Archive for the ‘Salads and Dressings’ Category

Romance and Cute Goats

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

 

Jim Thomas and Laurie Cuevas love cheese. That’s a good thing. The two are surrounded by it in their day to day life running Thomas Farm in Sunderland, Massachusetts. I wrote this article about them for our local paper and felt I HAD to share it with you. (I love cheese, too!)

Jim started dairy farming there in 2015. He had worked in dairy farms for his entire life. He met Laurie in 2016 and fell in love with her, perhaps in part because of their shared affection for milk and cheese; she had grown up on a dairy farm. They quickly became life and work partners.

“We both have dairy in our bones,” Jim told me when photographer Paul Franz and I stopped by the farm last week.

The pair raise both goats and cows, although there are many more goats (about 90) than cows (10) on the farm. The cows provide raw milk to sell as well as cheese and cheese curds, young bits of cheddar popular for cooking because they hold their shape when heated.

The goats provide goat cheese, a.k.a. chèvre. Jim and Laurie sell the soft goat cheese in a number of flavors, including plain, dill, fresh chive, garlic dill, and cranberry.

When they have extra goat milk, they make hard cheese with it—goat cheddar and gouda—although lately there hasn’t been a lot of extra goat milk. The chèvre is very popular, they noted.

Their cheeses are available at their own farm stand as well as at a variety of local markets. They are also featured on the menus of a number of restaurants.

“We have a really good relationship with our restaurants and stores,” said Laurie. “We deliver the cheese so they know us. They also come to the farm. They like that. They can see that it’s clean, that the animals are happy.”

The animals were indeed happy. Paul and I met a number of the goats, including a pen full of six-month-old girls who were overjoyed to meet us. One in particular kept moving in toward Paul’s camera for a close up.

Of course, part of their interest stemmed from a hope that we had something to eat with us. They tried to nibble on my shirt, my handbag, and my hair.

“They make us laugh,” Laurie said of the goats. “It’s hard not to love them.”

The dairy business is only part of Thomas Farm. Jim and Laurie also raise chickens for eggs and sell vegetables at their farm stand. “For us, diversity is the key here,” explained Laurie.

“If [produce] doesn’t sell at the stand, the animals get it. We believe in sustainability. We do it the right way if we can.”

“We’re both everything,” stated Jim. “To be a farmer you have to have a lot of skills. We don’t sleep.”

Happily, he added, “We both love what we do, and we love each other.”

That love is paying off. Jim and Laurie showed us a number of prizes their cheese has won, including a recent gold medal from the Big E and a second-place award from a national competition sponsored by the American Dairy Goat Association.

They would like to be able to concentrate on the dairy business alone. “Our dream is that we would possibly just make cheese and survive that way,” Laurie confessed.

For the moment, they are happy with their farm as it is rather than as it might be, however. Their passion for their work and for each other has spilled over into the community and created a lot of good will, they told me.

Laurie cited an example of this good will, explaining that in March and April they welcomed 112 baby goats into the world. “We were drowning in the spring,” she sighed. “One night I put out a call on Facebook to ask for old towels.

“We had all sorts of people come and respond. They brought towels. And they brought food. They brought cookies!”

 

Thomas Farm Goat Cheese Salad

Whenever Laurie Laurie and Jim Thomas are invited to a family gathering, Laurie is asked to bring this simple, tangy salad. She served it to Paul and me with fresh peaches, but as the recipe suggests she uses whatever is in season. I’m thinking of trying it with fresh, crisp apples.

Ingredients:

for the creamy poppyseed dressing:

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons poppyseeds
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 pinch salt

for assembly:

fresh salad greens
creamy poppyseed dressing (see above)
the fruit of your choice—strawberries, blueberries, peaches, mandarin oranges, or a combination
4 ounces Thomas Farm plain goat cheese
slivered almonds (optional)

Instructions:

Combine the dressing ingredients thoroughly. Arrange the fruit on top of the salad, and toss with the dressing. Sprinkle cheese over all, along with the almonds (if desired). Serves a crowd. Leftover dressing should be stored in the refrigerator.

A Thanksgiving Salad

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

The older I get—and the more work I have to do on the days before and after Thanksgiving—the simpler I like to make Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law Leigh and I will experiment a bit over the weekend, once the holiday is over. She wants to play with pastry. I want to make some lovely potato buns my friend Sandy makes every year.

But on Thanksgiving itself we’ll have a simple meal and let the turkey shine. Turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes, a green vegetable, perhaps a little mashed potato … and a salad.

I first encountered Brussels sprouts in a salad a few years back at the home of my cousins Alan and Jane. As I have written before here, I don’t care for boiled sprouts. They fill the house with an icky cabbage-y smell and take on a depressingly sodden texture.

When roasted or sautéed or used raw (as they are here), however, they smell fine, taste better, and have a satisfyingly crunchy texture. Lauren Zenzie on Mass Appeal scooped up what was left of the salad after we made it on the air for her lunch.

A note about vinegar: I go back and forth between cider vinegar and red-wine vinegar in this recipe. The cider version is more autumnal; the wine vinegar gives the salad dressing a bit more tang.

We also made my cranberry-apple crisp for dessert on the air. I’m having trouble uploading the videos, but you may watch them here if you wish: Brussels-Sprouts Salad and Cranberry-Apple Crisp.

Happy Thanksgiving! May all your sprouts be crunchy….

Brussels Sprouts Salad

Ingredients:

16 Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries (more if you like)
6 to 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 small apples (or 1 large apple), cored and sliced (optional but delicious)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon raw honey
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)

Instructions:

Trim the Brussels sprouts; then slice them with a knife or shred them with a food processor or a mandoline.

Combine the sprouts, the celery, the onion bits, the cranberries, and the apple pieces. Mix the remaining ingredients into a dressing, and toss half of the resulting dressing onto the salad, adding more dressing if needed. Serves 8.

The photo is a bit fuzzy, but you should get the idea!

Nobody’s Perfect, and I’m Not Nobody

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

The Palace Hotel (center right) in the 1920s

This week I committed what journalism professors and editors call a “gross factual error.” When talking on television about green-goddess dressing, which I first made a few years back and chronicled here, I said that the dressing was invented by a hotel in Los Angeles.

In fact, it was the Palace Hotel in San Francisco that created the dressing in 1923.

I apologize to the hotel, to the Green Goddess, and to Donna Hill at Strictly Vintage Hollywood (who gave me the original recipe).

The dressing was still delightfully tangy over lettuce, even if I didn’t describe it correctly.

My theme that day on Mass Appeal was cooling summer foods so in addition to the dressing I made coffee ice cream. Both co-host Lauren Zenzie and I swooned when we took a spoonful. The ice cream was rich, but the coffee flavor cut the sweetness and made us feel like ice-cream goddesses.

Here is that recipe, perfect for National Ice Cream Month. Happy mid-summer!

Swooning

Swoon-Worthy Coffee Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
2/3 cups sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons espresso powder
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 pinch salt

Instructions:

Heat the milk until it is steamy but not boiling. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until the mixture is thick and light yellow (about 4 minutes).

Whisk a bit of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Then whisk more, up to about 1/2 or 3/4 cup. Whisk the milky egg yolks into the remaining milk.

Cook over medium heat until the custard begins to thicken but does not boil (about 2 to 3 minutes on my gas stove!).

Remove the custard from the heat, whisk in the espresso powder, and strain the custard into a heatproof bowl or pot. Cool thoroughly.

When the custard is cold whisk in the cream, vanilla, and salt. Place this mixture in your ice-cream freezer and churn until done.

This recipe makes a little more than a quart of ice cream.

And now the videos:

Tinky Makes Green-Goddess Dressing


Tinky Makes Coffee Ice Cream

 

Cooking (and Singing) “By Heart”

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

I love the phrase “by heart” as it relates to both singing and cooking. Singing a song or making a recipe “by heart” doesn’t mean merely that one has memorized it. The phrase implies that one has internalized not just the mechanics of the song or recipe but its essence—and that one is ready to riff!

When Alice Parker and I started planning a summer musical program, the title “By Heart” sprang to mind immediately. We will perform songs we know really, really well on August 12. We look forward to connecting with our audience as we re-create wonderful songs by the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, and other beloved composers.

The evening will raise funds for Mohawk Trail Concerts, a chamber-music series that has delighted me each summer for almost all of my life.

Naturally, when I appeared on Mass Appeal yesterday to talk about the concert I made a couple of recipes I know by heart, a tasty salad (the dressing is adapted from Cabot Cheese) and my mother’s favorite hot fudge sauce. I have shared the recipe for this simple sauce on these pages before.

By coincidence, it was National Hot Fudge Sundae Day! I didn’t know how apt the date was before I went on the air. Learning that Tuesday just happened to be the perfect day for hot fudge sauce gave me the feeling of being one with the food cosmos.

Here is the salad recipe, along with yesterday’s video. Do please come to my concert if you can! And never stop cooking, singing, and living by and with heart.

Kitchen Sink Southwestern Chopped Salad

The title “kitchen sink” says it all: the ingredients for this recipe should depend completely on what you have in the house. Feel free to play around.

Ingredients:

for the dressing:

1/2 cup grated store cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
the juice of 2 limes (about 3 tablespoons)
2 garlic scapes, chopped, or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 chipotle chili in adobo with some juice (more if you like)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
ground pepper to taste

for the salad:

4 cups lettuce
2 cups lightly cooked corn kernels (grill the corn with a little olive oil if you have time; otherwise, use leftover corn)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 avocado, cut into chunks
lots of chopped black olives
4 scallions, chopped (use the white part and some of the green)
cilantro or parsley for garnish

Instructions:

Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender. Place the salad ingredients (except for the cilantro or parsley) in a large bowl, add the dressing, and toss. Sprinkle the herb over all. Serves 4 to 6.

And now the video:

Tinky Cooks “By Heart” on Mass Appeal

Bee Mine

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Please forgive the shortness of this post. I’m having a delightful but crazy week: two TV appearances; a major fundraiser for Mohawk Trail Concerts; and the cooking class I mentioned in my last post on Friday at the Baker’s Pin in Northampton, Massachusetts.

(The class is on rhubarb—of course—and there are still slots open as of this writing. So please spread the word!)

On Tuesday I appeared briefly on Mass Appeal to help promote the upcoming Bee Fest here in Franklin County. The local beekeepers’ association organizes this annual event to celebrate bees and honey and their contributions to our lives. Organizers Sandy Thomas and Dan Conlon (the former an old family friend and the latter a bee keeper from Warm Colors Apiary) joined Seth Stutman and me on camera. They brought me a fabulous hat to wear–and some wonderful honey to take home!

Dan, Tinky. and Sandy

I often forget to cook with honey; I’m too focused on maple syrup! I had fun playing with it in preparation for this segment.

At first I planned to make a honey rhubarb crumble. I love rhubarb, and I love crumbles, so combining them with honey sounded natural. Unfortunately, the TV station informed at the last minute that someone else had recently made a crumble on the show.

So … I racked my brain for a quick honey idea. I vaguely remembered that my friend Leticia had once made a salad dressing with honey and soy sauce. Of course, I couldn’t find her recipe—I have a lot of trouble finding things sometimes—but I quickly concocted my own.

I’m sharing both recipes here. Obviously, I only make the salad dressing in the video below, however. Do watch it; you’ll not only see me in that fabulous bee headgear, but you’ll learn more about the Bee Fest. The video isn’t fabulous–something is going on with our internet in Hawley–but I wanted to post it before the fest just in case locals might want to visit.

Happy honey time!

Bee Mine Rhubarb Crumble

Ingredients:

5 to 6 cups rhubarb, cut into one-inch pieces (enough to fill your pan with some room at the top for the crumbly bits)
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) sweet butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the rhubarb in a buttered Pyrex pie dish (a stainless or ceramic dish may be substituted, but don’t use aluminum as it will react with the rhubarb’s acidity). Drizzle the honey over the rhubarb.

Combine the cinnamon, flour, oats, and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and cut it in with knives or a pastry blender (your hands will do in a pinch). Add the brown sugar and mix again until crumbly.

Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the rhubarb, pressing down lightly. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown in most parts and bubbly. Serves 6 to 8.

Slightly Asian Honey Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 splash water
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) neutral oil such as canola
a few drops of sesame oil

Instructions:

In a mason jar combine the honey, vinegar, soy sauce, and water. (A little ginger and garlic wouldn’t hurt as additions!) Shake to combine. Add the oils and shake once more. Serve over lettuce or spinach with nuts and orange segments. For a more festive look, sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top of the salad.

Makes just under 1 cup of salad dressing.

And now the video:

Tinky Cooks with Honey on Mass Appeal