Rhubarb Heralds Spring – Roasted Rhubarb

May 21st, 2012 / comments 15

Do you still have snow? Is the sap running? Have you seen mergansers on the river?

f rhubarb herald Rhubarb Heralds Spring   Roasted RhubarbThese familiar questions are heard at the post office, the Creamery, the market, and at community dinners in the early spring.

It was a bright morning last April, when I saw pink sprouts pushing up through the cold earth. Within a week, there were pink stems topped with dark green leaves. Rhubarb! It would be the first harvest from my garden. Along with the phoebes that nest in the rafters of the barn, it’s rhubarb that announces the arrival of spring in Vermont. … read more

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.

 

Sour Cream Peach Pie

August 26th, 2011 / Comments 1

Last week, everywhere I went, people were talking about peaches, not just any peaches, but Pennsylvania and New Jersey peaches.peach basket c egbert Sour Cream Peach Pie

Conversations about where the best peaches where grown quickly turned to debates about whether peaches should be baked in a pie, poached in wine, sliced and covered with heavy cream or eaten out of hand. Not only were the peaches welcome for their flavor, they also provided a welcome diversion from the endless conversations about the world economic crisis, presidential candidates, wars and riots. I overheard a debate between two friends about the relative merits of lattice crust or streusel topping on peach pie. All the talk about pies, cobblers and crumbles made me hungry. I stopped at the market and filled a bag with peaches from Pennsylvania, the state where I was raised.

My peach extravaganza began by dropping three peaches into boiling water for a minute, then immersing them in cold water, slipping off the peel and slicing them into two bowls. I added a squeeze of lemon juice and a rounded teaspoon of sugar to each bowl and invited Charles to share a mid-afternoon snack in the garden. Perfection!Time to move onto peach pie. The lattice vs. streusel debate had me thinking. I remembered a recipe for a sour cream apple pie with a streusel topping and decided to adapt it. Here’s how I did it: … read more

Blueberry Muffins

August 4th, 2011 / comments 11

Blueberries are ripe for the picking, and last Sunday was a perfect day to find a pick-your-own blueberry patch.

Vermont+Field Blueberry Muffins

I parked my car, followed the crowd to the table to get a pail and headed through the gate and down the hill. The process is simple, find a spot, pick until the pail is full, have the pail weighed, and pay the farmer. … read more

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