Posts Tagged ‘Hawley Massachusetts’

Locavore Bliss

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
Making All-Hawley Frozen Yogurt makes me happy. (So does wearing big hats.)

Making All-Hawley Frozen Yogurt makes me happy. (So does wearing big hats.)

I like buying and eating locally. The food one gets is fresher that way. I’m not an obsessive locavore. Nevertheless, I have dreamed in my modest way of creating a recipe that uses ONLY ingredients native to my small hometown of Hawley, Massachusetts.

Here is that recipe!

One COULD argue that two ingredients do not constitute a recipe. The two ingredients here work so perfectly together, however, that I’m going to call them a recipe.

The dish is maple frozen yogurt. I made it using Sidehill Farm yogurt. Sidehill moved to Hawley a couple of years ago and sells lovely raw milk and other products as well as the yogurt.

The farm is worth a visit if you’re in our area. I know Carnation used to bill its products as “the milk from contented cows.” The Sidehill cows are DEFINITELY contented.

Courtesy of Sidehill Farm

Courtesy of Sidehill Farm

I combined the yogurt with maple syrup from my neighbors at Chickley Alp Farm. How much more local and delicious could food be?

This dessert was a huge hit when I visited Mass Appeal this week. Unfortunately, the video to which I link below doesn’t show the best part of the show: the look of rapture on co-host Ashley Kohl’s face when she tasted the yogurt. (No, I’m not exaggerating. “Rapture” is the mot juste.) That look made me very happy.

The yogurt also made me happy. Commercial frozen yogurt doesn’t tend to taste very yogurt-y. This version had lots of yogurt tang, combined with maple sweetness. My “recipe” was a match made in heaven.

You may ask why I used whole-milk yogurt instead of low fat. I had never made frozen yogurt before, so I consulted several cookbooks and websites. Apparently, low-fat yogurt becomes very hard very quickly if you pop leftovers in the freezer.

If you put this version in the freezer for a few hours, you will find it lovely and creamy still. (I haven’t tried freezing it for longer than a few hours; it’s too popular in my house.)

And let’s face it: frozen whole-milk yogurt is still healthier than ice cream!

Just for fun after the video link to the yogurt segment I have embedded the video for the other recipe we made on the air this week, cowboy caviar. I have featured the caviar recipe, from my wonderful Texan friend Teri Tynes, previously on this blog, and it’s remarkably tasty.

But first, the yogurt recipe:

All Hawley Frozen Yogurtweb

All-Hawley Frozen Yogurt

Ingredients:

1 quart plain Sidehill Farm Yogurt
3/4 cup Chickley Alp Maple Syrup (darkest version preferred)

Instructions:

Whisk together the yogurt and maple syrup. Place them in an ice-cream maker and freeze until ready (about half an hour, in my experience).

That’s it! Serves 8.

Now, for the yogurt video:

[youtube]https://youtu.be/JrJHvn5fSdA[/youtube]

And here is the cowboy caviar.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/OBtd3Gu-bPQ[/youtube]

Pudding Festival Results

Monday, October 6th, 2014
Puding Head Leslie Clark is crowned by judge Damon Herring. Courtesy of the Recorder.

Pudding Head Leslie Clark is crowned by judge Damon Herring. Courtesy of the Recorder.

Last week the Sons & Daughters of Hawley, the historical society in my small town, hosted the intermittent but always highly enjoyable Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival.

This event started out as the launching event for my Pudding Hollow Cookbook—and kept going because it was so much darn fun on its own. The person who wins the pudding contest that is the centerpiece of the festival is dubbed the new Pudding Head.

This year’s Pudding Head actually lives in the Hawley’s Pudding Hollow district, the home of Abigail Baker, who won a pudding contest in Hawley in about 1780. (Note: I’m old, but I’m not that old. Her pudding contest was the inspiration for, not the launch of, my book.)

Leslie Clark moved to town in August and lives right next door to me! She is proving to be a terrific neighbor and a darn good cook.

Here is Leslie’s prize-winning recipe. I haven’t tasted it yet, but from the judges’ reactions and from the ingredients, I know I will love it.

Remember readers, you have only five years to work on your recipes for the next festival! (Next year, the Sons & Daughters plan a men’s pie-baking contest.)

This event isn’t just delicious. It’s also a tribute to the power of community … and of course of food!

Leslie's puddweb

Leslie’s Luscious Coconut Cream Custard

from 2014 Pudding Head Leslie Clark of Hawley, Massachusetts

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 eggs
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (5.4-ounce) can coconut cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup shredded coconut

Instructions:

Met the sugar in a pan with the cinnamon. Spread this melted syrup in the bottom and sides of a baking bowl, reserving about 1/4 cup for later decoration. Allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Using a hand or electric mixer, blend the eggs, liquids, and nutmeg for 5 minutes. Pour this mixture into the sugar-lined baking bowl. Top with shredded coconut uniformly.

Bake in a bain marie (hot-water bath) for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the custard comes out clean.

Re-melt the reserved sugar and cinnamon, and drizzle them on top of the cooked custard. Sprinkle a little extra coconut on top. Allow to cool before serving. (This pudding is best served at room temperature.)

Serves 8. (Servings should be small; this pudding is rich!)

posterweb

Ready to Eat

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

This post will be a little different from most since I’m not sharing a recipe. I promise to be back soon with something to cook. I always find apple time irresistible!

Today I’m simply describing an eating experience I encountered courtesy of Hurricane Irene.

As readers of my blog about caring for my mother know, my hometown of Hawley, Massachusetts, was hard hit by Irene … despite the fact that she had supposedly been downgraded to a Tropical Storm by the time she reached our community.

The roads in Hawley hew to the tradition of roads in many small communities—particularly hilly small communities. Our byways are built alongside brooks and rivers. Most of the time, this is a great idea. Why carve a road down a hill when you can just follow a stream around the hill?

During a hurricane, however, having one’s roads follow a river seems a lot less smart. Large parts of Hawley (including my own area, Pudding Hollow) were cut off during and after the hurricane by washed-out roads.

As a result, Hawley had its first ever (to my knowledge, at any rate) visit from FEMA. Federal and state officials helicoptered in to plan road repairs, bring medical help to a neighbor in need, and share food and water.

The food in question was a group of MREs—the ready-to-eat meals favored (or at any rate consumed) by our armed forces in the field.

Naturally, as a food person, I was fascinated by these. My mother and I really had no need for food. (Please don’t tell FEMA; this might be some sort of fraud!) Nevertheless, I asked for three of the meals.

The one I actually tried sounded intriguing. One somehow doesn’t expect to find Thai Chicken in MRE form.

A friend reminded me that Hawley is a bit far from Thailand. Even New York, where the MREs originate, is far from Thailand. So I’m not sure why I expected the food to be good. I guess I hoped it would be for the sake of the troops.

It took me a while to read the (very small, very obtuse) directions for heating the MRE with its “flameless heater,” a chemical pad that reacts to create heat when one adds a little water to its bag and then puts the bag in a box. The box is then rested on a rock “or something,” according to the directions.

Even after I managed to decipher the directions, I didn’t quite heat the food correctly. I put both the chicken and its accompanying rice pilaf in the heater bag. Only the one closer to the little pad actually got warm. I resorted to my microwave for the other—not an option open to soldiers in the field.

The chicken and rice proved sadly bland … even when I added a little hot sauce from the enclosed miniature bottle (a nice touch). The dishes’ consistency was off putting as well; both were gummy.

The rest of the meal was pretty darn odd but designed, I guess, to put protein into soldiers. It consisted of vegetable crackers (today’s hard tack) with peanut butter, a peanut/raisin mixture, instant coffee (a tea bag provided an alternative), and chewing gum.

My friend Brett informs me that he and his fellow members of the 379th Engineers subsisted on these meals for weeks at a time overseas.

The whole thing gave me a renewed appreciation for our men and women in uniform. Risking their lives and leaving their families are bad enough. Having to eat bland, boring food … now, that’s too great a sacrifice.

When I learned that National Guard troops and other officials were working on the roads out of town it occurred to me that these men might be subsisting on MREs. I hastened to bake them some butterscotch brownies, and my neighbor Alice and I drove down to the road-construction site (very carefully) to distribute the treats.

I wish I could do the same for our troops everywhere.

Meanwhile, if you would like to help with hurricane relief in our area, please consider contributing relief supplies to the drive at our local elementary school, Hawlemont School in Charlemont. Coordinator Beth Bandy is asking for bottled water, nonperishable foods, cleaning supplies, baby food/formula, pet food, clothing, and anything else that might be helpful. She is also looking for drivers with hardy cars to deliver the supplies. For more information on the drive, call Beth at 413-337-4291.

Beth has also set up a Facebook page for her efforts.

And if you’d like to hear an abridged audio version of my blog post about our own hurricane experience, here’s the link for my commentary on WFCR-FM.

Mrs. Baker’s Applesauce

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

 
Today I’m doing something I’ve never done before, revising an old post. I have quite a few apples on hand (although not as many as I did two years ago, when I originally posted this recipe). So I’m returning to the recipe myself and thought readers might like to come along.
 
When I first posted it, I didn’t have any regular readers—so I don’t know how many of you, if any, have looked at it.
 
Here are my words (slightly edited) from October 2008:
 
This year has seen the most abundant apple harvest I can recall in our corner of New England. My neighbor Alice speculates that our literal windfall of apples has something to do with the hatching of swarms of bees just as the apple trees blossomed last spring.
 
All I know is that our apple trees, most of which are older than anyone living on our road, suddenly acted like fertile teenagers.
 
Naturally, my mother and I have made large quantities of applesauce. Applesauce is the perfect fall comfort food, and it’s amazingly easy to make, especially if you have a food mill. Food mills render the peeling and coring of apples completely unnecessary.
 
The skin, core, and seeds of the apple cook along with the sauce, adding flavor to the end product, and then get pushed out and discarded. The residue left in the food mill is surprisingly small.
 
If you don’t have a food mill, you will have to peel and core your apples. On the other hand, you will end up with lumpy applesauce, which some people prefer to the smoother version.
 
As you can see in the photographs above and below, my food mill requires me to push the apple pulp manually through the holes in the mill. My neighbor Peter has a relatively high-tech machine with a crank that does most of the work. Either type of mill is definitely worth purchasing. 
 
My applesauce is named after Abigail Baker, who lived around the corner from our property in Hawley, Massachusetts, in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Mrs. Baker is famous (in our corner of the world, at any rate) for creating the winning pudding in a late 18th-century pudding contest that gave our district, Pudding Hollow, its name.
 

 
When my friend Judith Russell and I began work on our Pudding Hollow Cookbook, Judy suggested that we include a recipe for Mrs. Baker’s applesauce. Somehow it slipped through the cracks then so I’m rectifying that omission here on my blog.
 
I have portrayed Mrs. Baker several times in the entertainment that accompanies our revived pudding contest. And I see her grave every time I visit my what my nephew Michael calls my father’s “burial crypt” in the Pudding Hollow Cemetery. Hawley’s most celebrated cook is therefore seldom out of my thoughts. 

Judy, too, is in my thoughts a lot, especially at this time of year. She died in the autumn of 1994, but her colorful folk art and sunny spirit live on in our hills, in our hearts, and in my cookbook.

 
Mrs. Baker’s Windfall Applesauce
 
Ingredients:
 
enough apples to make 6 generous cups of cut-up apples (preferably more than 1 variety)
1 cinnamon stick
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup cider plus additional cider as needed
maple syrup to taste, depending on the tartness of your apples (I used 2 tablespoons for the batch pictured here, which was relatively sweet)
 
Instructions:
 
Wash the apples and quarter them (actually, I tend to cut them into eighths if they are at all big). Remove any bad spots, but don’t worry about cutting out the core and seeds if you have a food mill. 

Place the apple pieces, the cinnamon stick, the salt, and the cider in a 4-quart pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat, covered, and simmer it until the apples soften, checking frequently to see whether you need to add more cider to keep the sauce from burning. The cooking time will depend on the type and age of your apples and how many of them you are using. A 6-cup batch may take as little as 25 minutes, but a larger, firmer batch can take up to an hour.
 
Let the apples cool for a few minutes; then run them through a food mill. Discard the pulp and seeds (excellent pig food or compost!), and place the sauce in a saucepan. Add maple syrup to taste, and heat until the syrup dissolves, stirring to keep the syrup from burning.
 
If you want to can your sauce, reheat it to the boiling point, ladle it into sterilized jars, and process pint jars in a boiling-water bath for 20 minutes. 

The yield will depend on your apples. Six generous cups of apple pieces provide about 1 pint of sauce. Feel free to multiply this recipe if your apple harvest is copious.


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Upside Down Once More

Friday, June 11th, 2010

 
I know, I know, I just posted a recipe for rhubarb upside-down cake!
 
Let me explain.
 
After various peregrinations I am finally home in Hawley, Massachusetts, contemplating the gorgeous greenery everywhere and the abundant rhubarb in my yard.
 
(It’s even more abundant in the yard of my generous next-door neighbor Dennis!)
 
Seeing its lush (if poisonous) green leaves and strong red stalks has inspired me to try yet another upside-down cake.
 
You may recall that the previous recipe from Sue Haas featured marshmallows. This ingredient surprised some of the commenters, particularly the eloquent Flaneur.
 
Here I dispense with the marshmallows and combine Sue’s recipe with my own for pineapple upside-down cake.
 
It’s amazing how different two rhubarb cakes can be! Of course, I like them both. (I seldom dislike cake, for my sins.)
 
Sue’s Michigan upside-down cake is not too sweet and not too goopy; the marshmallows hold it together and give it a slight vanilla flavor.
 
This version is definitely sweeter and richer. On the other hand, it’s also a little more rhubarby. The marshmallows tend to tame the rhubarb in the other recipe. 

Which should you make? BOTH, of course………

 
Hawley Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
 
Ingredients:
 
for the topping:
 
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) sweet butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups rhubarb (1/2-inch chunks)
 
for the cake:
 
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1-3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
 
First make the topping (which goes on the bottom!).
 
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until it melts and bubbles—3 to 4 minutes.
 
Transfer the brown-sugar mixture into a 9-inch-square cake pan. Spread it through the bottom of the pan. Arrange the rhubarb pieces on top as artistically as you can. (Mine weren’t very artistic.)
 
For the cake cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Add the baking powder and salt. Stir in the flour alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the vanilla, and pour the batter over the rhubarb mixture.
 
Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center (but not too far down; don’t hit the rhubarb!) comes out clean, about 40 minutes. If the cake is brown but not done before this happens, decrease the oven temperature and continue baking.
 
Allow the cake to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife, and invert the cake onto a serving plate held over the skillet. Turn upside-down. Remove pan.
 
Serve alone or with whipped cream. Serves 9. 

I should think you could absolutely bake this pan in a 10-inch iron skillet (heating the butter and brown sugar in it first, and then piling on the other ingredients). I couldn’t find my skillet, however, so I used a square pan and can only report on those results.


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