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Archive for October, 2009

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I love reading cooking magazines and cookbooks.  I’m completely fascinated with people and the food they make and eat.  I especially like the stories that usually accompany the oft used and well-loved recipes we all keep tucked away.  You know the ones, where the cookbook falls open to the most splattered page, the faded, hastily penciled scrap of paper, or the one you can make while humming, or talking because your hands just know what to do without too much thought.  This recipe will become one of those for me.  It comes from an article in Food and Wine magazine about a group of men (The FourCoursemen) in Athens, Georgia whose love of cooking and food brought them together to cook, and who now host an underground supper club.  I’ve always wanted to attend one of those dinners, and I found their journey and recipes inspiring.  This recipe jumped out at me.  I love spaghetti squash, but I’ve found my approach to making it rather limited, the usual tomato sauce, or just butter and parmesan, occasionally mixed in with other veggies.  But this recipe had me thinking. I didn’t make his recipe verbatim, but followed his general lead and OMG!  I can’t wait to make it as he created it, because my little simplified version is just super. His full scale version must be spectacular. I was talking to my sister on the phone while I was mixing it all together and taking the pictures.  I finally got to put a bite in my mouth and I’m pretty sure I actually moaned and made unintelligible sounds for a minute.  I’m also pretty sure that she’ll be making this tomorrow due to listening to that reaction!  As soon as I was off the phone I sat right down and ate almost half of it. Seriously, make this.  I think you’ll find that spaghetti squash will be a fixture in your house.  I know that it will be in mine.

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I’m in crisis mode.  The farmer’s markets are ending for the year here in Denver, and that always sends me into a mild panic.  I’ve settled into the rhythm of early Saturday mornings with my friend at the farmer’s market.  The day just starting, before the crowds, leisurely selecting what will be cooked and consumed for the next several days.  There is something very primal and grounding watching the growing season unfold before you.  We get excited seeing our favorite varieties appear and try not to be greedy, knowing that they’ll soon be gone for another year.  There’s only 1 or 2 more early Saturday mornings of sleepy driving, coffee, and wandering the booths selecting my dinner.  I find myself buying two of everything, trying to cram and stuff it all in before it’s gone. Last week I had to go back to the car to drop things off because it was too heavy to carry.  I’ll probably do the same thing this Saturday.  I can’t help it.  I know the stores will have fruit and produce but it’s not the same.  Anxious.  I get anxious.  Which brings me to this.  A lovely, beyond easy, delicious way to use some of my compulsive behavior’s bounty.  What is a galette?  It depends on what country you’re in.  Here, and to me, it’s a kind of freeform, flaky pastry filled with either sweet or savory ingredients.  Today, this is the one I’m having.

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I know, chicken pot pie……. yawn.  I’m also not going to tell you that this is the pot pie to end all pot pies, that it’s the most fabulous, wonderful, life changing pot pie you’ll ever have.  I will tell you that it’s very good.  I will tell you that you should make this, and that it was good enough that I would serve it to guests for dinner. Actually, I did serve it to a guest for dinner.  And I’d do it again.  I’ve been playing with this idea of doing a weeks worth of dinners for you, with cooking more than you need of some things and using leftovers for a few meals.  Trying to put together an easy, cohesive selection that would work for anyone, singles, couples, and families. I’m almost there, and I’ll tell you all about it when it’s done.  But this recipe was(is?) part of it.  You can use leftover vegetables and chicken, make a quick sauce, top it with store bought pastry, and you’re done.  I will start with a caution, however.  If you’re using crocks similar to those above, be careful when transferring it to the plate.  Silicon potholders can be slippery.  I wouldn’t want you to do what I did.  Which was dump the @#)(*$#)@ thing over on its side, puffy lid flying off, hot bubbling innards spilling out (luckily on the baking sheet) right in front of your guest!  Crap.  I had to get tongs out, set it up right, scoop and pour and reattach it’s little lid.  So people, use caution, and rubber tipped tongs.  No, I didn’t get a picture.

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Isn’t it amazing how the smell and taste of something can bring you back to a specific time and place?  Many years later and all you have to do is inhale deeply, put a bite in your mouth, close your eyes and you’re there.  Better and faster than “Beam me up, Scotty” or clicking your ruby slippers together. Memories come flooding back, filling you with a bit of the long ago happiness, the touch of a hand on your cheek or the wistful yearning for that distant past. These apple dumpling had me standing at the counter, thinking and feeling a late night many years ago.  The ex and I were coming home from a Grand Prix racing event in Watkins Glen, NY which was a good 5 to 6 hours from our home.  We went up for the weekend, sleeping in the back of the van (we were young..) walking ourselves to death around the track in cold, drizzly rain.  Of course the main event was on Sunday afternoon, making the journey home a long and dark one.  After driving for 3 hours or so, we decided we needed coffee and food, so we took the next exit off the highway into a very small town that was mostly closed and dark.  Just when we were going to turn back and try another exit, we saw a small diner, shining like a cheesy old movie set on the side of the road.  Cars were parked outside, the windows slightly fogged with warmth, the light beckoning us in.  We sat at a scarred and scratched old table, drank coffee and ate burgers.  The waitress came over, asked if we wanted anything else and without waiting for an answer said, “You should have our apple dumplings, we make them everyday, and they’re really good”.  We had one.  Warm, with vanilla ice cream melting down into a puddle around it, pastry shattering under our spoons. Spicy and sweet, we couldn’t scoop it up fast enough, our spoons clicking and pushing each other for the next bite.  Happy, with warm bellies, the rest of the trip didn’t seem as long or as cold.

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