Radicchio with blue cheese and balsamic vinegar


You hardly need a recipe for this.

Cut the radicchio into wedges and bake them in a 350 degree

When they’re at the right degree of tenderness, sprinkle blue
cheese crumbs and balsamic vinegar on top, and put under broiler
until the cheese melts.

When I make this for myself for a main dish, I use half of a large head of
radicchio and put a layer of rice under the wedges. I like the
radicchip pretty al dente, so I only bake for 15 or 20
minutes. The broil part is only a couple of minutes.

How to use a swap box

The farm share ended last Thursday. I realized that it was
only towards the end of the summer that I was really using the
swap box right.

The swap box is a share box that’s put out so each shareholder can swap one thing that
they don’t want in their share for something they do want. I tend
to pick up my share fairly early, so I have a choice of pretty
much anything in the share; I suspect the people who come later in
the pickup period have fewer options.

What I realized was that there’s more in
the box than I can possibly eat, and I have friends who are
willing to take almost anything off my hands. So the thing to
concentrate on is what’s in the swap box that I want more of —
not what’s in the share that I don’t want any of. If there isn’t
anything that I can imagine using twice what’s in the share, I
don’t swap anything.

But usually there is. I just finished the second radicchio I
took a couple of weeks ago — they keep quite well, so since I
like them, having two instead of one wasn’t a problem. But the
parsley is quite nice, but I doubt that I would have finished two
bunches while they were still nice.

This last week I took a second bunch of mustard greens (leaving
the kale), which
work really well both in salads and with my <a href="http://serpentpublications.org/laymusic/?p=3540"rice and greens
breakfasts. They might wilt enough that you wouldn’t use them in
a salad before I finish them, but they’ll still be fine for cooked

Rosemary Cake

I’ve mentioned this cake a couple of times — it’s my go to
recipe these days when I want to bring baked goods somewhere, or
use up lots of eggs or have fresh rosemary sitting around.

I made it last night for the Recorder Society, and
someone asked for the recipe, so here it is.

Rosemary Cake Recipe

From “An Everlasting Meal” by Tamar Adler, who

adapted it from “Cooking by Hand”, by Paul Bertolli.

  • 8 eggs
  • 1½ cups raw sugar (If you’re someone who always reduces
    the sugar, try it this way anyway — you might like this amount.)
  • 1 cups olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder (this is presumably a typo — I
    use 2 teaspoons.)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Coat a bundt pan first with butter, then with flour, tapping out the
excess flour. (I use a non-stick angel cake pan, and spray oil.)

Beat the eggs for 30 seconds with a handheld beater. Slowly add the
sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is very foamy and
pale. Still mixing, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. (I use the beater
on the highest speed for the preceding steps.)
Using a spatula,
fold in the rosemary. (I use the beater on the slowest speed for all
the following steps.)

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and
salt. Keeping the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients
to the egg mixture. Pour the batter into the bundt pan. (I never
bother with a separate bowl or pre-mixing the dry ingredients.
I just add the small ones, in this case salt and baking powser,
first, and figure they’ll get evenly mixed while I’m mixing in
the flour.)

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The cake is
done when it is golden brown and springs back when touched, or when a
skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool
briefly in the pan and then tip it out onto a rack to continue
cooling. (I don’t bother with the rotating; I use the skewer
method, and it takes my oven a little over an hour to do this.)

This is delicious on its own, or accompanied by freshly whipped
unsweetened cream, or the wonderfully rich, soft Italian cream cheese
called mascarpone. (I’ve always just eaten it on its own.
What people like about it as opposed to other pound-cake style
baked goods is how it isn’t sweet at all.)

Aged Mead

[Thyme Mead]
Thyme Mead bottled on February 14, 1993.

What I was doing earlier today instead of posting was
celebrating the apple harvest at the annual Wort Processors cider party.

There was a lot of good cider, and because of having cleared
out a little storage room to make a guest room, I had come across
some of the stuff I brewed back in the early 90’s. The beer went
down the drain, but I had hopes for some of the meads, so I
brought a few bottles. There was the 1993 Cyser, which won
several awards at club competitions when it was about 10 years
old. There was also the 1991 cyser, which may have been the first
one I made. And there turned out to be a case of 12 ounce bottles
of the thyme mead.

20 years aging does seem to do a lot for a mead — all of them
had developed sherry-like flavor, but still tasted of honey and
the cysers had remnants of apple flavor, although not as much as
they probably did ten years ago.

Electric Pressure Cooker

I mentioned yesterday how convenient my
pressure cooker was for bringing food
somewhere. I realized I haven’t blogged this gadget that I
acquired over a year ago.

It’s one of the really successful cooking gadget purchases I’ve
made recently. It’s called a multi-cooker, which means that in
addition to pressure cooking, it will also slow-cook at low or
high temperature. There’s a button for rice, which runs the
pressure cooker for 6 minutes, which is the right time for most
white rice. I’ve been cooking Basmati white rice on that setting
and it comes out well, although a little stickier than when I use
the same ratio of water to rice on the stove. These days I use
the stove when I’m using the cooker for something else, but
otherwise the cooker is a bit easier, and I like the result just
as well.

This article,
which is otherwise very good advice about pressure cookers,
advises against buying the electric version, on the grounds that
the pressure isn’t as high as the stove-top ones the recipes are
written for, but I haven’t had trouble converting. I think for
someone who’s sometimes doing something else while cooking
(e.g. walking the dog while the breakfast oatmeal cooks), having a
digital timer that will turn the pot to warm when the time is done
is a real convenience.

The controls are a bit confusing at first, but when you get
used to always pushing start after setting a time, it’s pretty
good. You have to check every time whether the “pressure” valve
on the lid is in the position you want, and if you’re pressure
cooking you have to be careful to seat the gasket in the lid
correctly or it won’t reach pressure and all the water will boil

I bought it because my slow cooker had died and I found I
missed it. I ended up getting the one combined with a pressure
cooker because I figured it would make slow-cooked dishes with
beans faster. It does — now when I want to do that I just
pressure cook the beans for 15 minutes first, and then add the
other stuff and slow cook it all. But I’m using this gadget
several times a week, not the once a month or less that I cook


Sorrel Soup

Most people think of Sorrel as a Spring crop, but this year my CSA decided to try
growing it in the Fall as well. I think most of the greens these
days are from the greenhouses, so the exact climate outside
doesn’t matter so much.

I had cream left over from the gettogether,
so I decided to make sorrel soup, although I’m sure it would have
been good in my greens for

So I tore up the sorrel and sliced some potatoes and leeks
thin, and put them in the slow cooker with some cooking liquid.
(In my case, I used a cyser
that had come out too dry to be an enjoyable drink, but still has
good apple flavor. I think just water would work fine, or any
kind of light-flavored broth.)

My slow cooker is also a pressure cooker, which has the
advantage that the lid seals nicely and has a handle on it, so I
took that without packing, and the stick blender, and the cream to
my sister’s house where I was having dinner that night.

When the potatoes were tender, I creamed everything with the
stick blender and added the cream. I tasted it to see if it
needed salt or pepper, and decided it didn’t.

There were three of us at dinner, and everyone had seconds
(there was lots of other food, so they must have liked it).

It reheated well in the microwave for after the band the next
day, and there was a small mug for me the day after that.

Greens for Breakfast

If you’re single and you get a Farm Share, it’s more vegetables
than you can possibly eat. Of course, you use some up by
entertaining more, and bringing vegetables everywhere you go, and
giving some to the people who feed you. But you still end up with
more vegetables than you can eat, and you feel like you should be
eating some at every meal.

I haven’t usually eaten vegetables at breakfast. The rest of
the day I can cheerfully make a meal on a large salad with some
cheese or bacon or something to add a little bit of protein. But
at breakfast, I really want some carbohydrates.

The current farm share includes eggs, so that’s easy to eat at
breakfast, but I find I don’t like just eggs for breakfast, and if
I add toast, it’s pretty easy to go over the amount of calories I

So I have a new standard recipe for when I have greens that want to be
cooked and already cooked rice. This idea came to me when I was
reading Cooking for Geeks, although the current
implementation comes closer to the one in The Microwave
by Barbara Kafka.

Recipe for greens and rice with microwave poached egg

Take a microwave safe pan about 6 inches in diameter. Put a
layer of cooked rice on the bottom.

Cover that with a layer of greens. Any kind that you
liked wilted or really cooked is ok.

Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon over that.

Drizzle olive oil over that.

Put in microwave oven for two to 5 minutes, depending on
whether you want the greens just wilted or more thoroughly

Make a well in the center of the pan, and crack an egg into
it. (You can use more eggs if you like, but you will have to
adjust the timing.) Pierce the yolk with a sharp knife two or
three times.

Microwave on high for three minutes.


You will find you like some greens better than others for this
purpose, but with enough lemon juice and olive oil, anything
tastes pretty good. Arugula is one of my favorites for this.

Barbara Kafka has dire warnings about what happens if you
forget to pierce the egg yolk, but her eggs may be different from
mine, because I forget quite frequently and have only had a small
explosion once.

This is the breakfast version. When I’m making it for later or
for company, I
add herbs and flavorings like hot sauce and tomato paste and
sometimes some cheese.



Drying your extra tomatoes

Some weeks ago, the farm share offered a 25 pound box of
tomatoes for $13, so I took it.

I ate tomato salads, and put tomatoes into everything else I
cooked but there were still lots of tomatoes, and some of them
were starting to get soft.

Of course, you can can them, but that’s always seemed like a
lot of work, so I read recipes for a while and ended up with the
oven dried tomatoes in Mark
Bittman’s How to cook everything

You set the oven to 225̣ (degrees Fahrenheit) and cut the
tomatoes in half and put them on a wire rack over a cookie sheet
and leave them overnight, or until they’re as dry as you want
them. If they aren’t the kind of shoe leather you buy in the
store, you put them in the refrigerator.

I tried using the broiler pan, and that didn’t work as well as
the wire rack, so for the second batch I only used the rack.

So now I have dried tomatoes that I can just chop up a couple
to add tomato flavor to anything I want. They chop easier than
the shoe leather. I added a few to the ratatouille
I made last night, and it was a good idea.