Frangipane Plum Tart

March 7th, 2012 / Comments 0

In less than two weeks, Charles and I will be on our way to Sicily. We will be there for nearly seven weeks, missing the end of winter ice and snow and the muck of mud season. Because of an unexpected bit of good luck, our house will be rented while we are away. With renters needs in mind, I have been making empty space in cupboards, cabinets and closets. As I sorted through the pantry, I discovered a rock hard block of almond paste from last years trip to Sicily.  (That’s it on the right next to chocolate from Modica.)

allmond paste Frangipane Plum Tart

Rather than throw it away, I decided to use it to make a frangipane tart. Although, I had eaten frangipane tarts I had never made one. I adapted a recipe for frangipane filling that I found on the Internet, and made a tart to share with friends at a cozy dinner party on Friday night. It had a buttery lemon crust and a frangipane filling studded with tiny French plums I had found at the market. Here’s how I did it: … read more

Roasted Pears and a Pear Cake the Vermont Way

February 15th, 2012 / comments 3

golden pear c egbert Roasted Pears and a Pear Cake the Vermont WayWhen I began to paint, my primary subjects were pears. No matter how imperfect my rendering, the shape was distinctive enough that neither Charles, nor my sons, said things like “Nice apple,” or even worse “What’s that?” At the market, I carefully chose each pear for its color or shape; pears were subjects, to be painted, not fruit to be eaten. Those days are gone, now I think that pears are to be eaten, any time of the day. Recently, I stirred pieces of pear into oatmeal for breakfast, made a simple lunch by putting a pear, a chunk of cheese and a piece of crusty bread on a plate, served roasted pears at dinner with sauteed flounder filet, and baked a pear cake studded with walnuts, crystallized ginger and poppy seeds for tea time. Serving whole or sliced pears is effortless, roasting pears is nearly as easy. … read more

2011 Top Ten List & Free Prints

December 26th, 2011 / comments 9

I’m reposting last years list of favorites for a few reasons, first because I’ve been busy working on my first eBook Bread and Crackers that is for sale on  Amazon – Here’s the link.

bread cracker kindle listing cover 190x305 2011 Top Ten List & Free Prints

Second because there are free prints in this post that you can download and print as a little gift from my studio to you; and the third because this is still a list of my favorite things.

This is the time of year for lists, not shopping lists, but lists of virtually everything else – lists of the most important world events, top fashion trends of the year, the biggest storms, the sexiest man, the best movies, the most popular celebrities, the most reviled despots, the biggest disasters, the best selling books, and even a list of  top time-wasters.

tree winter c egbert 2011 Top Ten List & Free Prints

Print Winter Tree

With these lists as inspiration, I’ve compiled my top ten list of food favorites for 2010, and in a nod to Mr. Letterman, they are listed in reverse order of delight. To celebrate the New Year, I’ve created four prints that celebrate the seasons of the year. They can be downloaded and printed by clicking on the links below each image.

#10 Butter Poached Rhubarb – Combining the best of Julia Child, butter, and the best of James Beard, cream, I melted a stick of butter in a skillet, sprinkled in one cup of granulated sugar and cooked it for about five minutes. When the sugar had begun to caramelize and turned a light brown, I added four cups of rhubarb, cut in two inch slices, shook the pan vigorously to coat the rhubarb and cooked it until it was starting to fall apart. I took the pan off the heat, stirred in two tablespoons of dark rum, and transferred the rhubarb to a bowl set in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Topped with List Entry #4, whipped, it made a gorgeous dessert. This would be closer to #1 if fresh rhubarb were available from my garden year round and if this recipe were not loaded with sugar, butter and cream.

#9 Carrots – I’ve been eating lots of carrots this year, in soups, salads, in fritters, cakes and muffins. Organic carrots, scrubbed and slow roasted with salt, pepper and olive oil complement most any meal. Any leftovers can be mashed with a bit of mayo and garlic and spread on toast for lunch or a rustic hors d’oeuvre.
tree spring c egbert 2011 Top Ten List & Free Prints

Print Spring Tree

#8 Cappuccino – Alas, this is one thing on my list that I don’t make in my kitchen; but, the adventure of searching for a café and finding a perfect cappuccino with just the right amount of foamy milk on top merits a place on my list.

#7 Recipe Police – When I wrote about the absence of fish in my pot of chowder I boldly proclaimed that the recipe police would not come to my kitchen to give me a ticket. Little did I know that a Recipe Policeman, in the form of a phone call from an anonymous reader, would phone me and issue a warning that I had neglected to add thyme to the pot. I got away with a warning but I have been careful to add thyme to chowder since then.

#6 Pasta with Raisins and Pine Nuts – So simple, so quick, so delicious! While I waited for the pasta water to come to a boil, I sauteed one clove of garlic in a large frying pan with one tablespoon of unsalted butter and one tablespoon of olive oil. When the garlic had softened but not browned, I added a quarter of a cup of pine nuts. When the nuts where toasted, and the pasta was al dente, I drained the pasta, reserved a quarter of a cup of pasta water, added the pasta, generous handfuls of chopped flat leaf parsley and raisins, and a splash of the pasta water to the pan. I topped the pasta with the mere suggestion of ground cinnamon. Finito!

#5 Chickpea Flour – I discovered that I could make a crisp flatbread by baking in a 450º oven a batter of one cup of chickpea flour, one and a half cups of water and a teaspoon of salt in a cast iron skillet with three tablespoons of oil. Seasoned with salt and a bit of curry powder, an ho-hum soup and toast dinner was transformed into a praise-worthy meal.

tree summer c egbert 2011 Top Ten List & Free Prints

Print Summer Tree

#4 Heavy Cream – My favorite comes from local dairies and is not ultra-pasteurized. I like it on oatmeal with brown sugar, whipped, with no sugar added, as frosting on deep, dark, moist chocolate cake, and as a cold topper for broiled apricots, (a treat I learned from my dear friend Didi).

#3 The Open Air Market in Ortigia, Sicily – Chatting with Angelo Cappucio about fish for dinner, choosing blood oranges, smelling the smoky roasted artichokes, sampling wild strawberries, olives, salami and chocolate from Modica is the best way to figure out “What’s for dinner?”

#2 Making Cheese in Sicily – Near the top of my list is the morning I spent in the cheese shop in Ortigia, making cheese with Andrea Borderi. I was welcomed into the small kitchen in the back of the shop, wrapped in an apron and put to work. I learned how to cut, ladle and knead curds as we made ricotta and mozzarella. I make a simple breakfast of a bowl of ricotta cheese, topped with a drizzle of Vermont honey and slices of orange when I’m wishing I were in Sicily.

tree fall c egbert 2011 Top Ten List & Free Prints

Print Fall Tree

#1 Contact from Friends – I am cheered and delighted when I hear from friends, whether old or new, by email, telephone and even snail mail. It doesn’t matter if the message is lavish praise, a complaint, or a correction – you are there, reading what I write, cooking what I cook, improvising, improving recipes and sharing your discoveries. You bring me joy. Thank you and please stay in touch.

 

Toffee Sticky Pudding comes to a Vermont Kitchen

November 16th, 2011 / comments 3

A recent trip to England reminded me that America and England may have a common language but there are times when we don’t understand each other. I know that a lift is an elevator, a flat is an apartment, and although lorry may be a momentarily confusing term for a truck, those differences are inconsequential, compared to what I found on British dessert menus and in cookery books.

sw c egbert 02 Toffee Sticky Pudding comes to a Vermont Kitchen

There are many desserts, called puddings in Britain, with names that are charming and inscrutable enough to require translation.
Here’s my guide to British Puddings: … read more

Vermont Flood, Friends & Apple Cake

September 7th, 2011 / comments 3

apple basket c egbert1 Vermont Flood, Friends & Apple CakeIt has been a crazy week and a half. When our friends from Washington, DC, Annie and Andre, came to visit, we enjoyed idyllic sunny days, lovely drives on country lanes and wonderful meals made with Vermont vegetables and not much else except for the night that Andre made pasta from scratch. They planned to visit friends on the Connecticut coast and their daughter in Brooklyn on their way home. With warnings about hurricane Irene filling the air, we suggested that they stay with us until the storm had passed but Andre was certain that the storm would “fizzle out”. So, they left Vermont on Friday.

Locust Creek K Fiske Vermont Flood, Friends & Apple Cake

Locust Creek by Kathy Fiske

Saturday was a quiet day – laundry and leftovers. The rain that woke us on Sunday was heavy but not alarming. By noon, friends had moved their computers out of a riverside studio in their house on the bank of the Ottaquechee River. When Charles and I crossed the Quechee covered bridge just after noon, the river was high and roiling but still within its banks. Three hours later, we gathered with friends, neighbors and strangers at the base of the covered bridge and watched in awe as the river pounded everything in its path. Propane filled the air; the river’s fury was stupefying. We lost power in the early evening.

… read more

Peach Pie with Cardamom and Rum

August 31st, 2011 / Comments 0

peach c egbert Peach Pie with Cardamom and RumWe enjoyed the sour cream peach pie as dessert and being true New Englanders, at least where breakfast is concerned, ate the rest of the pie as breakfasts for the next few days, but that one pie didn’t solve the streusel vs. lattice debate. I had to make another pie. Fortunately, the market still had a supply of peaches. The elevated stature of peaches in mythology and folk tales suggested that I make a peach pie of elevated stature. Here’s how I did it: … read more

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