30 July 2013

The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook

When I was a kid in Alabama, my great-aunt, Ruth, kept a jug of clabber in the larder.  As a kid, I was totally disgusted.   As an adult, not a week goes by that I don't bemoan the fact that I never learned how to make Ruth's clabber.  It started with a mother that sat there for years, never once going in the refrigerator.  She seemed to use milk made from a powdered milk.  I always thought that was false until I read up on cheese making and found that the ultra-pasteurized milk found in every store will not make cheese but powdered milk will.  Odd, I know.  Still, I have no clabber recipe, so I am relegated to that stuff in the supermarket called buttermilk which is not really "butter" milk at all, but just milk with a bit of culture and thickener thrown into the mix.  Well, I digress...

Today's cookbook is The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook by Diane St. Clair.  St. Clair has a dairy in Orwell, Vermont.  As you know from reading this blog, we do love Orwell -- George Orwell and rarely does one find a cookbook and an Orwell reference all in one!  In the culinary world, Diane St. Clair is famous for being the personal butter maker for Thomas Keller.   After a hard day of making butter for Per Se, there is buttermilk to be had.  If anyone knows how to use all that buttermilk, it is Diane St. Clair. 

We will not be holding against St. Clair that she is in Vermont by way of New York.   We will try to get our readers to refrain from making her cornbread.  While she calls it "tender" we call it "Yankee" as it has enough sugar to make sweet tea!  But there are other sweet things in the book we are fond of, like the raspberry buttermilk tart.   Raspberries are probably our favorite fruit of summer and this is a delightful way to show them off.

Raspberry Buttermilk Tart

1 Buttermilk Piecrust, arranged in a 10-inch fluted tart pan
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 egg yolks
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Set the tart pan on a baking sheet.  Bake the piecrust for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned.  Let the crust cool slightly, and then Spread the raspberries in the crust.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with the flour.  Mix in the egg yolks and lemon juice  and , zest, and then beat in the butter.  Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until smooth. Pour the mixture over the raspberries.

3. Set the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is just set in the center. Let cool before serving.

Rumor has it, this is actually better if you let it sit for a day, but I can't really see that happening.  What you need to do is make two -- you're heating the oven anyway.  Then you can have one for dinner and hide one in the back of the fridge for later.

22 July 2013

Tasia's Table

I am totally convinced that I have written about this book.   I waited months and months for it to be published.  It was on my waiting list forever.  How did I not post about it?   I am here to rectify that over site.   Largely, because Tasia Malakasis was featured in the new issue of Country Living.  I said to myself, Self, you love that book and you did a great post.  But I looked and couldn't find it.  I am going crazy!!


Malakasis has a great story.  In this great migration back to the farm era, she was a forerunner.  Here is the the Cliff Notes version.

Small town Alabama girl makes it big in NYC.
She goes into her local cheese shop and finds a chèvre from Alabama.  
Becomes obsessed.  
Visits the cheesemaker.  
Harasses the cheesemaker till they let her intern at the dairy.  
Buys the dairy and moves back to Alabama.   
Makes a fine cheese.
Then writes a cookbook.
But not, "The End."

Malakasis is Greek but also Southern and with lots of goat cheese around, she has managed to write a cookbook that encompasses all the parts of her life.  There is a recipe for moussaka right along side a recipe for grits and goat cheese.  While the recipes rely on a lot of Belle Chèvre, there is a definite Southern breeze flowing through them.  If you have ever complained that all Southern cookbooks are basically alike, this is one that will change your view.

Take the sideboard staple, potato salad.  Here it becomes a warm and unctuous side.  It looks like potato salad but with a classy twist.

Warm Potato and Belle Chèvre Salad
2 lbs Fingerling Or Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut in 1” dice 
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup dry white wine 
Clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste 
1/4 cup sour cream
1 medium red onion,  diced 
1/4 cup fromage blanc
1/2 cup fresh parsley 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup Belle Chèvre Confetti 
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
Steam potatoes until tender. Drain and toss with with wine, salt and pepper. Add cheese, onion, and parsley. Stir together remaining ingredients. Toss with potatoes and serve immediately.

To read more about the Country Living article, head over to Lucindaville.

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