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.

 

Mushroom Pie – Recipe from the ’50s

November 10th, 2011 / Comments 1

V Mushroom 03 Mushroom Pie   Recipe from the 50s
Musroom pie 021 Mushroom Pie   Recipe from the 50s

Bacon In the Aga

October 23rd, 2011 / Comments 0

My friend Char sent a letter along with a couple of photos from her home in Baltimore. I wanted to share it with you.

The unusually wet and humid September brought extraordinary fungal inhabitants to my garden — none of them edible. Most prolific were the freakish, foul-smelling, dog stinkhorns, good only as subjects for a photo or two before they withered. Not that I would trust myself to eat any mushroom that might poke up amongst the yellowing hostas and rambling morning glories. I’m no mycologist, nor have I been schooled in the ways of forest foraging like my friends in Eastern Europe. … read more

Sesame Noodles & Ginger Sauce

July 14th, 2011 / comments 3


adirondack chair l Sesame Noodles & Ginger Sauce

Watercolor painting by Carol Egbert

Saturday, white puffy clouds danced across the cobalt blue sky, the grass was freshly mowed and my Kindle was giving me that ‘come hither’ look. It was a day to make one of my favorite (nearly) no-cook, (almost) zero effort dinners. This dinner has four steps:

  • Determine menu
  • See what’s in the pantry and fridge
  • Go to market for what isn’t
  • Pull dinner together

Charles and I decided to split the tasks. I decided we would have roasted chicken with pink ginger sauce, sesame noodles and a nectarine salad. I found soy sauce, cayenne pepper, vinegar, canola oil, garlic, honey, sesame seeds and sesame oil in the pantry and mayonnaise, sour cream, catsup and pickled ginger in the fridge. Charles went to the market to get a rotisserie cooked chicken, a box of pasta, scallions, fresh ginger and some nectarines. I got lost in my book and snoozed a bit.

When I woke up, I put a large pot of water on the stove over medium heat. In less than half an hour after Charles returned from the market, we sat down to an Asian inspired summer dinner. Here’s how we did it:

… read more

Burmese Orange Salad – Sicilian Serendipity

April 20th, 2011 / comments 6

Ortigia, our island home in Sicily for two months each winter, is filled with unexpected treats. Sitting in the cafe in Piazza Duomo, I saw a bride and groom send balloons, confetti and doves into the air in celebration of their marriage. In front of the Chiesa Ste. Lucia, a puppeteer entertained a crowd, including a curious dog, with a marionette that sang like Frank Sinatra. There are courtyards filled with flowers, ornate iron balconies and pastel motor scooters waiting to be discovered in the narrow lanes. The most unpredictable treats for me have been the friendships we have formed with fellow travelers and the meals we have shared with them.

Me and Soe2 Burmese Orange Salad   Sicilian Serendipity

No need to worry - Soe is in charge.

We met Michelle and her husband Burmese husband, Soe, at the Cafe Minerva. I invited them to sit with us and in less time that it takes to figure out how many c’s there are in cappuccino, Soe and I were talking about food. We finished our coffees and decided to walk to the market together.Michelle and Charles walked together and talked about the challenges of speaking Italian and as I shopped, Soe talked about what he would cook if he had a kitchen in Ortigia. I had a kitchen. He had a menu in mind. We decided to have dinner together. It would be a Burmese dinner with shrimp, orange salad and green beans and Soe would be in charge.

soe onion garlic mintcitrus1 Burmese Orange Salad   Sicilian Serendipity

Red onion, garlic mint & citrus leaves

When Soe and Michelle arrived, he began by trimming and slicing.

soe celery leaveas ginger chili citrus leaves mint Burmese Orange Salad   Sicilian Serendipity

Celery leaves, ginger, red chili, citrus & mint leaves

He cooked like a classically trained French chef. I tried to stay out of his way as I watched him assemble a tray of ingredients for each dish.

We made the savory orange salad first. Here’s how we did it: … read more

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the side dish category at Vermont food from a country kitchen – Carol Egbert.