Monday, September 19, 2011

Summer is late, my heart.

summer is late, my heart (#267)

"Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that’s late,
it is my song that’s flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it’s done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles

bread and butter pickles (#246)

In all of my trips to the Carbondale Farmer's Market I've been intrigued by the tiny baby cucumbers. I finally went ahead and bought a couple of them last weekend for my first foray into pickling. I wanted to stick with refrigerator pickles, because I still haven't found my metal strainer for the hot water bath canning. Whoops.

I was about to start cutting up the cucumbers when my mother requested Bread and Butter pickles instead of Dill. So to please my mother I made a trip to the grocery store for a few other spices.

Bread and Butter Pickles 
from Brown Eyed Baker

 Yield: About 4 cups of pickles

 5½ cups (about 1½ pounds) thinly sliced pickling cucumbers*
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup white vinegar
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1½ teaspoons mustard seeds
½ teaspoon celery seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric

 1. Combine cucumbers and salt in a large, shallow bowl; cover and chill 1½ hours. Move cucumbers into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Drain well, and return cucumbers to bowl. Add onion to the bowl and toss with the cucumbers.

 2. Combine the granulated sugar, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds and ground turmeric in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

 * I had significantly less cucumbers than this. Rather than attempting to adjust the rest of the liquid ratio, I just made the full liquid mixture and ended up with more liquid than pickles. Still tasted awesome.

Roasted Red Pepper, Onion, Bacon and Cheese Tart

roasted red pepper, onion, bacon, and cheese quiche (#249)

Last week, I made this amazing Onion, Cheese and Bacon Tart. Tonight we had some red peppers going bad in the fridge and some extra bacon. So the stage was set for a reprise. Sadly, by the time I got back to the house I realized that I had used the last pre-made pie crust, and I file making pie crust on a weeknight on the list of kitchen tasks not worth the effort.

So I went ahead a used a spare puff pastry shell I had in the freezer. Delicious. Highly recommend.

But what really makes this recipe amazing is the bacon, and then cooking the onion and red pepper in the bacon grease with some sugar. Amazing things happen to onions sauteed in bacon grease. Try it. For me it's a struggle not to sit down and eat the onions, peppers and bacon hot out of the oil.

Roasted Red Pepper, Onion, Bacon and Cheese Tart
Adapted from Epicurious

3 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
Pinch of sugar
1 cup half and half or heavy cream or some combination of both
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Generous pinch of salt
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (packed) coarsely grated cheddar cheese
1 pie crust or puff pastry

(If using pie crust, either home made or store-bought, roll out dough, and arrange in tart or pie plate. Poke holes in the the crust and par-bake for 10 minutes @ 400 degrees. If using puff pastry, thaw, arrange in tart or pie plate and poke holes in the crust. No need to par-bake.)

Sauté bacon in medium skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.

Add onion and pinch of sugar to drippings in skillet. After a few minutes add the red pepper and sauté until onion is deep golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Whisk cream, egg, egg yolk, pepper, salt, and nutmeg in small bowl to blend.

Spread onion over bottom of baked crust; sprinkle bacon over, then cheese. Pour cream mixture over.

Bake until tart is puffed and filling is set, about 25 minutes. Cool tart on rack 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.