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

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

Savory Mozzarella Bread Pudding

Serve this savory side dish for brunch or paired with spicy grilled chicken for a famous supper. Strings of melted mozzarella follow your fork as you eat it. The flavors suggest those found in a mellow pizza of sliced tomatoes, oregano, Parmesan, olive oil and Mozzarella—served up in a soft custard studded with cubes of crusty Italian bread. This is pure comfort food. Continue reading

Farls: Irish Potato Bread

Potatoes played a leading role in the meals of my childhood. My father’s ancestors were almost exclusively from the English Midlands, Wales, and Ireland, save only his grandmother who was German. My mother traced her roots to Malcolm III, King of Scotland, who died in 1094. Given the significance of potatoes in this part of the world it’s easy to see why we hardly ever saw anything but potatoes served with a meal. It seemed odd when rice was served. Continue reading

Vermont Cheddar Cheese Crackers

Made with extra sharp Vermont Cheddar, homemade crackers taste better than any you’ve ever bought in a box. Remarkably, they cost about the same. The real proof is the taste. These crackers are baked long enough for the cheese to start caramelizing. The dough is smooth, pliable, and far easier to work than pie pastry. The potato flour blocks the formation of gluten, which not only helps produce a superior cracker, but easily modeled dough. It can be rolled very thin, and still be handled without falling apart or being sticky. If you like big results with little effort try these crackers. Continue reading

Roti: Indian Flatbread

In terms of baked goods, roti has to rank among items having the greatest result for the least number of ingredients. If you are counting just flour and water that makes 2 ingredients. Traditionally, it is unsalted and therefore serves as an excellent foil to highly spiced or salty foods. It is an essential accompaniment for curries of all kinds. Roti can also be used for sandwiches—either wrapped in the entire flatbread, or cut in half and stuffed with your choice of filling. Use roti instead of tortillas to hold any number of grilled meats, vegetables, and sauces. Continue reading

Bread Pretzels with Cheddar-Heady Topper IPA Fondue

This recipe is a tribute to my favorite brewpub, The Alchemist of Waterbury, Vermont. At the end of August, when tropical storm Irene flooded downtown Waterbury, water inundated their building destroying everything inside. Thankfully, they plan to rebuild and open this winter. One of my favorite menu items is their platter of bread pretzel pieces served with a fondue of beer and cheese. I don’t have their recipe, but I wanted create one using their Heady Topper IPA, now available in cans, in the dip. The extra hoppy flavors of this ale sing a duet with the earthy, herbal qualities of Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar. Continue reading

White Bean Soup with Zucchini and Eggplant, Tomato Pistou and Garlic Croutons

This recipe is all about garlic. Garlic in the soup, garlic in the pistou, and garlic croutons. The pureed cannellini beans give the soup a nice smooth body. Garden vegetables are the essential ingredients of summer cooking. Nothing tastes like produce in season. Enjoy it while you can. Pistou is often made without tomatoes, like pesto, but this version gives the soup a blast of ripe, uncooked tomatoes—a memorable flavor to be enjoyed when you can get it.  Continue reading