Pear Pancake

red pears

 

Pancakes seem like such a quick, easy meal. And they are, except for the mess. All those little batter drips that get cooked onto the stove top..ggrr.

and waiting for pancakes to cook – it’s like watching paint dry!

I’d rather just pour the whole thing into one big pan and cook it.

Like I did here.

No drips, no mess. And with the addition of sautéed pears and walnuts, this is looking  a smidge healthier than plain old pancakes.

red pear pancake

pear walnut pancake

pear walnut pancake

 

(recipe to follow)

the cutest cupcake ever

Ok, maybe not ever. But as far as baked goods in pots go, it’s pretty cute.

flower pot cupcakes

Here are the directions for making the cupcake segment.

All you need after that is one  mammoth bag of butter cream frosting and a few skewers with tiny paper flowers attached.

flower pot cupcakes

Happy Mother’s Day!!

Peasant Potatoes with Sausage and Kale

This is vintage peasant food at it’s best. It’s hearty, unfussy and full of flavor. The crispy roasted potatoes soak up the broth from the big mess of garlicky green kale and sausage, forming a balanced and simple supper with just a few basic ingredients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here goes:

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

large bunch of kale (or chard), washed, and coarsely chopped. (depending on what kind of kale you are using, you may want to remove any thick stems)

about a pound of sausage, cut into small pieces

8-10 small-medium sized red potatoes, washed

1/2 cup chicken stock, (or water if you don’t have any on hand)

swirl of olive oil

Here’s what to do:

Preheat over to 425 degrees

Start chopping the potatoes into small chunks.  Toss with a light dose of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt on a roasting pan. Roast until golden and crispy, about 20-25 minutes.

Give a large skillet a light round  of olive oil and saute the sausage and garlic  until no longer pink in the middle.

Add the chicken stock to the pan, then the kale. Cover and simmer on medium low for about 8 minutes, or until the kale becomes tender but still a bright green color. Salt to taste.

Heap some potatoes on a plate and top with the sausage and kale, allowing some of the broth to douse the potatoes.

Have you ever grown kale? I started my first rows of it this year, and it is a surprisingly independent little leaf.

Fellow gardeners have told me that it will continue to grow through the winter. I hope they are right.

Baked Ricotta with Balsamic, Berries and Walnuts

Baked Ricotta with Berries and Balsamic

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When I was 23, I took a tour of the historical South Philly Italian Market, led by an amazing woman through a local cooking school.

I had never known such contagious passion existed in people and the food they created. Cheese makers & mongers sharing their mozzarella, so creamy it was almost unrecognizable from its supermarket counterparts. Bread baking in ovens with a square footage that rivals the first floor of my house.

Each bite was amplified by the people, stories and love of sharing and making food. I started to see food in a new way, not just as a consumer good, but as something created, shared and connected.

One of my favorite flavors of that day was a Baked Ricotta with Berries and Balsamic Vinegar from the kind folks at DiBruno Brothers Cheese Shop.

This is a nice appetizer alternative to the tried and true baked brie. It’s also a bit healthier. Go the extra mile and make the ricotta from scratch. You won’t regret it.

Fresh Ricotta

( homemade ricotta recipe from www.101cookbooks.com)

Ingredients:

1 gallon unpasteurized milk. (This is great place to try raw milk, if you have never had it before. Raw milk has great flavor and retains all of its enzymes and nutrients that are lost during homogenization and pasteurization)

1 quart buttermilk

Combine the two milks in a heavy bottom saucepan. Keep an eye on it until it starts to form curds. Skim the curds from the top. As much as I skimmed and skimmed, I still couldn’t get all the curds out, leaving me with less than a cup of ricotta. Pouring the pot of curds and whey into a sieve draped over a large pot was much more effective at collecting all the curds.

After the ricotta is drained, scoop into a baking dish and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Let cool to room temp. Turn it out onto a plate (it should slide right out when cooled) Top with berries and buttered nuts. Serve with little bowls of balsamic or honey on the side.

 

Buttered Walnuts

1 cup walnuts

About a tablespoon of butter

Sprinkle of sugar

Sprinkle of salt

Melt butter in a skillet, add walnuts and toast until browned and evenly coated with a touch of butter. Add a sprinkle of salt, and a sprinkle of sugar. Serve with baked ricotta,fresh berries and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.