Friday, May 29, 2009

The Proof Is In The Packing.

Just wanted to send out a quick THANK YOU to all commenters, callers, movers, helpers, supporters, readers, and, well, YOU.  

We are almost out and almost in.  I even managed to cook dinner through the chaos/nasty that has been my kitchen, thanks to yesterday being Thursday, our CSA food pick-up day.  John even managed to snag photographic evidence.

That was my first cucumber of the season.  Silver linings abound, and I appreciate your patience. Tomorrow we will be in our new home, and soon I'll be cooking for you from a new kitchen.  Can't wait.    

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The State We're In.

My Dearest Readers,

I must begin this letter to you with an apology: I have not yet revealed the fact that I am currently in the throes of moving. I’m sorry. No, I am not moving far, only to a safer and happier neighborhood. Most exciting, I am going to have a gas stove. (eee!) Okay, so that’s not the most exciting, I could go on for a long time about what’s better, but instead I’ll post a picture in the hopes it is self-explanatory why I’m thrilled, and that you’ll be thrilled too.

(No, we don’t get the entire house, but we get more than enough of it, and I can’t wait.)

Yet I am a good four days from moving in, and since that realization hit, so did a fury of ants in my kitchen. Seems they just want to hang out there, even though there’s no food around. My plan of packing up the kitchen last (so that we could cook and eat in peace amidst the chaos of boxes) has folded and instead of warring with them for the umpteenth time, I told John, in a moment of weakness, to go to White Tiger Gourmet, and fast. (The battle raged, my friends, and I was starved and weary.)

That said, I would like to give a sincere, heartfelt thanks to White Tiger Gourmet, for making one of the most delicious sandwiches in the entire state of Georgia (I’m sure) and who fights to make their food as naturally and organically as possible. I love their Seared Salmon, which is made with Luna ciabatta, organic lettuce, capers, cucumbers and cream cheese. For under ten dollars. With an iced tea. Yep. (Check out their menu.) Thank you, White Tiger. We love you. (More on them, soon.)

Secondly, I would like to thank all my readers, whom I adore, for bearing with me through this time of transition. With all my heart, I would rather talk about food, but am taking a teensy tiny reprieve from the kitchen (let’s just blame the ants, shall we?). I won’t be gone long, and if you’d like to catch up on oh, thirty some-odd other posts, they are all on my side bar. Also, my Person of the Week is a great read, and if you'd like to give me future decorating advice (I'll need it), you may want to first consult my friend Rachel, who writes the cutest decorating blog, Nest Egg.

I suppose if there is a moral to this story (or, letter), it would be that when times are tough, you can treat yourself (and you should). The good news is that you can find local genius cooks who serve organic food. Isn’t that wonderful? Local food opportunities abound, whatever state you’re in. I’m so happy that I think I’ll go start on box # 11.

With Love,

Annie Kelley

P.S. I'll be missing you.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Food For The Soul.

I don't know about you, and I hope you don't think I'm crazier than usual by saying this, but I think the weather affects my food choices. Now more than ever, the seasons dictate what I eat, and with summer on the cusp of sweating out spring, we already have more options than cooking knowledge, and it's exciting. Fingers crossed I'll get strawberries on Thursday, but I'm guaranteed my first purchase of cucumbers, asparagus, sweet basil, and some Pontiac Red potatoes. (Still holding out for that first heirloom tomato, it's so close I can taste it, except I can't really, because I haven't had a local, organic and heirloom tomato that I can ever remember. Suffice it to say, I'm pumped. (Plumped?) Anyway...)

Yet here we are in the midst of clouds, clouds, clouds. Spurts of rain have littered the day, and Memorial Day holiday was fun, yet perhaps a tad cool. Maybe it's just some odd southern weather, or maybe there's a small part of me that doesn't want to completely submit to the seasonal change, but prefers to curl up, eat comforting foods while flipping through cookbooks. Spring tasted so good that I'm finding I'd almost rather dream about Summer.

So in my nostalgic need for comfort and hesitation of change, and while it's still a little dreary outside, I'd like to share with you one of my favorite comfort foods. No, it isn't cheese or chocolate (those are my more extravagant indulgences), it's un-flirtatious and plain. It's a lumpy bit of coal I like to refine into a diamond. It's a ... well, you already know based on my opening photo. It's a potato (not a Pontiac Red, either, more of an old jalopy), but for me, in this case, the plainer the better.

John and I used them in two dishes, most notably the above photograph, in which four Yukon Golds were transformed into crisp, roasted, well-seasoned, three dimensional triangles and dipped in an aioli. They were soft and smooth with a hint of warmth on the inside, yet with a crisp, lemony zing on the outside from the aioli. They made me feel just right. Not quite food for the soul, but food for a dreary day.

The second is more of an almost-soup, the official name is Collards With Potatoes, courtesy of Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets
by Deborah Madison. Again, I believe we ate them on a dreary day, and, though this dish is more complex and a touch more time consuming, it was worth it. This dish is true food for the soul.

Lastly, there is my mother-in-law's mayonnaise-free potato salad, which sadly I do not have the recipe for (yet), but rest assured, it helped more than anything to spring me into summer. You'll have the recipe when I do, dear readers.  So sit tight/ stay comfortable, at least until the sun comes out.

Collard Greens With Potatoes

2 bunches of collard greens
sea salt
ground pepper
3 medium yellow-fleshed potatoes, scrubbed & coarsely diced
3 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
pinch red pepper seasoning
vinegar for the table (optional)

Strip the collard leaves from the stems & wash the greens. In a medium large pot, bring a few quarts of water to a boil. Add salt and the greens, simmer for 10 minutes. Drain, set aside in a bowl. Add the potatoes to the cooking water and simmer until tender.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in skillet over medium heat until browned. Set onto paper towel to drain, discard fat & wipe out the pan.

Return the pan to heat, add olive oil, when hot, simmer onion. Cook over medium high heat until golden brown.

Coarsely chop the collards, then add to the pan along with the garlic, salt as needed, and red pepper seasoning. Add potato water for moisture as needed (this was quite of the water for me, though it may vary). When potatoes are tender, add them to the greens. Add bacon, then toss everything together. Taste for salt and season with pepper. It's messy-looking but especially good mixed together. Serve with vinegar (optional).

Oven Roasted Potatoes With Aioli
My cooking style is less rigid. This dish is very easy granted you continually taste the aioli as you go. You can begin from homemade mayonnaise or use your own mayonnaise adding crushed garlic, salt and fresh lemon juice (tasting as you go). Also, the aioli tastes better if allowed to rest & cool refrigerated for at least an hour.

potatoes - as many as you want
lemon-thyme (as pictured) or thyme
olive oil
aioli *(see link and/or headnote)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash (scrub) and dry the potatoes. Chop into small pieces. Spread potatoes in one layer on a baking pan and douse with olive oil. You want a heavy coating on each piece, but don't overdo it with puddles on your pan. Sprinkle fresh thyme (leaves and sprigs) over potatoes and add salt and pepper. Toss again and roast for 30 minutes - keep checking them, oven temparatures may vary. While roasting, prepare ailoi. Allow potatoes to cool some, then serve.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Big (Orange) Catch.

Last week, The Denver Post ran an article called "Mommy is Blogging - With Corporate Backing." You can read the article here prior to this post if you like.

 After re-reading it several times, I had to note a few things. First, I think the point of the article was about corporate support and blogger boundaries. Yet when I read the paragraph below, I was startled:

“…she [the mommy blogger] writes, say, about how adorably orange her children's fingers get when they gobble down handfuls of yummy Cheetos. Young has, in her words, a "relationship" with Frito-Lay, the maker of Cheetos. She isn't paid a salary, but the perks include free snack food for her family of eight and a recent trip to Los Angeles, complete with parties and pampering at a ritzy hotel."

So, naturally, your first thought might be, “Wow, I’m unemployed and I’d really like to get my hands on some free Cheetos and get flown to L.A. parties. And all she has to do is write about stuff? Where can I sign?” It’s okay if that’s your response, her story sounds like she’s won the jackpot, and with six children – I’m sure she could use a break, err…party. However, Momma taught me a little piece of advice I’d like to share: “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” (Thanks, Mom.) Now, in case you didn’t see the BIG, ORANGE “CATCH”, let me state it here and now: Cheetos.

I’m sorry, but there is no way her kid’s orange fingers are adorable (though, again, I’m not a mom). I would imagine the sight of orange seasoning smeared across a white couch, blouse, or on the walls of your house would be quite distressing. Though I just said “quite distressing” in an attempt to pull off the “British understatement”, forget it. I’m going to speak for myself here: Cheetos are bad for you (and your kids), and Cheeto fingers are gross.

We can’t ignore the fact any longer. I will say, 'perhaps not bad for you in moderation', but even that admission is a little painful. I stand by the fact that there are healthier foods to eat. How about a carrot? They are orange! And they don’t leave grubby orange fingerprints around. You can even make fun little people out of them and humor your child, right? (It humored my husband.)

But enough with the preaching. Let your kids eat Cheetos if you like. I am powerless to stop you.  All I can do is give you a teensy, weensy, kind of not-good-for-you-but-sort-of-is recipe that I think your kids will love. It’s the best French toast in the world, and when you use farm fresh eggs for the batter, then they do kind of look a little orange. Heck, I don’t care if you put some food coloring in them, do whatever you have to do to get those kiddies to stop eating processed junk. 

You can call french toast “junk” – that’s fine. But I will say that the bread was a French baguette from Luna Bakery, the eggs from Double B farm, and all the other ingredients (sugar, etc.) organic and from The Daily Co-op. So if that’s bad, we’re doomed.

Now, that you’ve listened to my tirade (thank you). Here is your recipe. Good luck with the Maple Syrup. I've found you only need the slightest drizzle, and we used this:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Justify My Love.

When I talk to friends and family, I hear so many different responses regarding local food vs. the grocery store.  Here are a few examples:

  • “What’s wrong with Whole Foods?”
  • “I buy cage free eggs, organic meat and fresh produce from an expensive store, what’s wrong with that?  Isn’t it the same thing?”
  • “What am I supposed to eat, if all foods in the grocery store are ‘bad’?”
  • “Please don’t judge me because I have Cheeze-Its in my pantry!”
  • “Would you eat this celery stick?” – (asked at a party, vegetable tray within range)

 And so it goes.  There are two responses I have when confronted with these questions.  The first is a genuine appreciation for an opportunity to explain my preferable food choices.  The second is panic that I will confuse and bewilder the person with an array of facts, quotes, statistics, and horror stories.  Sometimes, it’s easier to point people to a book and hope they will read it, or write it in a blog, with hope they will understand it (not because you aren’t smart enough, but because I’m not always a clear and efficient writer). 

I want to do all of the above, with eager hope that you will get a copy of In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan, (accessible on my Amazon side bar, on the right, in blue: click click .) and read it, because this book will answer your questions in a professional, well–researched fashion about WHY Whole Foods is a rip-off (mostly), WHAT you should be eating to maintain optimal health and HOW accessible and affordable it is to do so.  He can explain it better than I, so I’ll leave you with a quote as proof: 

“If you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid products that make health claims.  Why?  Because a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.”

 Well, there’s a start, anyway.  I hope that’s intriguing enough for you to pick up a copy and find out yourself why it’s not really food.  If not, feel free to ask more questions.

 At Athens Locally Grown, my food comes in a clear bag with a sticker that has my name on it and the name of the farm it came from.  There are no health claims on my bag of carrots.  My fresh produce lasts for weeks (when kept stored in the refrigerator in the bags) because it was picked within a day – or even on the day – I came to collect it.  My sister, in Denver, has found a website (Mile High Organics) that will deliver local, organic produce to her doorstep.  Now, I’m not a mother, and I don’t have to travel far to pick up my food, but I can imagine not having to pack up her little boy and drive him to the store, wait in lines, manage a cart, etc. is probably the equivalent to a world where every day is Christmas and it rains roses.  Just a guess.

 Yet I’ve found that the most exciting way to get the message across, besides buying it yourself, (and besides blogging) is to throw a big, fat dinner party with your closest friends and cook with your local produce.  Then, when everyone raves about it, talk freely over a glass of vino about where it came from and why it’s better.  I can’t throw my readers in cyber-world a dinner party though I dearly wish I could.  I hope the recipes provide you with a decent replacement.  

This food has inspired me beyond belief, to the point where I carve out free time to write about it, and I believe that it will excite you, too, because it’s the best.  It has made me stand up and put on an apron (which is amazing), and it has made John drive right past his favorite restaurant and head home instead, because he knows what’s better – and I can’t credit the cooking, really(!)… it’s the food.

So celebrate with it.

 These tortillas were the ground base for our meal.  I’m sorry I don’t have more pictures.  They are fun and use four ingredients: white or wheat flour, non-hydrogenated shortening (we use this brand), canola oil and salt. 

Next, a fresh salad.  Any lettuce will do, Buttercrunch is my favorite.  I use my Swissmar peelers (amazon again) and shred carrots, radishes, squash, cheese (any kind) to a light and thin consistency and toss it all in.  You can then drizzle with olive oil and vinaigrette for your own dressing.  YUM.

Into the tortillas goes ground beef.  Heat a little bit of olive oil in the pan add minced garlic and onion until golden, add beef, salt, pepper, seasoning of your choice, cover until brown.

 When you serve, encourage friends to add the salad to the tortilla and roll up burrito style.  Also, this sauce brings it all together with a big fat punch.  If you want the salad separate, consider a mango salsa to top the meat.  Also, note that you can use chicken, pork or even a vegetarian substitute. 



Sunday, May 17, 2009

Efficiency = Equals = Exciting.

Times are tough. You know it and I know it. Kate knows it, but look, she's happier. Why? Must be because she knows that though the financial pinch is squeezing us all, there are crafty and inventive ways to get through cooking healthy and on the cheap. I would be lying if I said I didn't have any handy kitchen tools to get me through the daily process. Fact is, some items are worth the investment because they do save you effort, stress, energy, and of course, time in the long run. TwinYolks wouldn't be here without loads of literary inspiration (which I would like to share), nor would my kitchen experiments be effective without these basic products. Please bear in mind that I would only recommend the highest quality to you, because I love my readers, and that all of which are owned by yours truly. The goal here is to make you feel happy, yes, even this (blurry) happy:

Preface: I am very skeptical of gadgets & gizmos, and have purchased many a dud product claiming to help ease a process but ended up stressing me out. Listed below are the ones that made the cut - and are available where recommended and also on my (temporary) sidebar, courtesy of and elsewhere.

Here's to eating slow and cooking fast:
  • Microplane Rasp Grater - This little tool will give you feather-light wisps of cheese, or zest the skin right off a lemon. It's designed to give more results per stroke and is only $14.95 at Williams Sonoma.
  • Pepper Grinder - It doesn't have to be ugly, either. Check out this cutie from Crate & Barrel. This is the best flavor enhancer for your food, especially your eggie weggs.
  • Iron Skillet - I am beginning to collect antique iron skillets. I found one yesterday, a small size for $9.00. Note that when you use them, they retain flavor so you don't want to wash them with soap, just water and a rag and/or paper towel. Also, the iron from the pan enters your food, which sounds scary but is great! A delicious replacement for taking iron supplements.
  • Swissmar Peelers - a blessing to work with. These come with different texture capabilities. I shave radishes, carrots, apples, cucumbers, cheese and more for salads in seconds and the veggies retain a thin-yet-crisp texture. Bliss.
  • Calphalon Contemporary Multi Pot - wow, a mouthful, and it's not "inexpensive", but view it as an investment, if you will. This pot has a pasta insert and a steamer basket so you can cook pasta and steam your veggies all in one go. We boil everything with it, from chili to garbanzo beans for hummus. You save time and use less water. A good idea.
  • The Rabbit - Nothing opens wine more easily than this. A great gift, and a necessity if you labor and almost knock over wine bottles trying to open them. Prior to owning The Rabbit, I always made my husband open wine. Pitiful, I know.
Obviously there are many, many other handy tips, like always keep your kitchen knives sharp. Don't put them in the dishwasher (they warp), etc. However, these two culprits below are worth the accusations. Here's what you shouldn't buy.

  • Leifheit Food Chopper - no, no, no. What a waste of time. It is a pain to clean and has so many pieces that I don't want to bother. You are asking to lose a finger in a gruesome, medieval manner. Get out your knife and cutting board. Done and done.
  • Leifheit Cheese Grater - do not trust.
  • This may seem harsh, as I'm all about affordable, but I've rarely owned an OXO product that was efficient and/or didn't break. My few exceptions are their plastic bowls, measuring cups and whisks. Choose their products wisely. The fancier they seem, the more skeptical you should be.
Now that we have the basics covered, we can get back to focusing on food. I can't wait, and believe me, we have a lot going on. John is curing a pork-side as we speak, and I've been busy as ever in the kitchen. I really hope these tips help you out. And please, if you have any awesome or awful products, comment and advise or warn other readers (and me!). Thank you for reading and good luck shopping!

The Little Housekeeper That Can.

Going "antiquing" is one of the most inspiring experiences in the world, IF you are not looking for anything in particular.  When you are looking for a specific thing, than you either won't find it, or it might not be what you expected it to be.  That's why it's important to follow my designer-friend Kate's advice and just "go to clear your head."  Maybe this rule applies to life: living without any expectations can deliver the most unlikely surprises.  You browse around and do your thing and out pops, um... the weasel?  A baby?  A winning lottery ticket?  A tiny, fragile, dusty pamphlet from post WWI titled, Hints to Housekeepers?  Yes (to the latter).  

Hints to Housekeepers is incredible (complete with advertisements for Dr. Miles' Remedies).  When I saw the faded cover of the woman in the checkered apron peeling apples I turned to Kate and said, "Look!  It's me!" and had a laugh.  Then I gave it a tender-handed flip through and, whoosh, I was back in the olden days, reading "hints" that either may or may not be applicable any longer.  But if you still darn stockings or rinse cow's milk from a pail, here is a little advice for you:

If you rub your new tin ware with lard and heat it thoroughly in the oven, it will never rust.
Or, perhaps still relevant?
To remove warts, a small drop of cinnamon oil applied daily will remove a wart and leave no scar.  The same effect may be obtained by rubbing the wart with a radish daily or by applying the juice of a marigold flower.
(So that's how you do it!)

One more...sorry, they are too interesting:
To tell mushrooms, sprinkle a little salt on the gills.  If this turns the gills black they are fit for food.  If yellow they are poisonous.
If you already knew that one, forgive my redundancy. Though almost mythical pieces of advice now, I like to read them and fade back to the memory of reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books, while imagining my parent's Isuzu Trooper was a covered wagon.  

The idea that "tips" are still adorable, though I don't have any Fullers Earth for restoring my scorched linens or any Alum for my faded carpets, is very appealing to me, I guess because it's sometimes what I try to tackle and share.  With that in mind, and now that you have your kitchen staples, I believe it would be most prudent to fetch some appliances that'll make you feel like The Little Housekeeper-That-Could (if that's what you want.  If not, it will at least make you feel smarter).  Oh, and guys, gasoline will remove rust from nickel.

My own 'kitchen tools and tips' are coming up in the next post.  In the meantime, think about what you use and whether it is annoying or appeasing you.  Wonder, for example, if you are laboring over your morning coffee grinds like Kate with this antique coffee grinder, or any other tool that might cause you to feel like this:

And feel free to share any handy tips you have here on TwinYolks.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Primary Colors Of Your Kitchen

(These are primary colors.  Very important.  Without them there would be no green, purple, pink, orange, mauve, gray, you get the picture...)

I don't have many pictures in this post, but please keep reading because what I have to say is more important than an illustration.  Right now, my return flight departs Denver in about four hours.  I'm up, but my nephew is not, so I am mulling over a few lessons learned, ever so quietly, so that you (dear reader) can get your kitchen staples together and cook alongside me when I return.  Mom or not, these are the general, must-have ingredients that need to be in your kitchen cupboards to make meals faster, easier and tastier.   You can do a lot with them or a little, depending on your schedule.  They are the primary colors of your kitchen and recipe color scheme:

  • White Flour - Unbleached.  This seems like a DUH, but it's important to note the unbleached.  Though white flour is less healthy than wheat, it's easier to work with and unbleached is better because the bleaching process kills important vitamins.
  • 2 kinds of olive oil, one high quality & one larger, standard, affordable type.  We use Colavita for standard (cooking, baking, everything) and a nonspecific splurge of a tiny bottle of something special (taste oils at specialty food stores for your favorite) when the oil needs to stand out (i.e. dipping, etc.).
  • Garlic, shallot, onion - these should be in your possession at all times.  Buy dried garlic for backup, use fresh whenever possible (same with onion.  I've yet to find a "fresh" shallot).  A shallot is a small red layered cross between an onion and garlic.  It is very flavorful and versatile.  Of course onions, red or white, need to be around.  Try to move beyond the yellow ones in the grocery store and look for new varieties.  Always choose heirloom (and local) if available.  All three of these will be used time and time again.

  • Pasta - any kind.  Pasta is your friend.  It will assist you when ingredients run low.  Buy organic and buy a lot.  Reacquaint yourself with cooking it al dente.
  • Unsalted butter - get the sticks back in your fridge.  Ditch that tub of Smart-whatever-butter (or buy both).  You need the little logs.  Simply put, they are easier to use when measuring.  I hate trying to get an exact tablespoon out of a cold tub of butter.  This change will be a huge time saver for cooking and baking.
  • Kosher Salt / Sea salt - Morton's salt is like the strip mall of salts (that's a bad thing).  Kosher is grind able and saltier so you use less.  Use a good sea salt sparingly along with the quality olive oil.  Cook with Kosher salt on a regular basis.
  • Red Star Dry Active Yeast - even if you have never made bread in your life, this stuff is like the door to Narnia and will guide you to doing creative doughs and breads you never knew you could do.  Have it around for when you are bored.  It wants to hang out on the shelf with the unbleached flour.  It's quick and available everywhere.
  • Farm fresh eggs - as you can see from TwinYolks, we wouldn't survive without them.  I go through almost 2 dozen a week (I bake, too, believe it or not) and I still get excited about the different colors they come in and their rich flavor.  If you are still buying the white-only please branch out.  There is nothing to fear from a brown (or pink, or green) egg.
  • Lemon - good recipes call for grated lemon zest.  We don't get lemons locally, because we don't live in the tropics, but my sister has a lemon tree that produces lemons, looks beautiful and makes her house smell clean.  An apt solution (a mature lemon tree costs about $45.00).
  • Whole milk - you cannot be afraid of calories when you are cooking with local foods.  Whole milk is good for you and it enriches the flavor of everything you use it with, from cereal and cookies to sauces and pancakes.  We buy Grade A Unpasturized Whole Milk (though the government is making this difficult) from the CSA.  If you can't find anything similar in a store (you will have to look hard, maybe even ask around) and are skeptical about whole milk, at least get a half gallon of something high quality - you need it.  Anything less than whole tastes like water - why spend all that money on milky water?
Yes, you CAN find and join a CSA.  They are everywhere.  Give it a try and let it change your life.  You don't have to buy everything all the time, but incorporating better tasting foods slowly will make you hungry for more, and I promise you, it is delicious.

Lastly, moms, daughters, grandmothers, dads and dudes, everyone who wants to cook needs the ultimate staple: a GREAT cookbook.  Do your life a favor and buy The Kitchen Bible.  It is the best book out there on techniques, recipes, and ideas.  It is easy to follow, gives time management tips for every recipe and even pairs meals with wines.  Simply put: You must own this book.  
Can't wait to cook with you - hope this helps it become an easier process.  Thanks for putting up with my sweet (yet so silly) husband while I was away.  You are the best.

Addendum - the BLUE primary color girl in the above photo makes the COOLEST fresh veggie onesies and tees for kids.  I mean, they are "put your hand over your heart and sigh" must - haves.  Put your money into supporting the anti-Hannah Montana mom who knows what's up.  You can check out the cuteness and fun here.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No Match For The Darkside.

Darth Vader was never all bad. He was seduced by the Darkside of the Force for fear of losing his one true love. I feel you, Darth. Over the past few days, the voice of the angel on my shoulder, my dearest Annie, began to wane and all I could hear was “lamburger pillow” and “egg blanket”. The mad-scientist from within beckoned me to CREATE! I hope I haven’t failed the faithful followers of Twin Yolks. I don’t think this will be considered a complete betrayal as I have attempted to incorporate all things local and fresh into this dish, and borrowed/stolen previous recipes posted by the true genius-on-hiatus. Were it not for her culinary skills, I would not be able to present to you now:

Breggfast in Bed!

What you are looking at is perhaps the first of its kind: a deviation of the lamburger pillow that I like to call the “sausage pillow” resting upon a soft, feathery “egg blanket”, consisting of fresh eggs from the Tennessee Valley (as I am currently in Chattanooga, TN), arugula and fresh garlic from Backyard Harvest farm outside of Athens, GA, and a bit of manchego cheese from EspaƱa (pardon the few local deviations, as I’m away from our safety net). For directions on how to cook, see previous postings on egg scrambles and lamb sausage patties to make this dish a true hit. May the force be with you, as it obviously was with me:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Be Strong.

Posted by John Kelley, May 11, 2009 (as evidenced by the above picture)

In Tom Waits’ tribute song to the bachelors of his day, “Better Off Without a Wife”, the ruffled crooner sings, “you must be strong if you’re to go it alone.” Of course, if any of you have heard this reputable ruffian sing this or any other of his innumerable diamonds in the ruff (I just realized I used the word “ruff” 3 times, hardly professional), you recognize the comedic solemnity of his voice and might picture him crying over one too many beers, dirty as a barfly, and a little malnourished.

Mr. Waits never actually thought he was better off without a wife. He just had to kick back a few cold ones and write a self-assuring song about how he and his brethren were going to make it, but his days were numbered. He is now a married man and, so it would seem, happier and healthier than in the days of yon bachelorhood. I remember those days…….but I sing no songs of self-assurance for me or my married brethren. Suffice it to say, I am happier and much, much healthier.

We here at Twin Yolks (meaning me, while my wife is off to visit family for a spell) value our wives (meaning my one and only wife- I do not espouse polygamy). It has fallen upon me to do a tribute post, not to the bachelors, but to the matrons. Are we the lonely menfolk strong enough to go it alone? Nay, we are not; and in the context of our local food adventure, you must be strong if you’re to go it alone. Matrons, I salute you, for without you we would be in the proverbial gutter.

Fortunately, my mettle has not been tested, for I, like all husbands, am weak without my wife. Annie has ensured my future commitment to eat well and carry the fire through the wastelands of post-apocalyptic bachelordom by pre-ordering food from our weekly mainstay. Rest assured this food will not go to waste. On the contrary, it will achieve its full potential! I will take up the helm and navigate the choppy waters to the shores of temporary solitude (see above picture) and find it within me to CREATE.

Who knows what “Frankesteinian” dishes I might scare up? What man-things might I create to push the envelope of this predominately female audience? A pancake and egg sandwich? An egg couch or blanket? A lamburger pillow? Fear not, I carry the banner of my wife, your dedicated local food troubadour, whose spirit keeps me strong. Like the angel opposite the devil on my shoulder, she is even now telling me that a lamburger pillow is out of the question, absurd, folly, foolhardy, frivolous, to which I must agree. With that, I promise in a few days something to excite the senses. Thank you all, especially Annie my love, for putting up with this weak introduction to my almost certain downfall as I battle the kitchen elements in the days to come. Be strong.

In Denver.

This week, I'm in Denver, Colorado, visiting my precious nephew (above), some chickies, and of course my sister and brother-in-law.  I hope to find the time between cooking, gardening and playing with my cutie pie nephew to blog to you, but it might not be as frequent until I return.

This trip is already giving me so much perspective on what it means to eat and cook local foods through the eyes of a mother (or Aunt), so my goal is to update easier, mom-friendly and kid-happy recipes for you when I return.

In the meantime... my husband will be guest-blogging about whatever it is he is eating while I am gone.  I am hoping he will carry the torch, but we'll see.  Stay tuned to hear things from the man's perspective. 

Happy (belated) Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Meet. Greet. Eat.

As you know, last Saturday was not the grand opening of the Athens Farmer's Market.  

It was today.

And now I have my dill, wildflowers and a Sweet Annie seed packet (complete with medicinal qualities.  Who knew?), courtesy of a nice girl named Lindsey at the Seeds of Change

I ended up doing a little more talking than shopping (a first for me, perhaps?), which is why the Farmer's Market is one of the coolest places to meet, greet, and get things to eat.

If I may, I'd like to recommend the Buttercrunch lettuce from Veribest (translation = very best) Farms, the wildflowers that Becky assembles from her own backyardharvest (anything you get from there is incredible, fresh and delicious, but the flower bouquets are as naturally beautiful as she is).

  There's also coffee available from 1,000 Faces, sourdough baguettes with sea salt and toasted sesame seeds from Luna Bakery.  

(delicious, as if you couldn't tell)

There's also the new Market Manager, our friend Donn Cooper, who is the go-to guy concerning all things farming, local and ethical.  Do yourself a favor and read The Rural Pen.  You'll get tips for your tomato plants, fascinating witticisms and a lot of must-read book recommendations.  (Don't forget to check out the commercial posted on Disney Eggs, it's worthy of your ridicule.)

Now I can make my Buttermilk Biscuits with Dill.  'Nuff Said.  

Buttermilk Biscuits with Dill, or Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits, from Cooking Fresh 

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more for flouring
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tbs. vegetable shortening or lard, well chilled and cut into small chunks (we use non-hydrogenated shortening)
2 tbs. unsalted butter, well chilled and cut into small chunks
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Lightly flour a small cutting board and set aside (for easy transfer to fridge).  Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a large, shallow bowl.  Mix dill and parsley. Add the shortening and butter to the dry ingredients, combine with a pastry blender or two table knives just until a course meal forms.   Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk.  With your fingers and using just a few swift strokes, blend dough until combined (sticky mess is OK).  Turn it out onto the floured cutting board.  

Wash, dry and flour your hands.  Pat out the dough and knead about 1/2 dozen times until just smooth.  Pat it out again, this time to a round or oval that is 1/2 to 3/4ths an inch thick.  

Cover the dough lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Remove dough, cut with a sharp biscuit cutter - avoid twisting the cutter - trying to get as many rounds as possible.  Dough should toughen some as you go.  Lightly pat the dough scraps together, pat down and cut again.  Position the biscuits at least 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet.  Bake, rotating the pan halfway through to ensure even cooking until raised and golden brown.

*Hint- 10 to 12 minutes for 3 inch biscuits; 9 to 11 minutes for 2 inch biscuits.

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