Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Various recipes

Some recipes we followed in the last week or so...

Raspberry Liquor
Excellent to pour over ice cream in the middle of winter, this is something that we make every year, and hope that we make enough to last until the next year's batch is finished. Right now the raspberries are luckily still going pretty strong at the Ballaine hill farm (or rather, Pearl Creek farm), so may be I will make more batches than just the first one of the season that I am making right now. From the great book The Harvest Pantry by Barbara Beckett, which also has a recipe for Gravlaks (salt-cured salmon) that we enjoy, as well as many other recipes.
1 lb raspberries
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c water
4 c flavorless vodka
Boil the sugar and water together for five minutes, let cool. (I am waiting for it to cool...) Crush the raspberries and put into a large jar, then pour the sugar solution over them, as well as the vodka. Wait for two looooooong months (at least two, but obviously this liquor keeps), then strain. (I never strain it, I like the meat of the raspberries too over the ice cream, which is pretty much the only way we eat/drink this raspberry liquor.) Apparently strawberry liquor can be made exactly the same way.

Slow-cooked beef with juniper berries
This is a really great recipe for taking a low-cost cut of meat and making it into an excellent dish. We collect juniper berries for this sole purpose. The book it comes from is Every Night Italian, by Giuliano Hazan. We like this book too, though one major gripe is that it has nowhere a list of the dishes that are actually in the book - in the back, there is an alphabetical index, but to check the veggie recipes in this book, you pretty much have to flip page by page to see what's there. But, there are multiple recipes we use from this book, so the above point is my main gripe. This recipe takes some time (2 hrs), but requires almost nothing to be actually done during that time.
2 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 c yellow onions (I use at least double the amount)
2 lbs beef chuck
1 tsp juniper berries
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
Put the olive oil into a pot, together with the onions, put the meat on top, then add lightly crushed juniper berries and the vinegar and salt and pepper. Wrap the lid with a wet cloth towel. Bring to a boil, then once you hear the contents bubbling, adjust to a very low simmer. Simmer until the meat is extremely tender, about two hours. If all liquid evaporates, add more liquid. We serve this with rice, and it is really excellent.

Simple / Classic Potato Salad
The czech way of making potato salad involves a treasure trove of other ingredients - ideally some ham, cooked eggs, chopped pickles, cooked peas and carrots, onions, mustard, all sorts of things. The other day I was looking for a simpler salad as we did not have all of these ingredients on hand, and came across this NYTimes recipe. It was nice and simple and tasty. And with fewer ingredients, it takes less time to chop things up, which is a definite plus these days. I will definitely be making this classic potato salad again. Here is the link to the article that has the recipe, called Potato Salad Always Welcome, Indoors and Out.
3 pounds potatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped scallions
2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard.
Boil potatoes, add gently solid ingredients, then fold in the mayo and mustard, and season to taste.

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