You say “kalpudding”, I say “meatloaf”

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The New York Times is always good for reporting on current outrages coming out of Washington DC and at the same time, making soothing “there, there” sounds disguised as a recipe page.  Sam Sifton’s relatable recipe for a caramelized cabbage and pork “pudding” caught my eye, if only because it calls for lingonberry jam at the end and I happen to have a small , sample sized jar in the pantry, left over from my “Try the World” subscription boxes of last year…IMG_8715IMG_1641

Such a simple and homey feeling recipe comprised of ( you guessed it) cabbage, ground pork, bread crumbs, some onions and cream. Start by shredding the cabbage and sautéing in butter and a bit of either brown sugar or corn syrup and molasses. I mean a tiny bit. As the author notes, we should not be eating that much sugar anyway. He recommends cooking it until almost “tantalizingly burnt”. ( Italics by the author)

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The recipe also calls for soy sauce and because my inventory of soy sauce is limited to the packets from take out Chinese food from HongKong Island and said inventory was in a current state of depletion, I used this Umami paste from Trader Joe’s. It did the trick.

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Remove one third of the cabbage to a bowl with about a cup of bread crumbs, a pound of ground pork, a diced onion, salt and pepper.  Mix them thoroughly by hand. Then add about 3/4 cup of heavy cream. Add a little at a time, you don’t want the mixture sopping wet, just moist like a meatloaf mix and there’s no egg or cheese to bind this. Butter a loaf pan and lay the mixture in it, pressing it down so there are no gaps in the mix. Top the mix with the remainder of the cabbage. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.  Serve with buttered fingerling potatoes and lingonberry jam.

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I also think this would be good sliced and served with a fried egg on top, but I’ll have to experiment to make sure. The jam offsets the cabbage nicely though. With about 20″ of snow expected this week, this was a great dish to have for dinner one snowy nite!

Do not drop hot caramel on your foot….

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I have made an orchard of apple pies in my time, but never a tarte tatin, the patisserie classic beloved by the French and served at the drop of a hat in every cafe and bistrot in the country and quite a few others…

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I had some miserable looking apples in the refrigerator drawer that kept winking at me trying to get my attention, so I finally took them out, and gave them a peel. Unlike apple pie, tarte tatin uses wedges not slices of apple. Aha, but the apples were the easy part.

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Start by putting about a cup of sugar into a hot cast iron skillet (Note: you MUST for safety, use a heavy pan like cast iron…) Once it reaches molten lava stage,  add little bits of butter and whisk constantly. The butter will foam, hence another reason for a heavy pot. Keep whisking…Add some Sel de Mer, aka sea salt, but the kind that comes in flakes like that from Brittany or Normandy. Keep whisking….

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Keep whisking….

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When the butter and sugar looks like caramel, place the apple wedges in even circles and cover with pastry crust. I used the single piece of puff pastry dough that was hanging out in the fridge, not far from the apple neighborhood. Bake in a 400° oven until brown and pastry is cooked through….IMG_0103

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Ok here is where I recommend you put your shoes on because this is when it gets dicey. Unlike pie that comes out of the oven right side up, you have to FLIP the tarte tatin over! I used the pie pan that I normally bake pie in. And I recommend flipping it over the sink to avoid a tragedy. And you will need hot mitts.

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Just look at that caramel! Top with your favorite of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or cheese….

It’s Barramundi Nite….

Of course sung to the tune of ” Ta Rah Rah Boom De Aye”….

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If you’ve been with Cashmere Tea for a while, you know about my affection for Barramundi, the sustainable sea bass from the waters near Australia, although the distance sort of negates the sustainability. Anyway, it’s sold at Market Basket and Friday nite, I tried out my newest twist on it courtesy of Pinterest.

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All you need are fresh tomatoes, olive oil, some basil, garlic and salt and pepper. You need white beans, fish and butter too!  Start out by cutting tomatoes into nickel size pieces, or cherry tomatoes in half. Marinate them and the white beans in olive oil, garlic, and basil. They only need about an hour. Then toss everything in a hot skillet and move it around. The tomatoes will pop and sizzle and that’s ok. They should break down a little.

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Now here’s where I went off course. I did not move everything out of the pan to put the fish in. I just moved things off to the side and made room. I nestled the barramundi right in the pan and gave it about 4 minutes on each side.

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At the end, just add a big knob of butter and let it melt down and stir gently. Remove the fish to a platter and add the beans and tomatoes on top. I added some sunflower sprouts for some crunch.

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This was totally delicious! Very sunny and Mediterranean tasting and dead easy to make. Because of the beans, you don’t even need a potato or rice on the plate. Ok? All together now….”It’s barramundi nite, it’s barramundi nite..” Come on , you know the words.

Long live the PIGLET!

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Just a reminder to join in a little bracketology of the culinary kind this March. From Food52 the annual bracket and jousting of cookbooks in America. So much more fun and allows you to live vicariously through the reviewers. Add them to your Amazon list in case you need a quick gift for a cooking friend or for yourself. Sometimes new inspiration comes in a cookbook…Check it out on Food52.com and look for the Piglet link. Viva La Pig!

Mardi Gras is late this year…

Mostly because I forgot about this “killah” recipe that the Hubs made a couple of weeks ago. He found it on America’s Test Kitchen on PBS one Saturday and set about making it the next nite. You can read the recipe, but it wasn’t very complicated and Hubs easily found the cajun seasoning mentioned at the local market. Or you can make your own . The sauce if terrific and it was not take your breath away hot. Just a mild cajun taste to remind you of NOLA!

Tiny Tarte

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I knew I bought those ring molds in Paris for a reason! Saw this easy peasy clip of a tiny taste that can be whipped up in about 20 minutes as an add on for salad, or a more substantial appetizer.

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Peel and slice 2 small onions and sauce in butter with any fresh herb you might happen to have. I used the tarragon I had left from a previous recipe. You also need to add about 1/4 tsp of sugar and let the onions really caramelize in the pan. Move them so they don’t stick.

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Roll out a premade pie dough sheet or puff pastry sheet ( shown here) and use either a ring mold or round cookie cutter to cut the bottom and tops.

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Leave the ring mold in place and add the sautéed onions and the tiniest bit of shredded cheese end of your choice like gruyere or swiss. Top with the second disk of dough and remove the ring mold.

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Brush the top with egg wash and bake in a 400° oven for about 20 minutes or until the top crust browns nicely. The onions will mostly stay inside, but are easily coached back into place with a fork. Use a spatula to slide off the baking tray and place on plate or salad the has been pre dressed!

 

Currently Crushing…

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I thought I had a really short list this month, but then I remembered a few things! First up the new forever stamps honoring the designer Oscar de la Renta! HUGE stamps, but they are good forever and really are suitable for framing! So pretty. Thanks to my bestie L for discovering!

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I know last month I gave a crush worthy notation to Eucerin skin calming lotion, but when I slammed through that bottle, I tried this rich and equally satisfying one from Aveeno. It was suggested by Cooking Light in the February issue, and easily found in drugstores and mass retailers. Yogurt like in consistency, but goes on light and not greasy….wonder what I’ll try next month?

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It’s March Madness at McDonalds this month as they expand on the limited edition of the ever popular shamrock shake. What they have so wonderfully discovered is that if you pair it with the chocolate shake you get a Girl Scout Thin Mint, Andes After Dinner Mint type of experience….I have not braved the chocolate chip one yet, but the month is young…

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My day book was running out of space for notes, appointments etc, so I treated myself to a new one from Rifle Paper. I’m nuts for the design of mermaids and octopi and whales…I want to live under the sea with them. In fact I love the design so much that I bought a matching piece of wrapping paper to frame for perpetuity…

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This just in…literally. Supposedly went on store shelves on Wednesday, but the Hubs had to go to a couple of places to find it. After all it’s still cold in New England, but warmer southern states might be more into rosé right now than we are. Haven’t taken it for a warm up ride yet, but once I do, I’ll report back for it’s suitability to join the rosé all day club that I belong to. Membership is usually aligned with golf season here in the higher elevations, or Tax Day to Columbus Day if it’s easier to remember!

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Lastly, I’m a big listener of podcasts and “Missing Richard Simmons” is my “Serial” replacement for this spring. Do you know Richard Simmons has not been seen since 2014? No one’s talking…Dan Taberski, a one time friend and reporter takes us into the story. Can’t miss listening. Available on Stitcher…

 

 

No excuses….

Like all writers, I have been bitten by a little bit of writers block, including having to get up from my laptop to even remember the term “writers block”. It’s not that I don’t love ya, just not feeling especially inspired at this time of year. Looking forward to warmer days and nites, my garden and more. I’ve also been doing a bit of painting with my online class, a little cooking, but really nothing new and of course, looking for gainful employment that won’t make me break out.

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Oh, and the Hubs and I built this closet system in my dressing room. Took us the whole holiday weekend. I have gathered up the clutter from the floor and installed some new hooks, so things are looking much better. Two bags of clothes to donation, and I think I can say I have officially decluttered my entire house!

So stay tuned for this and that and some new posts coming soon. Oh and if you were wondering what I made out of all the clementines, I brushed them with brown sugar and broiled them and then used them in salads! Great with goat cheese, spring onions, and mixed greens.

Turning the Pages….

You may have noticed some new links on my homepage for cashmeretea. I’m adding some features for existing and up and coming options that will make it easier to find some new things.

First, I have created links to my India Hicks business.

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You can watch and learn here!

Connected to royalty and living on an out island in the Bahamas, India is smart and funny and has created a great business model for women, of which I am a part. Her designs are contemporary and sophisticated with a bit of whimsy mixed in. You can shop from the link and you can reach out to me on comments if you’d like to learn more about joining me in the business with India!

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Then I have added a page called “Paint me a Picture” that I’m going to use to convey my new creative endeavor or painting in oils from an online class taught by the artist Dreama Tolle Perry. You can read about her here. She’s so talented! Oh my gosh, the colors!

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Then I have two more pages, one called “Por Deux” or “for two” that showcases pictures that I have taken of two glasses or cups or sometimes meals when the Hubs and I have been traveling. The second is called “Look Up” and is a record of photos, mostly of religious statues, from my travels. In our secular America, it is unusual to see holy figures outside of the grounds of churches and temples, however in Europe, they appear everywhere and often.

I hope you enjoy these new additions. I may in fact add more in the future, but for now this will give me some new areas to fill out. Check back often and I’ll try to remember to update on the main site when something new is posted!

 

An oldie but goodie

I’ve had this book for almost 30 years, and recently revisited one of my absolute favorite recipes from it. Best of all, the recipe has 5,only 5 ingredients! Chicken, butter, zucchini, cream and marjoram or tarragon..and salt & pepper, but I don’t count those two.


Cut one pound boneless, skinless chicken into large finger size pieces. Lay on a tray or large plate and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Then, slice a large zucchini into 1/2 moon slices. Season with salt and pepper. Chop fresh marjoram if you can find it (yeah,  right) or fresh tarragon ( miraculously found in Worcester this week, someone must have ordered in error!) Worst case scenario is to use dried.

 

Sauté the zucchini in 2 tbsp of butter on medium high heat, add the herbs and continue till just starting to caramelize. Remove to a bowl, add 2 more tbsp of butter and add the chicken. Sauté on med high heat until cooked through. 



Add the zucchini back in and pour in 1 cup of heavy cream. Bring to a boil, dial the heat back and reduce by 1/2. Serve over rice pilaf.