking it. (Photos and instructions here.)
- Wipe chanterelles of dirt (and pine needles.) Slice into about 1/2 inch pieces or leave whole, if very small.
- Mince onion.
- In a large skillet over medium-low, melt butter. Add onion and cook for about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until soft (about another 5 minutes.)
- Stir in cream, lemon juice, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stir, and let bubble for about 3 minutes.
- Off heat, add parsley and bacon.
Some of our other favorite corn recipes:
I’ve thought a lot about leaving the sugar out of a jam recipe and experimenting with honey. Here’s my first try! I’m pleased with the results and think you might be too. These preserves have a much lighter, less potent flavor than one of our most read recipes, plum butter. It makes for a lovely preserve, though, and is perfect for spooning over a hearty wheat bread. I’m grateful for a well-stocked bulk aisle at our grocery store, but this large quantity of honey was still a little pricey. But! The plums were a beautiful gift from nature, so it all balances out, right?
Plum Honey Preserves
Yields 6 half-pints (conveniently one canner load)
5 pounds plums*
2 1/2 c. mild-tasting honey (I chose clover.)
*Weigh plums after they have been sliced and pitted. I used 4 pounds of well-ripened plums and 1 pound of not quite ripe plums. Less ripe fruit contains more pectin than ripened fruit and will help your preserves set. I used large, juicy golden plums.
- Wash, pit, and slice plums.
If your plums are of the clingstone variety, use this technique: slice in quarters around the pit, instead of trying to get the pit cleanly out.
- In a large, heavy pot, add plums and sugar. Stir well.
- Bring to a boil over low heat. Stir often.
- Increase heat to medium-high. Continue to bubble for about one hour. Stir often and check for set. Periodically, skim the stiff froth off the top and discard.
- Test for final set.
Because these are preserves, they will not set as a jam does. You are looking for a good proportion of fruit to wet.
- Pour into hot jars and process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. (See canning ‘how to’s’ here.)
Too many plums? How lucky! Try these other plum recipes.
Here is a nice summer treat for you. If you’re a fan of bold flavors from Molly Moon’s or Jeni’s, you might want to try this little recipe. It’s definitely not vanilla but can fill in wherever you might choose to serve vanilla. The potency and depth of flavor will depend on the qualities of the honey that you choose.
Serve with fresh fruit. (Or just maybe a drizzle of that jam that didn’t quite set.)
Honey Ice Cream
2 cups cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. blackberry honey (or your honey of choice)
1 vanilla bean, split in half
pinch of kosher salt
- Prepare a chilling station. Fill a very large bowl with ice and a little water. Nestle an empty bowl (large enough to hold your ice cream mixture) down in the ice.
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a heavy pot, stirring well to distribute honey. Continue to stir occasionally and heat the mixture over medium high heat until the very first bubble shows. (You don’t want it to boil.) Remove from heat.
- Pour into the empty bowl placed over the ice and chill for about 20 minutes.
- Remove vanilla bean and scrape the inside with the back of a knife. Add this to the mixture and stir around.
- Chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
- Process in your ice cream machine per your machine’s instructions (probably 30-35 minutes.)
Getting your ice cream on? Check out these wonderful books for inspiration:
Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
The Perfect Scoop or the recipes on David Lebovitz’s fantastically entertaining blog