Fiddleheads Tempura with Aoli

Spring came earlier than usual this year. Fiddleheads usually appear in May, but this year they are plentiful in April—even as far north as Elmore, Vermont. The scroll-like Ostrich Fern fiddleheads are easily identified by the brown skin that clings loosely to the emerging shoots. If you pick your own, harvest only 3 per plant to prevent decimating the fern population. Fiddleheads are readily available in markets during their brief season. They have a delicate flavor sometimes described as similar to asparagus or okra, or simply as spring greens. Continue reading

Cheddar Popovers

A basket of warm popovers with dinner is a real treat, but who wouldn’t be happy to see them at any meal. Sharp cheddar cheese caramelizes in the crust to give these popovers a special flavor and rich color. Serve these with sweet butter alongside stews, soups, roasts, with breakfast, on a buffet, or all by themselves. It only takes a few minutes to mix the few ingredients. This is an inexpensive means to an exquisite end result. Continue reading

Orange Almond Cake with Orange-Ginger Glaze

Gluten free! Who needs flour when you can make such a moist, well-flavored cake without it. This cake comes from Jewish cuisine of the Mediterranean regions where oranges and almonds are important crops. Navel oranges are a good choice because they have few seeds, and the peel is not bitter. Boiling the oranges softens them, and changing the water part way through the boiling will ensure a fresh orange flavor. Continue reading

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Pebre

Although the calendar indicates that spring arrived a week ago it was snowing while I grilled the pork. Fortunately, this kind of meal makes me think of warm summer evenings. Tender slices of juicy pork served with crisp vegetables, toothsome rice, and a zippy, neon green sauce made from cilantro, garlic, and jalapeño. It is both light and highly flavored; a perfect combination for hot weather, but in this case for a cold, snowy spring. Continue reading

Brewer’s Bread

After brewing an Imperial IPA over the weekend my son saved the spent grain, and passed some of it along to me. I used 2 cups of it in 2 loaves of bread, and stored the rest in my freezer. Not only is this a terrific use of something that ordinarily ends up in the compost, it is one of the best ingredients you can add to bread. This loaf has a  moist, chewy crumb, and a nicely textured crust flecked with bits of malted barley. Continue reading

Scallion Pancakes

These pancakes are a classic appetizer formed of crispy layers holding thinly sliced scallions. The process of rolling out the dough, painting it with sesame oil, and then rolling it up like a jelly roll, making a spiral, and rolling it again creates these layers. Unlike most types of dough that call for using cold water this one uses boiling water to defeat the toughing influence of the gluten. When you roll it out you will notice that it doesn’t try to pull back, but retains its shape. The dough has only 4 ingredients, and is easy to make. The result for such little effort is amazing. Continue reading