Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The hottest new food trend?

Alright, it took me awhile to get on board with the no-knead bread, and sadly, I was one of the last to start baking with Dorie. But this time, I'm jumping on the bandwagon in record time! I've already made two batches of homemade chicken stock using....wait for it....CHICKEN FEET! Yes, you heard me--FEET! I first read about this venerable but wacky idea on Elise's excellent blog, and then the lovely gal at Just the Right Size had to try and replicate the tasty experiment with great success. So I thought, why don't I give it a whirl, too? But just try to find a source for chicken feet in teeny tiny Plattsburgh, I dare you! I never really thought I would, but I felt certain that my old school butcher in Covey Hill (QC) could hook me up. But even they shook their heads, chuckled, and suggested I try Chinatown the next time I was in Montreal. So I did just that. When we were up there two weekends ago, we hit up an Asian grocery store just around the corner from Jean-Talon, and I got four pounds--enough for two batches--for less than six bucks. Score! We did stop at Le Quartier Chinois later, but that was to grab dinner at a great place called Keung Kee on Rue la Gauchetiere to take home. I chose salt and pepper fried shrimp, General Tso's chicken, and spicy beef and black bean sauce with wide rice noodles. DELISH! But back to the chicken feet...

Making stock is a great project for a lazy Sunday afternoon. There is some initial prep involved, but then you can go away for hours and just let it do its thing--take a nap, watch a movie, spend some quality time with your dogs (or human loved ones, if you insist). It'll make your house smell great, and when it's all over, you'll have the richest, most flavorful stock imaginable, and it will have the most incredible body due to all the collagen in those feet. In fact, when you refrigerate it, it will solidify into chicken Jell-O! But that weird jelly will add an amazing flavor and texture to all of the recipes in which you choose to use it. Ok, brace yourself....I'm going to show you what they look like. No screaming now!

STOP THAT! I said no screaming! Man up, will ya? You sound like a cowardly little girl! I realize that they look like little fingers complete with glamour-length Lee Press-On's (note to self: consider scary Halloween party possibilities). Nevertheless, they are TASTY little fingers! And why should we be any more horrified by using the feet than we are by eating the wings? And you don't even really eat the feet. Well, some Asian folks do, but I'm not yet ready to go that far. After all, I have chickens, and I know where those feet have been and what gets on 'em! Eww! This is why most recipes for chicken feet stock begin with a five minute pre-boil--surely, to rid them of any lingering impurities. Then you drain and rinse them, and at last, begin making the stock in earnest. Here are the instructions from Adele Davis' book, Let's Cook It Right, via Simply Recipes.

Chicken Feet Stock ("...and I don't care!" Sing it!)

2 pounds of chicken feet
2 large carrots, cut in half
1 onion, cut into wedges
2 celery ribs, cut in half
1 bunch of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
10 peppercorns

1 Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Put the chicken feet into a large stock pot and cover with boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes. Use a large metal spoon to skim and discard the scum that rises to the surface.

2 Drain the chicken feet completely. Rinse with cold water so that the feet are cool enough to handle. Using a sharp knife, chop off the tips of the claws and discard (I used kitchen shears for this). They should cut easily if you cut them through the joint. If any rough patches of claw pad remain, cut them away with a pairing knife. (Mine did not have any of these little poultry calluses, thankfully!)

3 Place chicken feet in a clean large stockpot. Fill with cold water to cover the feet by an inch. Add carrots, onions, celery, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer, immediately reduce the temperature to low. Partially cover, leave about a half inch crack or so, and keep the stock cooking at a bare simmer, for 4 hours. Occasionally skim any foam that may come to the surface. Uncover, increase the heat slightly to maintain a low simmer with the pot now uncovered. Continue to cook for an hour or two. At this point you are reducing the stock so that it is easier to store. Strain the stock through several layers of cheesecloth (I used a doubled flour sack towel) or a fine mesh strainer (ideally both) into a pot. Pour into quart-sized jars. Let cool for an hour or so before storing in the refrigerator.

When your stock has cooled, it should firm up nicely into a gel. Makes approximately 2 quarts.
(I made a double batch, but I forgot to cover my pots as the stock reduced, so I only ended up with three, not four, quarts. Oh well. Even more concentrated chicken-y flavor...can't be a bad thing!)

So what did I do with the fabulous result, you ask? Well, first, I made a shortcut version of one of my favorite dishes, chicken and noodles using a rotisserie chicken, some authentic German spaetzle, cream of chicken soup, and the glorious homemade stock. So good! Then last night, I made another dish, largely of my own creation. My idea was to make sausage and cheese ravioli using won ton skins, cook them in the lush stock, and then finish them with a chicken-y Alfredo sauce of sorts. And I must tell you, it worked like a charm and tasted UNBELIEVABLE! I was mostly making it up as I went along, but I will attempt to transcribe a recipe that can be recreated.

Won Ton Ravioli with Chicken Alfredo Sauce
(Makes about 14 large ravioli)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound Italian sausages, casings removed
1/2 large onion, diced
1 small carrot, grated
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried parsley (or fresh, if you have it on hand)
1/2 cup water
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste

26-28 won ton wrappers
egg wash (one egg beaten with a tablespoon of water)
1 quart homemade chicken stock

4 tablespoons butter
1 (to 1 1/2) cups half and half
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saute pan, brown the sausage in the olive oil and butter along with the onion, carrot, mushrooms, and garlic. (I used a pepper sausage this time, but if I had used regular Italian sausage, I would have also chopped up half a red bell pepper to add to my saute.) Add the pepper flakes and parsley, and the half cup of water. Reduce for a few minutes, then turn off the heat. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes (it can be warm, but not hot), then add the ricotta, the parmesan, and the egg. Stir to mix well. Season to taste.

On a work surface, lay out one won ton wrapper, fill with about a tablespoon of the sausage filling, brush around the edges with egg wash, and top with another wrapper. Do a preliminary seal on your work surface, then pick the raviolo up to seal all the way around with more gusto. Reserve on a large sheet pan and continue making the rest of your ravioli. (This would be fun to do with kids...if I had any.)

Rinse out the big saute pan and then add your chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and slide in half of your prepared ravioli. Simmer on one side for three minutes, and then flip each one and simmer on the other side for an additional two minutes. Remove to a plate with a slotted spatula and repeat the process with the rest of the ravioli.

If necessary, you may wish the reduce the remaining stock a bit. (My chicken feet stock was plenty thick when I was done simmering all the ravioli, and of course, the flour on the won ton skins helps.) In the thickened remaining stock, melt four tablespoons butter, then add the half-n-half, the parmesan cheese, and the garlic powder. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Simmer until the cheese melts, whisking until the sauce is smooth and has thickened. Plate the ravioli, top with a generous amount of sauce, and garnish with more shredded parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley. A-mazing!

This picture doesn't really do the dish justice. It just looks...all...beige. But trust me--the taste is truly wonderful! Cyd said that it should go on my menu (that is, the imaginary menu of the hypothetical cafe' that I don't even own...yet!). Still, it's a winner. Try it.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Simply Delicious Brunch

I was all kinds of lazy on Saturday, recuperating from an EXTREMELY difficult week at school (not bad, just insanely busy). And I don't mind telling you that I spent the better part of my day dozing off and on to the soft, soporific drone of the Food Network. At some point, I woke up to that vivacious Latina with the inexplicably Germanic name...Ingrid Hoffman of Simply Delicioso. I haven't seen the show enough to have much of an opinion of her. However, she seems evidence of the latest Food Network trend to only employ and televise "chefs" that look like supermodels. Plus, I have seen her hawking Tostitos cheese sauce on the regular networks, and if that doesn't scream SELL OUT, I don't know what does! (And you thought RR and Dunkin' Donuts was bad!)

All of my suspicions of Ms. Hoffman aside, on the program Saturday, she made a tapas menu that included a delectable-looking Spanish tortilla. No, not tortilla tortillas--rather, the big, oven-baked Spanish version of an omelette (more like an Italian fritatta) filled with sliced potatoes. One glance, and I knew it must be mine....oh yes, it must. It was not a difficult recipe per se, but you have to fuss with it a lot: into the pan, out of the pan, back in the pan, flipped out and then back in the pan--and from stovetop back to stovetop to oven and back to the oven again. Despite my trepidations about undercooked potatoes or losing the tortilla on the big flip, it turned out perfectly! We shamelessly ate two slices apiece along with the excellent sausages that we got a couple of weeks ago at Conroy's Organics. Cyd also enjoyed her brunch with some little Campari tomatoes from the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal. It's nowhere near in full swing yet--the outside vendors/stalls aren't even set up. But it was so nice last weekend that we had to go see what, if anything, they had to offer. Of course, these aren't the magical tomatoes of late summer/early fall, but until that blessed, fleeting time, greenhouse-grown Camparis will surely tide a person over. And they go great with a Spanish tortilla!

Simple Spanish Tortilla
(Source: Ingrid Hoffman,
Simply Delicioso)

1/2 cup olive oil
4 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/8-inch thick, see Cook's Note*
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
6 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnishing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and add the potato slices a few at a time so they don't stick together. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and the onions are golden but not brown, about 10 minutes. Place a strainer over a bowl in your sink and transfer the potatoes and onions to drain; reserve the oil.

Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Drain excess oil off of the potato mixture. Add the potatoes and onions to the egg mixture and combine until they are completely mixed in. Set the bowl aside for about 15 minutes to let the potatoes release some of their starches into the eggs.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the reserved olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high for 1 minute. Add the egg-potato mixture, rotating the skillet in a circular motion to distribute it evenly. Lower the heat to medium-low and shake the pan a few times to prevent sticking (by shaking the pan, you ensure that the eggs and potatoes release from the pan bottom). Cook the tortilla for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes on the bottom start to turn golden brown. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until almost set. Remove from the oven and place a large flat plate on top of the skillet and invert the skillet. The tortilla should come right out. Add a tablespoon of the reserved olive oil to the skillet and slide the tortilla back in to cook the other side until it is golden-brown, about 5 minutes.

Turn the heat off and set the skillet aside until the tortilla cools to room temperature. Transfer the tortilla to a plate sprinkle with parsley and serve at room temperature cut into triangles or squares.

*Cook's Note: The Yukon potatoes should be sliced using a mandolin.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Happy (2nd) Easter!

I bet you thought we were done with Passover and Easter last month? Well, that's true, if you celebrate with the traditional Protestant holiday calendar. But of course, for our Jewish friends, Passover was last week and ended yesterday. As a special treat for my friend, Rosanne, in Miami, in celebration of Passover AND her 60th birthday, I sent a little care package down south. In it was a batch of super-fabulous Matzoh Toffee: matzoh crackers on the bottom baked with a coating of brown sugar toffee, topped with chocolate, and sliced almonds. YUM! Of course, to make it appropriate for Passover, I would have to use margarine instead of butter, but....eww! And Rosanne doesn't follow the strict dietary laws anyway, so I wantonly used butter and warned her not to share with anyone eating only pareve foods (no meat or dairy) during Passover.

Matzoh Toffee
(Source: Marcy Goldman of Better Baking, via
David Lebovitz)

4 to 6 sheets unsalted matzohs (I used lightly salted ones and skipped the sea salt below)
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
big pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I prefer Guittard bittersweet--up to 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup toasted sliced almonds (or nut of your choice)

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet (approximately 11 x 17", 28 x 42cm) completely with foil, making sure the foil goes up and over the edges. Cover the foil with a sheet of parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
2. Line the bottom of the sheet with matzoh, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.
3. In a 3-4 quart (3-4l) heavy duty saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over matzoh, spreading with a heatproof spatula.
4. Put the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 350F degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up but make sure it's not burning every once in a while. If it is in spots, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 325F, then replace the pan.
5. Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread with an offset spatula.
6. If you wish, sprinkle with toasted almonds (or another favorite nut, toasted and coarsely-chopped), a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, or roasted cocoa nibs.

Let cool completely, the break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. It should keep well for about one week (if it lasts that long!).

Then right after the Jewish Passover concludes, it's Easter in the many Orthodox churches. My friend Janice, of Middle Eastern descent (Syrian, I believe), celebrates Orthodox Easter, and every year, she invites all of her friends and family over for a huge, Mediterranean potluck that is truly over the top and to die for! There's always WAY too much food, and she never lets anyone leave empty-handed. Nevertheless, I decided to take a contribution to the party this year. A quick Google search revealed that one traditional dish served for Pascha (Easter) is a soft cheese spread normally made from draining farmer's cheese overnight, then mixing in various tasty additions before chilling it in a pyramid-shaped mold. The cheese is then eaten with Pascha bread, usually something eggy and sweet along the lines of challah or other rich Easter breads. However, since I decided two hours before I left for the party to make something, I used a simpler, cream cheese-based recipe that I found online. And because I abhor raisins, my twist was to make a version with dried cherries and almonds. It was pretty yummy, if I do say so myself. However, our dear host Janice was unfamiliar with it. Another friend of ours in attendance, Marta, who has a Ukranian background if memory serves, did recognize it from her childhood. So I'm guessing it's more an Eastern European tradition and not Mediterranean. Nevertheless, we were quite happy to eat it on top of mini-pitas, which made for an interesting and delicious intersection of culinary cultures!

Cream Cheese Paskha
(Source: adapted from Food for Paradise via
Elizabeth's Vegetarian Kitchen)

1 pound softened cream cheese
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
2/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (I also added a dash of almond extract)
golden raisins (optional--I used dried sour cherries instead)
slivered almonds (optional--I used toasted/sliced/blanched almonds)

Cream the cheese, butter, and sour cream until very smooth. Add sugar and vanilla. Next stir in the raisins and almonds in desired quantities (I halved the whole recipe, and I probably used at least a half cup each of the cherries and almonds). Chill well to firm the mixture. Spoon into bowls and decorate the top as desired. This will keep for about a week, covered, in the fridge. It is delicious as a spread on Pascha bread or bagels.

Monday, April 21, 2008

You've got what will you do with it?

So you've been to the maple breakfast, eaten your weight in pancakes, and bought a jug or two of that sweet, amber goodness on your way out the door. Now what are you going to do with it? Of course, there are endless tasty things to do with real, local, fresh maple syrup, from sweet to savory applications. But it might be nice to start off enjoying it straight up, the way the Good Lord intended us to eat it...on WAFFLES! I have had waffles on the brain for some time, but I was haunted by the memory of the ethereal ones at Amy Ruth's in Harlem. Nothing could ever live up to those! So I was forlorn. (Sidebar: When will the good people of Amy Ruth's put out their own cookbook? It's high time, I say!) Then, to my great surprise and delight, I stumbled upon their recipe for chicken and waffles in a Today Show archive (apparently chef Carl Redding was on the show a couple of years ago, demonstrating his techniques for Al Roker). Lucky, lucky me! It was definitely worth busting out the Belgian waffler. The waffles were light and crisp, and when slathered in melted butter and warm maple syrup--what more could you need? Fried chicken, that's what!

I know it sounds like an odd combination if you've never tried it, but it's heavenly. Think of it as a cousin to honey-dipped fried chicken--same principle. And who doesn't love that salty-sweet thing? Though I've never had much luck making fried chicken at home, their recipe is a simple as it gets and really quite delicious. I always thought you had to abide by the traditional triple-dunk method (flour then egg then flour again, or another coating of your choice). But this one only coats in flour once, and that's it. And you'd think they'd marinate the chicken ahead of time or some other fancy maneuver, but no. They just season it well, flour, and fry. As basic as can be, and it's remarkably good. (However, I am considering trying a buttermilk soak overnight next time just for shiggles.) In any case, this sweet and savory meal gets a very enthusiastic thumbs-up from me--and it's perfect for everyone's favorite meal, BRINNER! Do give it a try before the weather changes for good and lighter fare prevails. Plus, you've got to use up that maple syrup you just bought, right?

Amy Ruth's Waffles
(Source: Carl Redding, via The Today Show)

6 eggs, room temperature and separated
4 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons sugar
3 cups milk
16 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and cooled

Beat egg whites in a small bowl until stiff and set aside. Mix together dry ingredients and set aside. Combine egg yolk, milk and melted butter. Add to dry ingredients, mixing until just blended. Fold in beaten egg whites until just mixed. Do not over-beat batter. Pour 2 cups waffle batter onto waffle iron. Bake 2-1/2 minutes at 250ºF (may vary depending on waffle iron). Plate and garnish with butter and maple syrup, or fruit topping, nuts, whipped cream or powdered sugar.

*Note: I halved this recipe, and it still made a LOT of waffles! But you can always freeze the extras and then crisp them back up in your toaster for breakfast. Presto, homemade Eggos!

Southern Fried Chicken
(Source: Carl Redding via
The Today Show)
6 servings (yeah, right! try 2-4)

3 cups vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
3-1/2 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat until hot (350º F). Season chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. Dredge each chicken part in flour. Be sure the oil has reached the ideal temperature of 350ºF. Fry chicken 15 minutes until golden brown (turning occasionally). Remove chicken parts from hot oil and let it drain well on paper towels. Serve hot.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Coming out of hibernation...

I begin, as I often do, with an apology. I have been remiss in blogging for two weeks--SHEESH! After the onslaught of midterms, I was in Orlando for nearly a week for the annual PBGV National (dog show and conference). Don't be jealous--the weather there was awful. It was dreadfully hot and muggy the first few days, and then they had torrential downpours after that. I was actually pleased to come home to nicer weather. When I left, there was still snow on the ground, but when I got back to Burlington (VT), I actually sat outside in the sunshine--without a sweater, mind you--waiting for my ride home from the airport. We have had 60-degree days since, and darn near got to 70 one day last week! Nevertheless, I managed to contract a nasty virus and have been battling a severe cold for four or five days now. All of this to say, I haven't had much to blog about, culinarily-speaking.

However, I wasn't going to let some nagging pestilence keep me from one of my favorite annual outings to the maple pancake breakfast at Sanger's Sugar House. It's held one weekend in April during the peak of sugaring season as the main fund raiser for a local square dancing group. It's $6.50 for all-you-can-eat pancakes and warm, fresh maple syrup, with sausages, applesauce, and either white or chocolate milk. Extra sausage will cost you 50 cents (for two) and an extra milk is a quarter (we opt for both!). It's funny, because even though it's the quintessential spring-welcoming event, it always feels like fall. Everyone bundles up to stand in line to get into a large tent lined with hay and made extra-cozy from big, portable heat-blowers. Then some kindly menfolk cook you up some grub, while the women and children run around, dishing up seconds when you're ready for them. Now that's my idea of a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday!
After our pancake brunch, it was so nice to be out of the house, that we decided to continue to shake off our cabin fever with a little road trip north to some of our favorite Canadian haunts. But first, we stopped stateside at Conroy's Organics to pick up some of their own ground beef and the first greens of the season (greenhouse-grown, but still fresh and local!), then to Giroux's Poultry Farm for a flat of eggs, and then to the new bakery in Chazy for a huge loaf of bread. Finally, we headed across the border to the German butcher (Charcuterie/Metzgerei Frick) in Lacolle for their homemade sausages; we chose some called Oktoberfest, some Garlic Polish, and some Swiss that had beautiful black casings and Emmenthaler cheese inside. We also picked up a pint of homemade sauerkraut and a bag of imported spaetzle. I feel a German dinner coming on...

From Lacolle, we headed east to Noyan to our favorite cheesemaker, Fritz Kaiser. And boy, were we surprised! The last time we were there, they were selling cheese out of a carport-type structure, and now they have a big, fancy new building! And despite the early season, it was packed with tourists visiting stop #11 on the Circuit du Paysan. We bought a number of different cheeses, including: Noyan, Port Royal, St-Paulin (semi-soft), Clos St-Ambroise (beer-washed), Cristalia (with garlic and parsley), and Le Douanier (a Canadian Grand Champion cheese transversed by a gorgeous ribbon of bleu).

Finally, we headed west back towards Hemmingford and stopped at our faithful butcher (Abbatoir Viau) in Covey Hill for some bacon, ham, and smoked meat (that's a Canadian version of pastrami to the uninitiated), all smoked on the premises. At last, depleted of funds and the will to make any more stops, we transported our tasty bounty back over the border. When we got home, Cyd unloaded the car and put everything away while I mucked out the long-neglected chicken coop (now that you can get back there without having to skate on a vast and treacherous sheet of ice!). Then I had just enough time for a quick shower before heading into town to perform in the Champlain Valley Oratorio Society's spring concert, The Great American Songbook, featuring the works of Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, and Irving Berlin. Now that was great fun! In fact, so much so, that I hope we do a "Part II" in Spring '09.

So all in all, an excellent, most delicious day, and a fitting welcome to the new season!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sugar Shack Feast (Le Banquet de la Cabane à Sucre)

(Photo credit: Doug van Kampen, aka The Wooden Shoes on Flickr)

I have no idea what possesses me to do these things, but instead of completing the other million chores that needed to be attended to this weekend, I spent all day in the kitchen on Saturday preparing a feast to celebrate the high maple season. That's right, kiddies, the steam is up in these parts, and with our cold nights and sunny days, it should be a fine year for it! In fact, on the drive home tonight, one of the maple houses that we pass was completely packed out with cars; they were still sugaring at 9pm on a school night! I love it. And my favorite maple season tradition, the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at Sanger's Maple House in Ingraham, is the weekend after next (April 12-13). In the meantime, I took inspiration from--once again--An Endless Banquet for a fantastic, maple-based, sugar shack feast! I made a rather fancy tourtiere (Quebecois meat pie), homemade feves au lard (baked beans), the traditional and ubiquitous condiment, fruit ketchup, to go with both, and some fresh cole slaw dressed with a sweet vinaigrette. And to top it all off, I baked an apple crisp and churned up some maple frappe (ice cream) to make it fabulously a la mode! So good! (I even shared my leftovers with the French teacher at school. I'll hope I'll receive high marks!) Alas, I didn't take any pictures of the food, but I have lots of recipes for you if you want to celebrate the maple sugaring season yourself in a similarly grand fashion.

(Photo credit: a fabulous photographer of kitschy and retro pop culture named Julia Miller on Flickr)

Tourtière de Ville (Quebecois Meat Pie)
(Source: adapted from An Endless Banquet)

1 pie dough recipe (your favorite)
1 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal (I used ground beef)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon butter
1 small potato, grated
1 small pinch ground cloves (I omitted the cloves, but added one tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce)
1 small pinch ground cinnamon
1 small pinch ground nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot, sweat the onions and the garlic in the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until the liquid released by the vegetables has evaporated. Add the white wine and continue cooking until the wine has evaporated as well. Add the ground pork, the ground veal (or beef), and the spices to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring to break up the chunks of meat. Add the grated potato and cook for another 10 minutes. Correct the seasoning, remove from the heat, and allow the mixture to cool.

Preheat your oven to 450º F. Roll out the pie dough and line a pie plate with half of it. Fill this with the ground meat mixture. Cover with the top half of the pie crust, brush it with the egg yolk, and poke or cut some holes in the top crust to allow the steam to escape during cooking. Bake the pie in the oven for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350º F and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Serve with ketchup aux fruits.

Ketchup aux Fruits (Winter Version)
(Source: An Endless Banquet)

1 28-oz can of whole tomatoes & their liquid
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup maple syrup (preferably, Grade B)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 pinch of ground cloves (I omitted this, personal preference)
1 small pinch cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a saucepan, bring the whole tomatoes, the onion, the garlic, and the celery to a boil and then simmer them gently for about 15-20 minutes, and gently break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat and using an immersion blender or a conventional blender, blend half the mixture, then return it to the saucepan. Add the apples, the maple syrup, the vinegar and the spices and simmer for another 30-45 minutes.

Fèves au Lard (Baked Beans)
(Source: An Endless Banquet and A Taste of Quebec)

1 pound dried navy beans
1/4 pound salt pork (I used bacon and also a medium onion, diced)
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar (preferably, dark)
1/4 cup maple syrup (preferably, Grade B)

2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soak beans overnight in a large pot. Drain. Put soaked beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a simmer, then turn down to medium and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Drain beans, reserving the cooking liquid, and transfer them to a large bean pot or casserole. (I made mine in a crock pot—on high for about five hours, and then low for a couple more hours. But the traditional oven method follows.)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place salt pork in a small pot, add water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Drain the pork and add to the beans. (I just chopped the bacon and browned the pieces instead along with a diced onion.) In a small bowl, dissolve mustard in a teaspoon of warm water. Add dissolved mustard, molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup and bourbon (if using) to beans. Season with pepper and mix gently but thoroughly.

Pour enough of the warm reserved cooking liquid (about 1 1/2 cups) into the bean pot so that the beans are moist but not floating. Reserve the remaining cooking liquid. Cover pot and bake, checking occasionally to ensure that beans are not drying out, adding reserved cooking liquid as needed. Cook until beans are soft and the bean liquor has turned rich and hearty. This will take 5 hours, or so, although we recommend baking them for 7-8 hours if at all possible. The beans will be that much tastier; your house will be that much more aromatic.

Remove cover, gently stir beans, and return to oven. Bake uncovered until cooking liquid thickens into a sauce. Season to taste with salt (you'll need very little salt as the salt pork will have provided the beans with plenty of salty flavor). Serve with a crusty loaf of bread, ketchup aux fruits, and a salad or coleslaw.

--adapted from John Thorne's "Down-East Baked Beans" as found in Serious Pig (1996) and Saveur Cooks Authentic American (1998)

Salade De Chou
(Source: adapted from A Taste of Quebec via One Whole Clove)

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 large head of cabbage, shredded (I prefer Savoy—it’s milder)
2 carrots, peeled and grated1 medium onion, minced

In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together sugar, oil, vinegar, mustard, celery seed and salt. Bring to a boil, turn off heat and let mixture cool slightly. In a large bowl, mix together cabbage, carrots and onions. Pour the cooled sauce over the vegetables, mixing the liquid to incorporate all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. This salad can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week. Serves 8.

Maple Frappe
(Source: An Endless Banquet)

3 eggs beaten until creamy, 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup (I like amber here), 1/2 can of condensed milk, 1/2 can of evaporated milk, 1 cup of heavy cream whipped to soft peaks, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix together and freeze in an ice-cream freezer then “ripen” for a few hours in the freezer until firm. This makes a generous quart of frappe that by itself is pure nectar, but atop warm apple pie is a delicacy that must be tasted to be believed. (I served it with an apple crisp instead.)