Sunday, June 7, 2015

little pleasures

My Mom and Mor always used a cast iron pan to cook everything, I can always remember them being on the stove.  I don't remember anyone else ever having them in their kitchen.  I can remember thinking that they were so old fashioned.  I did not always like what came out of them, namely liver....yuck I hate liver, I really hate liver, but we had to eat it cause that is what Mommy said.  I can't forget the caterpillars with the Kitchen cut green beans.  I don't remember what the dish was exactly but it looked like caterpillars (I skeeve them) and I don't like fat green beans, so it was a double yuck. 

Those cast iron pans also brought my favorites:  Danish Pancakes and sauteed onions....  Not together.  My Mom and Mor make the most delicious sauteed onions....phew the most delicious.
We called the "black onions" because they were slighty, mostly over sauteed and crunchy and fabulous.  The stuff that makes your stomach growl just thinking of them, oh oh oh.  After they were overcooked to perfection then drained, spread on brown paper bags, then finally put into brown bags and shaken.  You have to get all the grease off of them so they can be crunchy.  Heaven plain and simple, just heaven.

Now that I am older and slightly past grown but by no stretch wiser, I don't think that cast iron is outdated, I marvel at how it helps develop flavors and the flexibility of it's use.  I do tend to borrow Andrew's 15" perfectly seasoned Lodge skillet more often than I use my Staub 11" skillet.  I especially love it for large quantities.

This is my nod to the my Mom and Mor (you have to use fat), wonderfully over sauteed onions.....low and slow to somewhat burnt heaven.

oh my just imagine them on a burger or a perfectly rare NY strip with blackened char that is perfection.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

thistle this thistle that

I am craving artichokes.  Artichokes stuffed with breadcrumbs would be ideal, stuffed with cheese and garlic would not be turned down.  I love artichoke seasons, but I especially like when the giant Globe artichokes are available with their magnificent stems.  It is heaven on earth.  They would be on our table every night of the week.  I think they even taste better when the are made for me.  I don't mean go out for them, I am talking about Andrew making them for me.  The Man makes a mean artichoke.  His artichokes are the best I have ever had and I have had my fair share.  When Luna on Mulberry Street was open, they had the best stuffed artichoke by far.  The old lady that cooked had magic in her fingers.  Mrs. Gallo also made a mean artichoke, her's were stuffed with egg, cheese, and garlic.  They were always tender and perfectly perfect.  Artichokes stuffed with breadcrumbs rock my world.

 I could really, really, really go for one about now.......

There is another thistle you can't forget cardoon, I could really go for some too.  The cardoon is definitely much more work, oh but so, so, so good.  We have been very lucky the past 4 cardoon seasons, they have had bumper crops.   Wegman's has had really good looking produce and the grocer down almost to Red Bank has been spot on.  Each time we have had it in the cart, we invariably meet either an older man or woman, who comments on it, and says the very same thing, "it's a lot of work to make cardone" and then asks how we make it.  Cardoon preparation is a lot more because first you have to wash it, then derib it to get all the chokey strings off, cut it into smaller pieces, and then steam or boil til tender.  That is where I loose steam.  Usually I put it in the fridge for the next day.  I make both a sweet batter and a savory batter, I dip the cardoon in it, and pan fry it til the batter is golden.  I have even breaded and fried the cardoon.  The best part of the cardoon is that it is all edible, well most of it.  It is like a giant artichoke heart, it is awesome. 

Just looking at these wonderful veggies........yummy, yummy....