Saturday, December 13, 2008

Produce Stories Best Of 2008

So the ballots are in, and I've finally tabulated the scores in the first annual Produce Stories Best Of The Year...
Okay, nobody is voting but me, so "tabulating" means "remembering" and "typing stuff." Also, I know that I used a tacky font for the Best of 2008 header. I happen to enjoy "groovy '70s" font and have no other outlet in my life for it. Okay?

Vegetable Categories
Best Vegetable (Overall): Brussels Sprouts
    Runners-up: Green Beans, Kale
Best Leafy Green: Fancy Italian Kale whose name I don't remember (from Northshire Farms)
    Runners-up: Collard Greens, Red Oak Lettuce
Most Overrated Kale: Lacinato
Best Root Vegetable: Carrots
    Runners-up: Shallots, Beets
Best Vegetable Dish: Quiche with Caramelized Shallots and Thyme (recipe below)

Fruit Categories
Best Fruit (Overall): Nectarines
    Runners-up: Blackberries, Tristar Strawberries
Best Apple: Macoun
    Runner-up: Mutsu
Favorite Fruit Dessert: Applesauce (recipe below)

Fresh Herb Of The Year: Thyme
    Runner-up: Italian Parsley
Favorite New Culinary Skill Acquired This Year: Canning
Favorite Food I Stopped Hating This Year: Mushrooms

Quiche with Caramelized Shallots & Thyme:
Makes 6-8 servings
1 single pie crust
2 cups shallots, cut into 1/8" sauté slices
4 large eggs, well-beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
Freshly grated black pepper
3 oz. colby cheese, grated
3 oz. parmigiano-reggiano, grated

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and blind-bake pie crust with weights 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Turn oven down to 350.
Make caramelized shallots: Soften shallots with a pinch of salt over medium-low heat in small amount of olive oil (cover pan to speed softening); turn up heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are evenly brown. This will take about 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, milk, thyme, and a generous amount of freshly-ground black pepper.
Distribute shallots evenly around bottom of pie crust; then add cheeses, distributing each in an even layer. Pour egg mixture over cheese.
Bake quiche on the middle oven rack for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and set all the way through. Allow to cool to room temperature before slicing.

Makes about 8 servings
4-5 lbs. apples
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional; or use 1/4 tsp. each nutmeg and allspice)

Was, quarter, and core apples, and place them in a large pot with a lid. Add spices and fill pot with water to cover by at least 1". Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat; reduce heat to low and cook until apples are completely soft but not falling apart.
Drain apples and let sit in colander until cool enough to handle. run apples through food mill using largest- or second-largest-holed screen. Serve hot or cold.


katherine said...

My mother used to have a special implement to make applesauce, like a saucepan with a scapula, a sieve, and a crank. I am glad to know that this infernal device is not necessary for making applesauce. Maybe I will try my own batch sometime!

anna said...

That sounds like a food mill to me. I hate to say it, but I swear by food mills for applesauce. To make one without the mill, you've got to peel the apples, drain them, and then mash them. I am lazy and dislike peeling.

katherine said...

That's captured the peels, and then you'd get in there and dig them out with your hands. That was good times.