Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cheese Classes.......and A Chance to win a great cookbook: BakeWise

On Thursday, I am leaving for Texas to take a two day cheese making course  with my good friend, and Pastry chef, Teresa B.  I have been looking forward to this for months! 
Artisan cheese making seems like a natural progression or evolutionary step in my quest,  as I try to create recipes using only local, seasonally available produce and products. If you factor in the Food Nerd element and my obsessive quest to "just know MORE", I could not pass up this opportunity.    I am fortunate to have milk delivered to our home in glass bottles each week (Longmont Dairy), and now I have access to raw cow's milk AND raw goat's milk.  As many of you know, I already encourage you to make your own fresh ricotta cheese.  It is very easy, and there really is nothing else that compares to it. By taking this course, I hope to bring the knowledge of small scale "in house" cheese making to you.  

This is what we will be making: Fresh Butter, cultured buttermilk, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, herbed cheese logs, feta, ricotta, yogurt, labaneh (a spreadable yogurt cheese), 30-minute mozzarella AND the step-by-step process for making aged cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby Jack, Parmesan, Pepper Jack, Gouda and Brie, as well as artisan cheeses....  
I am already packed and ready to go!

Cookbook Give Away

If you ever watch Alton Brown on the Food Network, then you are familiar with Shirley O Corriher. Corriher, as well as, Harold McGee and Herme This, have been writing about food science years before anyone watched "Good Eat's"(yes, I love the show) or "America's Test Kitchen".

A few days ago, I received two copies of Shirley O Corriher's new Cookbook;  BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes.

This month, I will have a drawing for a chance to win my second copy of "BakeWise".  Everyone who signs up to receive my blog (the sign up is to the right, directly under my profile), will be entered in the drawing to win this new cookbook.  If you sign up, or are already receiving my blog, just send me a quick email with your name and email address and I will contact you when the winner has been chosen. The cookbook contest begins today, October 22, 2008 and will end October 31, 2008.  Feel free to pass this opportunity on to your friends and family who enjoy food!   My email address is located in the "about me" section of this blog. Good Luck!  I am off to make cheese....

Chef Deb

Monday, October 20, 2008

Anasazi Bean and Pumpkin Stew

The Anasazi bean was a perfect choice for this weeks LFM sample.  These beans cook more quickly then traditional beans and the ones I made, are grown in Colorado. I paired the beans with pumpkin, some smoked sweet paprika, toasted cumin seeds, green chiles and finished it all with a good handful of cilantro.  I was afraid it was going to be a hard sell this time..but with a little persuasion, we soon heard the familiar, "oh's,  ah's and mmm's " of acceptance.  I live for those three sounds!


Anasazi Bean and Pumpkin Stew

1 Cup pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained (*canned beans may be used instead)
1 lb tomatoes, fresh or canned, peeled, seeded, and diced, juice reserved
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
2 pinches of ground cloves
3 Tbl Olive oil
1 large onion, cut into a medium dice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T paprika (Sweet or picante, Smoked Paprika from Savory Spice Shop in Boulder)
3-4 C bean broth or vegetable stock, ( you may add extra water at the end, if more liquid is needed)
3 C pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Squeeze of lemon or lime
Cilantro, chopped, for garnish 

Cook the beans in water for about 1.5 hrs or until beans are tender (do not add salt to beans until they have been cooked!) Drain and reserve the cooking liquid.
Warm a small heavy skillet and toast the cumin seeds until their fragrance emerges; then add the oregano, stir for 5 seconds, and quickly transfer the spices to a plate or bowl so they don't burn. Combine them with the cinnamon and the cloves, and grind to a powder in an electric spice mill, or just leave them whole.
Heat a 4-quart soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil and sauté the onions and jalapenos for 5-7 minute; Add the garlic, the spices, the paprika, and 1 t salt. Next add the tomatoes and cook 5 minutes. Then add the pumpkin or winter squash along with stock. Cook for 20 minutes, then add beans and cook for 5 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings w/ salt and pepper. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to brighten up the stew. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

*Canned beans may be used instead of dried

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Butternut Squash and Fennel Gratin, Cooking with ‘Chef Deb’

This is a reprint of the recipe that ran in this Wednesday's , Times-Call . To tell the truth, I was more excited about this article then I thought I would be. I actually bought several papers and showed it to the cashier. That's me! She simply smiled and said, "that will be $1.50"....

For those of you who missed the article, click on the the title of this post.

Even more exciting, were all the people who came to the market for the first time and stopped by to say "hi". I was happy to chat with many of you, I apologize for being so busy. This was a very special Saturday and there was a lot going on. If I did not have a chance to do so, I would like to say:

Welcome to the Longmont Farmer's Market!

I hope you make going to the market a regular Saturday tradition. We have so much to offer in terms of local produce and products and it is a positive way to keep our local economy strong.

I love Gratins.
These are not even remotely related to the American versions of "au gratins", which are oily and cheese laden.

In this very French dish, the vegetables are baked in a small amount of cream and/or half and half, and sprinkled with a few tablespoons of cheese, or buttered bread crumbs. This basic recipe works with any vegetable or combination of vegetables you can think of: sweet potatoes, kale, potatoes, leeks, cauliflower, cabbage, etc., etc.. Yes, you can make it lower fat by substituting some broth for a bit of the cream. But why would you?

When making Gratin, always add boiling liquids to your vegetable before baking it. The hot liquid speeds up the cooking time and creates a creamier dish.

Try this recipe at home, and play with the ingrediants.

I served this dish at the Farmer's Market Community Lunch, and everyone love it (of course, it was described as the 'orange stuff ').


This is what it looks like before it is was eaten before I could take a photo of the "after".

                      Butternut Squash and Fennel Gratin
4 as a Main course
6-8 as a side dish

2-2 1/2 pounds Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, sliced thinly
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 small bulbs fennel, cored, stalks removed, thinly sliced (save the fennel fronds)
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic
1 pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
1/2-cup half and half
1/2-cup heavy cream
3-4 ounces grated hard local cheese (or gruyere, parmesan, pecorino)
Sea or kosher salt
Fresh Ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350° Butter or oil a 9 x 13 inch casserole pan.

Place a medium sized skillet over medium-low heat, next add olive oil and sweat* the fennel and onions until both are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Next add nutmeg, cream, half and half, 2 teaspoons sea salt and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Chop a few tablespoons of the fennel fronds.

Place half of butternut squash in the bottom of the casserole; top with half the fennel/onion mixture, some fennel fronds, and lightly salt and pepper. Repeat, ending with all the cream and fronds. Salt and pepper again. The cream will not cover all the squash, but it will bubble up while it cooks.

Cover casserole with foil and place in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, top with grated cheese and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, before eating. Enjoy
*Meaning: cook at a lower heat and there should be no color or caramelization on your vegetables, you just want them to release their natural juices

Thanks for stopping by!

Chef Deb

The First, Longmont Farmer's Market Community Lunch

We ARE a Community...
I am still very moved by this Saturday's turnout of volunteers.

Thank you 2

In the past, I would always invite the vendors to stop by the stand to sample each weeks recipes. But it turned out many were unable to do so because they were either too busy or they were the only ones attending to their stands. As a food pusher, this was always disappointing to me, as I was here for everyone; Longmont shoppers and the farmers. 

Then I had this idea, but I needed a bunch of help..

I had hoped I could coax a few people to give up some of their Saturday to help deliver food to the farmer's and vendors, many of which donate the food I sample out each week.  

The response was better then I had hoped.  Cindy Torres, the market manager, is always talking to me about creating value, and community at the LFM.  Well, this Saturday, fourteen volunteers took a simple act of delivering food and turned it into the act of a sharing community. I can rate it right up there with some of my best culinary moments. It was a joy working beside each of you and I want to personally and publicly, say...

Thank you, to:
Susan S.
Sharon E.
Jenn and Dave M.
Julie B and Scott S.
Gunther and Adrienne S.
Marcy and Parker N.
Lorraine Cope "the meat lady"
Lori L. 
Chris W.
Danielle A. 

A special Thanks to:
*The Culinary School of the Rockies donated boxes of vegetables, pears and Culinary Instructor  Marilyn Kakudo made the Gingerbread Pear Cake.

*My friend and Chocolatier, Robin Autorino, of Robin Chocolates provide the volunteers a little gift of chocolates. Robin lives in Longmont and she is starting to really see her chocolate business take off. Visit her @

* Fred at Miller Farms- for loading my little car with produce to pull this whole thing off.

*Ewell at Pachamama Farms, for letting me grab more as we began to run out.

* Honeyacre Beef for helping supply all those Beef Short Ribs.
* Full Circle Farms (a.k.a. Rocky Mountain Pumpkin Ranch)- The stand who gave us emergency greens!

Thank you for making the Longmont Farmer's Market Community Lunch a success!
You made the vendors very happy and I am one very proud Chef!

All my best,
Chef Deb








Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!