Early Spring Soup, based on Kesakeitto

March 27th, 2013

 

This is a reprint of a recipe I love.  It looks like a painting and tastes like a spring garden.  Based on a Finnish recipe called Kesakeitto, or Finnish Summer Soup, this is a small mound of the most delicate spring vegetables pooled in a broth of hot, fresh milk, garnished with smoked salmon and peas.  My version of the dish crosses the Atlantic and backs up a season; I call it “Early Spring Soup in New England.”

 

Small parsnips, baby turnips, tiny yellow beets, broccoli florets, the tiniest baby potatoes, and a dice of carrots, all cooked quickly in boiling salted water, mound in the center of each bowl.

I looked for the best vegetables I could find.  I chopped the larger vegetables like parsnips and carrots, still looking for the smallest versions of them, into a tiny dice.  If a beet or turnip was small enough, I sliced them into rounds.   Along with a variety of vegetables, I wanted a variety of shapes, not just a pile of diced Birds Eye veggies.  The only vegetable I kept whole were the tiny potatoes.

I found a treasure of root vegetables at a Winter Farmer’s Market, but if seeking freshly dug produce isn’t on your to-do list this week, a keen eye at the grocery store will allow you a beautiful palette in your bowl, and probably a delicious one.

All the vegetables are cooked in boiling, salted water, beginning with the vegetables that make take the longest, (in my case it was the potatoes,) to the vegetables that will cook the fastest, using your judgement.  My order went like this:  potatoes cooked for two minutes, then I added the diced parsnip and carrots, then the beets and turnips, then the broccoli.

Half the deliciousness of this soup is the milk broth, simply the freshest, best milk you can find heated with a tiny bit of sugar and flour, and poured hot over the vegetables.  The thirty-eight Jersey cows at Appleton Farms in Ipswich can take a bow here.

I slit open a few snap peas, and saved the tiny beads inside for a garnish, along with some thinly sliced radishes, and fresh dill.  Rosy chunks of smoked salmon crumbled over the top.  I prefer the hot-smoked chunky kind for this, and used the locally cured Sasquatch smoked salmon available at Willowrest in Gloucester, but Steve Connolly also sells excellent hot-smoked salmon.

 

 

Early Spring Soup, based on the Finnish Kesakeitto

 

serves 6-8

Ingredients

4 cups organic whole milk, preferably local

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus 1 tablespoon for the vegetables

8 cups of tiny, fresh vegetables:  broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, new potatoes, zucchini, carrot, onion, asparagus tips, kohlrabi, beets, turnips, fennel, radishes,  and especially peas

water to cover

for the garnish:

1/2 pound hot-smoked salmon

fresh radishes, thinly sliced

fresh peas, or the tiny peas from inside 4-5 snap peas

fresh dill, chopped

fresh pepper, use white pepper if you want to retain the whiteness of the milk

 

Instructions

In a large saucepan stir together the sugar, flour and salt.  Slowly at first, stirring to blend, add the milk.  Whisk until mixture is smooth.  Gently heat the milk, whisking it occasionally to keep the flour from cooking on the bottom of the pan. Do not let it boil.

In a separate large pot, bring the salted water to a boil.

Prep the vegetables, peeling the potatoes, carrots, beets and turnips to keep them tender, and cutting all into roughly equivalent size.

When the water boils, drop in the vegetables that will take the longest to cook, like the potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, etc.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, and then add the lighter vegetables like radishes, peas, and broccoli.  Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon or sieve, and distribute them evenly into heated bowls.  Pour the hot milk over the vegetables but not to cover.  Allow the vegetables to rise attractively in a mound out of the milk.

Crumble the smoked salmon over the top, and garnish with radish, peas, and dill.  Grind some pepper over all, and serve immediately.

 

Pastaio Via Corta – pasta is changing Glosta

August 23rd, 2016

 

Danielle at the Seafood Throwdown

Once a softball player, ever a purist, Danielle Glantz has opened a “pastaio,” a fresh pasta shop named “Pastaio via Corta” – “pasta maker on a short street,” transforming “a short Gloucester street” into a Florentine neighborhood.

Pastaio

Glantz will say her palate was actualized as a child at her Lebanese mother’s and grandmother’s sides in her home in western Massachusetts. (Her father is Italian.)  Bold, fragrant dishes created with love and joy in a family kitchen seems to be the Glantz culinary syllabus.

She received a degree and a Brillat-Savarin Medal of Merit from the Culinary Institute of America (after starting out at the University of Hartford on a softball scholarship). She cooked for four and a half years at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA, and returned to Massachusetts as sous chef at Nico and Amelia Monday’s restaurant The Market on Lobster Cove. After a year there Glantz became head chef at Short and Main, the Monday’s and partners’ second restaurant on Main St. in Gloucester. But Glantz still speaks with awe of her grandmother’s shish barak, a tiny lamb and pine nut tortellini served in a yogurt soup, as if that cooking had more power over Glantz’s professional style than the other way around.

Yet, under Chez Panisse chefs Jean-Pierre Moulle and David Tanis, Glantz saw that purchasing locally meant more than the promise of better tasting produce; it meant a commitment to the community.

With this personal canon, Glantz has opened Pastaio via Corta, a handmade pasta and cheese shop on Center St. in Gloucester.

Pastaio Counter

If you have noticed the small chalk sandwich board saying “fresh pasta” on the corner of Main St. across from Passports, follow the pointing arrow; just go. It’s your lucky day if Glantz has made burrata, a sphere of freshly pulled mozzarella so plump with cream that it bursts at the tenderest pressure, and they are not all spoken for.

While I was there last week, a 30-ish year old woman walked in and said, “I came here for your burrata; my mother says it’s the best she’s had in her life, even after living in Italy for years.” Glantz smiled back with her steady, brown-eyed soundness. This is the woman who, when talking about working with the wood-fired oven at Short and Main, said, again with that straight-shooting clarity, “the oven will own you unless you own it.”

Glantz makes burrata, mozzarella, and stracciatella every week, but it disappears as quickly as it goes in the case. If luck isn’t your thing, order ahead: 978-868-8005.

IMG_0795

making gnocchi

Pastaio gnocchi

The Case

Glantz makes all of the pasta by hand in her shop. On any day (Glantz is open 7 days a week, from 11:00 – 7:00.) you can walk into the sun-filled store, and she is standing behind the counter rolling dough into long snakes, breaking off thumb-size pieces for gnocchi, and then rolling each on the wooden board that imprints those signature gnocchi lines. Or she is pressing tiny disks of pasta into orrechiette. On Thursdays and Saturday’s she makes ravioli. Last week’s were filled with ricotta, mascarpone, Parmigiana Reggiano, cardoons, squash blossoms, olives and basil.

Glantz makes four basic kinds of pasta: short, stuffed, long, and “pastine” – or soup pastas. She always has a whole wheat pasta made from Alprilla Farm’s milled whole wheat. Flour is now the symbol of Glantz’s conviction.

“I believe that good food should be available to everyone. When I thought about opening my own business, I thought, if I’m entering the market as someone who is honestly concerned about farm-to-table living and sustainability, I’ll start with pasta,” – a product that can make local, healthy ingredients like wheat, eggs, milk and vegetables available to everyone.

Gloucester Italians have already discovered Pastaio via Corta. The day I was there a 40-ish year old man named Caesar, wearing bright orange running shoes to match his silver and orange motor cycle helmet, sat on the bench for a good 45 minutes. He just wanted to talk about homemade ricotta cheese, a certain sign for me that Pastaio via Corta has already improved our community in many ways.

Glantz competed with this dish in last week’s Cape Ann Farmers’ Market Seafood Throwdown.  For the record, Cape Ann Fresh Catch will be selling whiting, so delicious in this summery pasta recipe, this week (8/25).

 

Seafood Throwdown Radiatore

 

Pastaio via Corta Seafood Throwdown Radiatore

serves 4 for dinner

Ingredients

1 whole whiting or 2 small (about 1/2 pound of cooked meat)

3/4 cup olive oil, divided (for fish and cherry tomatoes)

salt and pepper

1 pound Pastaio via Corta radiatore

2 tablespoons minced garlic 1 pint cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup chopped basil

1 cup squash blossoms, roughly chopped

Instructions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Heat a clean grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Rub fish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap fish securely in aluminum foil, and lay on grill. Grill for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish flakes well when checked. Remove from the grill, and open the foil slightly to stop the cooking. After it is cool enough to handle, pull the flesh from the bones, discarding the skin. You should have about a cup of fish, or to taste. Set aside.

In a large skillet heat 1/2 cup olive oil to medium high. Add garlic, and toss in the pan very briefly, for about a minute Do not brown. Add cherry tomatoes. Toss a bit with the garlic, and let cook until the tomatoes just begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Add the pasta to the water and cook for 2 minutes, if using Pastaio via Corta, or until al dente. (Boxed radiatore will take 5-7 minutes.) Drain pasta but leave a small amount of water on the pasta, just dripping a bit, and toss the pasta into the pan with the cherry tomatoes. With 2 wooden spoons, start tossing the pasta in the pan with the tomatoes. Add the fish, and keep tossing, until the pasta begins to “drape” with the liquid in the pan. (Return the pan to warm heat if necessary.) Toss in the fresh herbs, squash blossoms, and toss well again. Taste for salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Visiting Belgrade and Ayvar – Serbia’s roasted eggplant and pepper preserves

August 11th, 2016

Izzy & Milica at Kalemegdan

Anna Kareninna’s Vronsky died in Serbia. Tolstoy based Anna’s lover on a real Russian captain who had appeared on a Serbian battlefield to help the Serbs fight (once again) the Turks. But he also confessed had come to die, as he had nothing to live for, his lover gone. The Serbian General was not pleased.

The Balkan Peninsula is one of the world’s most important hallways; civilizations for thousands of years have trampled and marauded it for its value as the ultimate passageway, the parcel connecting Turkey and Austria, Europe and the Middle East, the East and West. The Balkan peninsula touches five seas – the Mediterranean, the Adriatic, the Ionian, the Aegean, and The Black. It is criss-crossed by rivers, natural highways that have made East-West trade possible, and men rich, for centuries, the stuff of empire envy. The region has basically been the ball in a game of Pickle between the Ottoman and Astro-Hungarian Empires for thousands of years.

The Balkan people could feel tired, martyred, victimized by all these years of not being left alone, being everyone’s breezeway, being neither East nor West, neither European nor Eastern. Instead, history seems to have honed their sense of irony. “Neither East nor West exist at all in a geographical sense, because the Earth is round,” is the way Balkan writer Tin Ujevic refuses this geographic fate.

Serbian writer Momo Kapor says all this east/west stuff has simply etched hard a Serbian philosophy: “Because we live between the East and the West we believe that truth and human measure are somewhere in the middle.”

I spent a week in Belgrade with my daughter, who is studying there. Belgrade is not always beautiful, but the beauty – that view across the Sava River from Fortress Kalemegdan. the feminine curve of the Danube – breaks hearts.

danube

When I landed at the Nikola Tesla Airport I took a photo of the “Welcome to Serbia” sign, and posted it on Instagram. Instantly, a friend from Gloucester commented back, “Are you in Belgrade?!” She had been here for the month, she wrote me, but was leaving the next day. “I ADORE BELGRADE!” she instagrammed me. That was how I arrived in this city. And now, without even realizing when and how it happened, I adore Belgrade, too.

Starting with history’s leading bad guy, Atila the Hun, Belgrade has been razed at least forty times; NATO bombs fell on it as recently as 1999. A 30-ish year old man my daughter met told her that he and his friends danced through the NATO bombings:

“Because of the curfew, we went to clubs during the day. We would be inside dancing, and occasionally looked outside to see where the bombs had fallen, to see what parts of our city were left, and then we’d just go back inside and keep dancing.”

wedding at Kalemegdan

The Kalamegden Fortress stands over the meeting of the Sava and Danube Rivers, marking the entire northwestern edge of Belgrade’s old city, a fortress the size of an American small town with a wall so high a fall from it would probably kill you. It dates to at least the 14th century. Today people get married within its grounds. There are cafes, and even a zoo, but those massive walls still remind how important was this seat. You see the strength and violence of the enemy in the impenetrability of those walls. Another reminder of the warfare this city has endured are the crumbling high-rise apartment shells on the occasional downtown Belgrade block, where those NATO bombs did fall. Like Kalemegden, these buildings, looking as if a wrecking ball only half-finished the job, insist that no one forgets what this city has endured. But the people DO seem to forget. They drink coffee – the streets are lined in cafes and the coffee is better than any I’ve had in France or Italy. They eat gelato. There is music everywhere – street music – mostly young people – and I mean children – casting Vivaldi and Mozart into the TRG Republic, the main city meeting place.

coffee #2

coffee

Uzitak

young violinist

I felt welcome in every cafe, on every corner, in all the shops and the one museum I found. When I asked to speak English, almost everyone looked kindly, and said, “of course,” and continued a fluid exchange with me about a coffee, or the menu, or the wifi password.

Traditional Serbian cuisine seems to reflect a culture always under attack, never enough peace time to create something beyond basic. It seems to be a mashup of 15th century “fast food,” meaning sausages and a pot of beans ready at all times to feed a warrior grabbing his bow, and a few remaining staples of a solid agrarian culture, like Kaymek and Ayvar, cultured “butter cheese” and preserved eggplant, peppers and garlic. Serbian traditional cuisine includes two – and only two – salads, and one salad is made of cheese.  Strangest to me, street vendors sell roasted, buttered corn-on-the-cob, which must be incredibly Serbian because it’s not European and it’s not Turkish. This simple Serbian fare is proudly served all over the city, particularly in Skardaljia, Belgrade’s Montmartre. My favorite Serbian table rule: only the sick eat chicken.

The city’s restaurants reflect a culture that smiles kindly but a little ironically at their traditions while lacing up their Adidas for new and urbane.  My daughter and I dined in a vegetarian restaurant called Radost, that served dinner in a back terrace with very modern planked illuminated walkways that navigated a garden of ferns, with broad library tables for communal seating, and the menus tucked into leather-bound books. We dined under a tent of red umbrellas at Manufaktura, an urbane interpretation of ultra-Serbian cuisine: cevapi, gibanica, and Kaymek – homemade meat patties, cheese pie, and butter cheese.

manufaktura umbrellas

gibanica - cheese pie

Serbian Salad at Manufaktura

cevapi - serbian sausages

Izzy and I

And we dined in two glamorous Italian and Japanese restaurants facing the Sava River. Each experience, chosen randomly with no yelping – from the food to the wines to the service – was refined, relaxed, professional and nothing less than delicious.

restaurants along the Sava

The Serbian wines I tasted – particularly the crisp whites and roses – rivaled Sancerres and Otts, (but Rakija, fruit brandies, best when homemade, is the Serbian signature beverage.)

rose at Kalemegdan

Author Momo Kapor says, “what sets Serbs apart from other western peoples is well-hidden from the sight of strangers: the winter store and household hoarding which originates from the primeval fear of going hungry in winter.”

The Belgrade Green Market, Kalenic, spilled with purple plums while I was there.  Leathery-skinned  women crouched by enormous buckets of freshly picked blackberries, selling them by the cupful.  It was early for the eggplant and peppers, but apparently Alvar, the Serbian eggplant and pepper preserve, is considered a season itself.  My daughter’s teacher, who kindly gave me the Momo Kapor book from which I got the quotes about east and west, told me that Ayvar is the best thing about September, “the whole Serbia smells like ayvar.”

The Making of Alvar means spreading spoonfuls of sunshine on Serbian cornbread or adding a bright spot to a grainy homemade sausage in December.  It is exactly what we should all be putting up in jars right now, with our own sunshine-filled eggplants and peppers beginning to emerge in farmers’ markets.

ayvar

Serbian Ayvar

makes about 2 cups – by the way, for some reason jars of Ayvar are always covered in plastic wrap; that’s part of the recipe!

Ingredients
2 large eggplants
6 red bell peppers
salt and pepper
finely chopped garlic to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice or mild vinegar
olive oil
coarsely chopped parsley

Instructions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Put the eggplant and pepper together on a baking sheet covered in parchment or aluminum foil. Roast until the skins are all charred and crinkly, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and place them under a very large bowl, or put them in a paper bag for a few minutes. This allows them to cool a bit, and steam a bit more, making it easier to remove the skins. Remove the skins either by dipping your fingers in cold water and pulling off the skin or by running the fruit under cold water if it is too difficult. Dry well afterward.
Remove the core and seeds from the peppers and finely chop the flesh. Coarsely chop the eggplant. Add these to a food processor and process lightly. Add salt, pepper and garlic to the mixture. Then add lemon juice or vinegar, and process again.
Very slowly, with the processor running, add the olive oil until the mixture thickens to a mayonnaise-like consistency.
Serve immediately spread on a shallow bowl, drizzled with more olive oil and chopped parsley, and serve with chunks of fresh bread. Mixture will keep like this in the refrigerator for a week – covered in plastic wrap and then a lid!  Alternately, spoon into sterilized jars, and process as you would for preserves.

“Sea to Supper”

August 9th, 2016

mile marker invite

August 25th, 2016 at 6:00 at the Waterfront Pavilion Tent at Mile Marker One Restaurant and Bar, Cape Ann Marina

– to benefit the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives

This dinner was originally scheduled to be on the Jodrey State Fish Pier, but due to changes in the state regulations, we’ve had to change the venue.

Thanks to the great generosity of the Mile Marker Restaurant and Bar, “Sea to Supper” will be a community dinner a mile down the road.  There will be a great menu of local fish, highlighting creative ways to prepare underloved Gloucester landed species.  We’ll talk about efforts to make these diverse species “local” again, perhaps giving fishermen more opportunities to sell their catches right in Gloucester.  Fishermen and their families will be there to answer questions:  – what’s it like to be ground fishing alone in the Gulf of Maine?  Do you ever see sharks?  Does it get lonely?  Do you love it still?

There will be short performances by Lisa Hahn, Gordon Baird, and Henry Cameron Allen.  And don’t forget the dancing! Code Blue, a rock cover band, will start up at 8:30.

$75 per person – to reserve tickets go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sea-to-supper-tickets-27004720847 or call 978-821-1590.

Here’s a peek at the working” menu:

  “Sea to Supper” All Gloucester Seafood Dinner 

to start:

Gloucester-landed Dab Ceviche served with Ryan & Woods Rum Cocktail

Pan Seared Redfish Baja Style Tacos served with Cape Ann Brewery’s freshest brew

Fried Glocuester Whiting “Fish and Chips” with Fennel Remoulade 

“Sasquatch” Smoked  Hake Pate served with Wood Wheat Whiskey  

second course:

Grilled Gloucester Whiting with Tomatoes and Arugula, Lemon and pinenuts  

third course:

“Cape Ann Bouillabaisse”

-Assorted Local Fish and Shellfish in Lobster-Tomato Broth

dessert

Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Tiramisu

Summer Means Whiting in Ipswich Bay

July 21st, 2016

 steamer

 

Many people reading this blog will say whiting is old news. And it is; the whiting fishery in Gloucester was once so important that many families made a living fishing nothing but Gulf of Maine shrimp in the winter and whiting in the summer. They didn’t even bother with ground fish; shrimp and whiting provided a comfortable enough living for a fisherman’s family. Gloucester whiting went directly to the Fulton Fish Market in New York City, where vendors from New York and Philadelphia purchased almost all of it. Jewish cultures smoke it and serve it with bagels; the Spanish split it, grill it, and drizzle it with olive oil. In Sicily whiting is considered a definitive delicacy and sells for many euros a pound.

I spoke to Gloucester fisherman Al Cottone, Executive Director Gloucester Fisheries Commission, at the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives offices after his fourth day fishing for whiting. A strapping, dark-haired 50 years old, Cottone confessed he was beat. He’s not used to the unrelenting action fishing for whiting demands anymore.
Cottone has been fishing since he was 17, and has never had any other kind of work. But his ground fish quota this year, allocated by NOAA, was pared down to almost nothing: Cottone is allowed to catch 1,800 pounds of cod, 2,800 pounds of dabs, 3,000 pounds of grey sole, and 2,400 pounds of yellow tail flounder for the year. He has been ground fishing two times since the season began, when the allocations were announced in early March. In just two “tows,” meaning two drops of the net – that means ground fishing for four hours in total – he landed 700 pounds of grey sole, 600 pounds of dabs, and 300 pounds of yellow tail. In four hours of fishing he landed 1/4 of his quota for the year.

This means two things: Cottone cannot catch enough fish to make a living, unless he begins leasing quota from other fishermen, which has added costs. (Cottone says that many fishermen are so fed up, or they are just leasing their allocated quota to the few fishermen left, and finding other work.) It also means Cottone is out of shape; he just hasn’t had enough fishing practice recently.
But Cottone loves fishing for whiting.

“I fell in love with it immediately. Fishing for whiting is constant work; it’s constant action. You’re moving constantly, fishing the whole time. There’s no time to eat, no time to do anything, and you fish everyday.”

Ground fishing is long tows that take a couple of hours each. Fishing for whiting means short tows that take an hour at most. As soon as the catch is landed on the deck the other partner begins sorting the catch, while the net goes down again. Whiting fishing requires two men, one to run the boat and tows, the other to sort the catch. Most ground fishing these days is done solo, a particularly dangerous situation.
Cottone fished for whiting on the FV Razzo with Captain Joe Randazzo for four days. They did three tows, and landed 6,000 pounds the first day, 7,500 the second, and 6,000 the third, Thursday, the last day, rough seas limited the catch to 4,500 pounds. NOAA allows 7,500 pounds of whiting per day per boat. Ipswich Bay, where Cottone was fishing, is teaming with whiting.

The whiting first show up in the middle of June. Cottone says he doesn’t know where they come from. When they disappear in October, they are gone – just gone – until the following June.

“When I started fishing,” Cottone said, “we would only fish for ground fish in the spring. We fished whiting from June to November, and Gulf of Maine shrimp all winter. Now the shrimp fishery is gone.”

And whiting in Gloucester is news again. When the Fulton Fish Market in New York closed down in its old site, the Gloucester whiting market lost its market, and the fishery faded away. Now, with the ground fish quota so spare, and the whiting fishery so healthy, fishermen are pairing up to go for whiting again.
But it’s a grind, Cottone reminds. And most of the fishermen left, the ones who just can’t stop fishing, are not young. With all the ground fish conflicts and closures of the last twenty years, a generation has been lost. John Sanfilippo, 70, and his brother-in-law Joe Orlando, 62, are the ones out there in Ipswich Bay beside the “Razzo,” dropping nets and sorting fish on the FV San Pio.

Captain Joe Orlando

John Sanfilippo on boat

 

“I don’t know how they do it,” Cottone says.

 

Whiting are sorted in three sizes, small, large and king, the last of which are usually more valuable.

sorting the catch

king whiting

 

Maybe it is the light texture and super-mild flavor, but Italians consider whiting health food. One Gloucester fisherman’s wife even believed it should be sold commercially as baby food. In the past month I have poached it in an infused olive oil, and served it over crispy paella. I have fried it so the skin is very crispy and served it with a fermented sofrito sauce. I have dusted it in flour, fried it, and served it with the cool, spicy Portuguese molho vilhao sauce – lots of diced raw onion, chilis and white vinegar. I have dipped it in vodka, rolled it in cornstarch and flour, and fried it to super-crispy. I served that with a black garlic, hoisin style sauce. I also prepared a winning recipe for whiting from a seafood throw down last season, Common Crow chefs’ recipe for whiting in lettuce cups with rice noodles and peanut sauce.

Danielle Glantz, from Pasta via Corta, the new cheese and pasta shop in Gloucester, gave me a recipe for steaming it in grape leaves, and serving the whiting with a lemon and olive-cured black olive salsa. Angela Sanfilippo would say that fresh whiting is so delicate and delicious that doing the least to it is the best way: dust small whiting lightly in flour and fry them or steam them and dress with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Maybe garlic.  Versatility, thy name is “whiting.”

simple fried whiting

crispy fried whiting

But here’s the thing. Currently, New York is the only market receiving whiting. I wrote this blog in the first week of July. This week, July 11th, Joe Orlando was heading out fishing and the New York market called him to say, “don’t go.” The whiting market was flooded, and the price was down to pennies. So the boats returned to the dock, while people in Gloucester who would love this fresh, seasonal catch, can’t get it. These are the complex vagaries of the fishing industry today.

But I am going to leave you with the Rung McLean’s recipe for Thai Fish Cups.  Chefs Rung McClean and Mark Delaney of the Common Crow Natural Food Market, Gloucester, MA, took home the seafood throw down win with this ravishing Thai inspired dish: steamed delicate whiting, a nest of rice noodles, nestle into a burst of Boston lettuce leaves. A sweet-hot Thai chili-peanut dressing is spooned over the fish, and a cool watermelon/fennel salad, dressed in a purple-basil vinegar dressing, is spooned beside.

McClean wrapped the whole whiting in foil, and steamed it while she prepped the sauce, noodles, and greens. Any small to medium whole white fish could be used the same way, like pollock, haddock, hake or even halibut.  This is a light, fresh recipe that uses a lot of local produce, and it includes all the flavors no one can refuse.  As watermelon comes into the markets, the salad alone is great recipe to have on hand.

 

Thai Whiting Cups

Thai Fish Cups
prepared at the Cape Ann Farmers’ Market Seafood Throwdown, August, 2015
Serves 6

For the Fish:
2 whole king whiting, or 3-4 pounds other whole fish or 2-3 pounds fillets (If you can find medium-sized whole fish that’s great.  But you can steam fillets in the foil also.)
olive oil for rubbing
salt and pepper
6 fennel fronds

For the sauce:
6 Thai chilies, seeds and ribs removed, diced small
2 red bell peppers diced small
5 cloves of garlic crushed, and made into a paste
11/2 cups sugar
11/2 cups rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup crushed peanuts

For the salad:
2 tablespoons purple basil vinegar (or herb vinegar of your choice)
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 large fennel bulb thinly sliced
1 seedless watermelon either red or yellow diced small
1 lb. arugula

1/2 pound white rice noodles or brown rice vermicelli

1 fluffy head Boston Lettuce
1 bunch Thai Basil
1 bunch cilantro
For the fish:
1. Rinse and scale the whole whiting. Lightly score both sides. Rub both sides and cavity with olive oil, salt and pepper. In the cavity place fennel fronds. Loosely wrap fish in tin foil, almost tent-like, so the fish will steam inside the foil (- much like fish cooked in parchment paper en papillote style). Place foil package over a medium-high grill or place in a 400 degree oven. Roast for 20 minutes, or peek, opening up the foil, and checking to see that the meat is cooked through completely. If done, open foil package to stop the steaming, and allow the fish to cool slightly. When ready to serve, take forks and pull away large chunks of fish, discarding the skin. Set 2-3 large chunks (about 1/4 pound in total) upon the lettuce leaves, and continue with the plate.

For the sauce:
1. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients and reserve.

For the salad:
1. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a glass measuring cup. Toss fennel, watermelon and arugula together in a large bowl, and coat lightly with vinaigrette.

For the Noodles:
Prepare as directed on package. Rinse, and set aside.

Garnish:
1 bunch Thai Basil
1 bunch cilantro

To Assemble the Dish:
1. Place a large Boston lettuce leaf or two on each plate. Set on that a portion of cooked rice noodles, a portion of steamed fish, draping all in the sauce. Place a portion of the watermelon/fennel/arugula salad beside the greens, and garnish with a few basil and cilantro leaves and a pinch more of the crushed peanuts.

Gloucester Fisherman’s Wife Seafood Casserole

July 3rd, 2016

GFWA cass

 

The fishing industry today has copious layers obscuring its comprehension (which some people view as intentional; if no one understands what’s going on, they can’t protest the regulations), starting with quotas and ending in catch shares. Fishing policy is byzantine and often seems contradictory, resulting in a cloud of thought hovering over the average consumer’s brain that looks like this at the fish counter:

I should eat fish because it’s good for me, but local fish is so expensive. But everyone says I shouldn’t eat cheap imported fish. But there are fish, specifically wild salmon, on the USDA food pyramid. The USDA is telling me to eat more fish, at the same time the government tells me that the fishing industry is dying. All kinds of people say that salmon is packed with omega 3‘s, and I should be eating lots of it. But not farmed salmon. Is salmon not fish?!

Leaving a salmon discussion out of it for now, no one understands anymore what fish to eat, or who are the good and bad guys in the fishing story. Sadly, since the 1990’s, the narrative being told throughout the media was so simple a kindergartner could understand it: the fishermen fish too much, and that’s why there are no fish left.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently held a two day workshop in Gloucester, a workshop called “Local Food Local Places,” created to help cities improve their local food systems. Historically Gloucester’s most important local food, fish, headlined the conversation. The participants at the workshop struggled to chart ideas for innovating the local fishing market in Gloucester. Those ideas will result in a report that Jason Espie, who directed the workshop on behalf of the EPA, will create. That report will be delivered to the White House.

Just weeks before St. Peter’s Festival and the blessing of the fleet, the fishermen in attendance at the workshop looked tired and depressed, as if they had seen all this before. They had attended too many meetings and tried to fight too many losing battles, and were still being defeated by government policies based on that much too simple, way too consumable tale: fishermen fish too much, and are destroying the ocean.

At the workshop, describing this battle to the other attendants, fisherman Joe Orlando told the story of how his own daughter once came home from Gloucester elementary school crying, accusing her father, who comes from generations of fishermen, of destroying the ocean. Again, a story so simple a kindergartner can understand it.  David Pierce, then Director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, had asked a room full of Gloucester school children how many believed over-fishing had destroyed the ocean; 90% of the children raised their hands.

Angela Sanfilippo, the daughter of a fishermen, the wife of a fisherman, and Joe Orlando’s sister, also participated in the EPA workshop.  Sanfilippo has been the outspoken and influential president of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association since 1977. From the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association Cookbook, written by Susan Pollack, here is a list of what Sanfilippo had accomplished by the time the book was published in 2010:

“On Angela’s watch, among other accomplishment, the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association has helped bring about improved safety standards on US vessels, the end of ocean dumping, a ban on destructive factory trawlers, the first subsidized health plan for fishermen (upon which the Affordable Care Act was based), and a marine sanctuary at Stellwagen Bank.”

This is just the beginning of a long, rich story that disproves the short narrative about which those school children were surveyed.

I recently heard another daughter of a commercial fishermen, Emily Peterson of the podcast Sharp & Hot, say, “ like any other species, the best way to keep fish alive is to harvest and eat them.”

It is possible, as Angela SanFilippo is proving, to be a fishermen and the ocean’s best partner.

Watch for actions that resulted from the Local Food-Local Places workshop soon, but in the meantime, seek out local fish in the market, demand local fish at your favorite restaurant – even if it does cost a little more. You will be reminded of what honestly fresh fish tastes like and you will be rewarded in deliciousness; you will ask why you ever settled for “refreshed” (read: frozen) imported fish.

Lastly, greet your local fishermen with kindness, and stop accepting that suspiciously simplistic fish tale.

Here is a rich, delicious recipe from Angela; make it if you can with local lobster and scallops. If you can’t find USA wild caught shrimp, which I have been able to purchase frozen in Stop & Shop, simply omit the shrimp and make this with equal parts lobster and scallops; it’s even better that way. This recipe is also delicious, Angela says, made with monkfish cut into 1” chunks. Don’t scream, but I have been cooking with sea robin fillets recently, a fish the French feature in their most traditional bouillabaisse. They would be great here, as would layered dabs or flounder.

cass on table

Fishermen’s Wives Seafood Casserole

serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter + butter to rub in the dish

1 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh red chile (or 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes)

1/2 -3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

pinch of salt

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes

1/2 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs (or Panko)

1 cup grated Romano cheese

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound fresh lobster meat (cooked)

3/4 pound raw scallops, rinsed, patted dry, and halved if very large

3/4 pound cooked shrimp, halved if large, preferably wild caught in the USA

Instructions:

  1.  Rub a medium size, approximately 2 quart, glass or ceramic baking dish generously with butter. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Heat a large saute pan to medium heat, and add olive oil and butter. When butter is melted, add onion and cook until almost transparent, about 10 minutes. (Lower heat if onion is browning too quickly.) Add garlic, and cook for 5 more minutes. Add chiles, parsley and salt, and cook until onions begin to brown. Add tomatoes and let the dish cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until the tomatoes have lost their raw taste.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, cheese, and black pepper. In a separate bowl toss the seafood together. When the tomatoes mixture is cooked, add the breadcrumbs into the pan and gently stir together. The mixture will thicken. Toss that into the seafood bowl, and combine all together well. (Use your hands if that works best. The mixture will be stiff.) Pour into the prepared dish, distributing evenly. Pat down to even out the top as best you can. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the dish is bubbling at the edges and bits on the top are slightly browned. This dish is actually a little more flavorful when allowed to cool slightly.

Rockport’s Midsommar Festival!

June 17th, 2016

swedish-midsummer

The Annual Midsommar Festival is being held by Spiran Lodge #98 on Saturday, June 25 from 11 AM to 2 PM at Spiran Hall at the corner of Broadway and School St. in Rockport.  Nisu and scandinavian pasteries, Swedish meatballs, strawberries and cream, hot dogs and Swedish hamburgers, and Scandinavian gifts will be available.  Entertainment will be provided by the Finnish folk singing group HYVAA.  Come and enjoy a taste of Nordic culture to start summer 2016.

This photo is Sweden, not Rockport, but you get the idea.

The Best Bacon.

June 17th, 2016

BLT salad

 

Make Dad the best bacon in the world for breakfast.  Or make him the best BLT, or if he’s skipping carbs make this BLT Salad draped in homemade blue cheese dressing.: all-natural, no nitrate, chemical free, hand rubbed, applewood smoked from Pennsylvania Amish pigs, created by a guy from New Jersey who grew up kosher.

He’s participated on Chopped. He is a savant with flavors, and has developed his own line of rubs that are nothing short of molecular gastronomy. Jewish kosher thing aside, (and it IS aside!) no one – NO ONE – is as passionate about bacon and grilling meat than Doug Keiles.

A Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned team, he and his crew (which sometimes includes local darling Laurie Lufkin!) travel on weekends to super-charged barbecue competitions and firey catering gigs, where he makes people very, very happy. In June, the team came in 3rd and 4th overall in the first three of the season’s Kansas City Barbecue Competitions in Staten Island, Ridgefield, CT., and Green Lane, PA., taking home the blue ribbon for pork in Green Lane.

Ribs Within bacon is exactly balanced – again, that molecular gastronomy strength Keiles intuitively has.  The beautiful Amish-raised meat flavor is entirely present; it tastes partnered with salt, sweet and smokey, not consumed by it.  This is the blue ribbon, the ultimate, the gold standard of bacon.  Dad’s eggs might be embarrassed beside it.

Since I am late in posting this, you probably won’t receive your bacon by Father’s Day, but don’t let that stop you. If yours is a bacon household, run don’t walk to Ribs Witihin.

Ribs Within

To order, and find out more go here:  http://www.ribswithin.com/

Rhubarb Cocktail, MV

May 25th, 2016

Rum Cocktail-10480

photo by Allan Penn

 

It is hard to find glamour in rhubarb. New Englanders desperate for spring tramp across mud-covered fields with a sharp knife in their pocket, ready to cut stalks from the domes of pan-sized leaves at the edge of the yard. They collect the ruby stalks so happy to have a harvest that isn’t a root, that bears the tang and juice of freshness, that no one cares at first how much sugar it takes to bribe the chopped pieces into being dessert.

In the beginning, we’re so happy for spring tastes that we don’t even make pie; we stop at rhubarb compote, yes with lots of brown sugar, topped with ice cream, cream or even just yogurt.

But, later, as spring days honestly warm, and seep into summer, the rhubarbs stalks mean more than winter’s release. They’re appreciated again for the uniqueness and strength of their tang. Come June, we get a little free and easy with our rhubarb; it becomes strawberry rhubarb pie, rhubarb upside down cake, and, in this case, a wonderful spring cocktail, recipe from The Malkins of Martha’s Vineyard: rhubarb getting glamourous.  – reprinted from my book, “In Cod We Trust, from sea to shore, the celebrated cuisine of coastal Massachusetts.”

Make the rhubarb syrup

Ingredients

8-10 rhubarb stalks

1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon, or to taste, grated fresh ginger

1” water, or to cover

Instructions

  1.  Chop rhubarb stalks into 1″ pieces and place in saucepan.  Add sugar (use more rather than less as you can always add more sugar at any point in time while it is cooking).  It should be sweet, but not overpoweringly so.  Taste as you go, so you can see if you like the sweetness.  You don’t really want to taste the original tartness of the rhubarb.
  2. You can add fresh grated ginger if you want at this point.  Less ginger for a hint – more to give it a peppery kick. Add water – enough to more than wet the bottom of the pan; say an inch or so. The rhubarb will produce a large amount of liquid, so a lot of water isn’t necessary.  The only downside of adding too much water is that the syrup will be somewhat diluted,though still tasty.  Plus, if the brew is looking too thick and jammy, you can add water during the stewing.  Cook on the stove top on medium low for approximately 20 mins. When the mixture is completely soft and the rhubarb pieces have lost all of their shape, remove from the burner.
  3. Once cool, push through a fine sieve with the back of a wooden spoon or a rubber scraper/spatula to extract as much of the liquid as possible.  It should be very syrupy – roughly the consistency of maple syrup.  It may be kind of frothy.  This is fine. Store in a container in the refrigerator. It should keep a few weeks.
  4. To make the cocktail: Ingredients 2 ounces rhubarb syrup (above) 1 – 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1 1/2 ounces rum several ice cubes Instructions 1. Pour into a shaker syrup, lime juice, rum and ice cubes.  Shake well and strain/pour.  Garnish with fresh mint and/or a lime slice .  Makes 1 cocktail.

Calamari Season!

May 19th, 2016

dirty squid

 

While woody Chilean strawberries continue to mock the seasons from their shelves in large chain grocery stores, more and more farmers are tilling local soil. More and more farmers’ markets are setting up on town greens and in parking lots allowing us to purchase local, seasonal food. Our children know better when and how strawberries grow. The principle of eating from the calendar, eating seasonal local foods, has thankfully, at least in some communities, survived big supermarket’s grip.

Not so much for fish.

Rarely anymore does a fish market or the fish counter of a grocery store reflect what is seasonal and local. Most fish markets fill their cases with haddock, cod, Chilean sea bass, tuna, swordfish, and some shrimp and oysters all year long. Almost never do we feel either the absence of a fish out of season or the arrival of a fish in season because there is always Norway, Iceland, and Southeast Asia to fill the gaps. The local food movement is leagues ahead of the fish local movement, but the same principles apply.

Enough preaching. Here is a great local catch we should all be eating right now!

Late April – early May is squid season, as regular as lilacs. New England fishermen say that when the buds pop out on the trees the squid “come in,” and all the fish follow. Longfin Inshore Squid, or Doryteuthis pealeii, also known as Loligo pealeii, spend their winters in deeper waters along the edge of the Continental Shelf. Their arrival inshore – they come to spawn – marks the start of spring for those living close to the Nantucket Sound waters. For the fishermen, the squid are like the gunshot in the air declaring the start of the year’s fishing season.

Jared Auerbach, CEO and owner of Red’s Best Fish Distributors, said that all the Cape Cod fishermen he dealt with are landing squid right now. If they aren’t landing squid they are landing fluke with bellies and mouths full of squid.

“This is a sweet time; everything is coming in from off shore or coming North. The water temperatures are up. The boats area all in Nantucket Sound, because the squid have arrived there,” and with them everything else.

All winter the fishing in Nantucket Sound has been punctual but not thrilling. The squid return every year to these waters to spawn, and every year the fish follow.

“From late April, early May to December we are shining!” Auerbach grins. And it’s dramatic:

“The squid light up and change colors in the water,” Auerbach said, “when they attack they are vicious! They come on deck and squirt you with ink, and I mean, they attack!”

After squid spawn, they return to deeper waters, retreating from the paths of rapacious striped bass and bluefish; almost all New England fish consider squid a favorite meal.  People say the best tasting squid are the ones in Nantucket Sound and particularly off Point Judith, R.I., because they’ve been feeding on fish that have been eating blue-green algae, which sweetens everything.

The best testament to squid deliciousness comes from the chef/owner of the Italian restaurant Erbaluce in the Back Bay, Charles Draghi. Draghi, who has a classical chef’s training, still approaches cuisine with the Old World Italian ways of his Peidmontese relatives; he sources produce almost exclusively from local farms and farmers markets, and calls his fishermen friends each morning to ask what they’re catching.

At a recent Seafood Throwdown Draghi seared local squid rings and tentacles in a hot pan, and then tossed them in a black olive, saffron and fresh herb sauce. Praising the flavor therein, Draghi said, “you know squid are delicious because they are the absolute favorite food of striped bass, and stripers have their choice of anything in the sea!”

My squid came from the FV Rimrack out of Portsmouth, NH.  Fisherwoman Amanda Parks met me in a Portsmouth parking lot with 60 pounds of freshly caught squid destined for a bunch of happy Cape Ann kitchens.  Parks was as happy about the squid season as Auerbach, and had already created a bunch of squid recipes right on the boat.

The recipe below is meant to be a super-quick way to tuck calamari into a dish that everyone loves: tacos. The mild, sweet taste of calamari welcomes the strong flavors of chilis and lime. Add some cool slaw and a toasted corn tortilla and this is an easy, light, and unusual vehicle for this great local seafood.

squid tacos 2

 

Chili Lime Calamari Tacos

2 pounds cleaned squid, bodies cut into 3/4” widths and tentacles

2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for cooking the squid)

3 tablespoons minced garlic zest from

3 limes

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher)

4 cups shredded cabbage (a mix of purple and green is ideal)

1 cup cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon diced jalapeno

juice from 3 limes (about 3 tablespoons)

16 small corn tortillas

1 medium avocado, halved and cut into thin slices

sea salt more

chili powder for dusting

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl toss together squid, olive oil, garlic, lime zest, red pepper flakes, chili powder, cayenne, and sea salt. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, but no more than 1 hour.
  2. In a separate large bowl toss together the cabbage, cilantro, jalapeno, and lime juice. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, or up to an hour.
  3. When ready to prepare the tacos, begin warming the tortillas: Preheat oven to “warm” or lowest temperature.  Lay out a clean dish towel in which to wrap the heated tortillas. Set out a bowl of water.
  4. Heat a large skillet to medium high. Add a shimmer of olive oil.
  5. Dip each tortilla in the water and then immediately into the hot pan. Allow them to get hot, and brown, and then turn over. Let cook 1 minute, and then remove to the dish towel.
  6. Wrap them, place them in the oven, and continue with the rest. Keep warm until the squid is ready.
  7. To cook the squid, heat a pan that will hold them in a single layer, or use two pans, to high heat. Pour a shimmer of olive oil in the pan, and heat to high. Add the squid in one layer, and do not touch! Let the squid sit in the pan on high heat for about 1 1/2 minutes. Once they squid has solid brown marks, move them gently in the pan, turning to brown the other sides.
  8. Cook like this for 3-5 minutes, but no more, until the squid are sort of scorched in places, cooked through, but not tough. The garlic may scorch in the pan by the end, but just leave that there. It has done its job of seasoning the squid.
  9. To assemble the taco, lay out a tortilla, top with a scoop of cole slaw, and then 4-5 pieces of squid. Lay a slice of avocado over the squid, and dust with salt and chili powder. Serve immediately.

Cloumage Coffee Cake

May 12th, 2016

 

Cloumage Cake photo Allen Penn

photo by Allan Penn

(Reprinted from “In Cod We Trust”)

Shy Brothers Farm The long gray dairy barn sits atop Sherman Hill in Westport, MA; the Santos Family cows – Holsteins and Ayrshires – roam in pastures all around. The 120 cow herd can stand chewing their cud looking in the distance to the West Branch of the Westport River. Too far to see but close enough to feel its breezes and be stopped by its salt-tinged fog, the East Branch of the Westport River juts northward into a pastured and stonewall-laced landscape east of the Santos Dairy Barn, also known as Shy Brothers Farm.

From this windy crest of hill, where the Santos family has been milking their cows for three generations, Main Rd. runs south quickly. In less than three miles the elevation drops from 2000 feet above sea level to 200 feet at Westport Point, where those two river branches meet. Just across Westport Harbor is Horseneck Beach State Reservation.

Westport, Massachusetts is 64 square miles in total, and one fifth of those miles is water. A town that seems to be nothing but pasture land threaded with salt water estuaries, Westport was once the dairy farming center of Massachusetts, a bucolic combination of sea breezes and sweet grasses; cows loved Westport and proved it with a plentiful flow of high-quality milk. As recently as the year 2000 there were still fourteen dairy farms trucking milk out of Westport; now there are two.

This is the story of how the Santos family reinvented themselves to become Shy Brothers Farm, a third-generation Westport milk-producer turned maker of award-winning cheeses, now with a Whole Foods contract. And, yet, they are still the Santos family – two sets of twin brothers, one set 52 years old, the other just turned 50, who mostly want to do what they’ve been doing since they were kids. Norman milks the cows. Arthur feeds them. Kevin runs the machinery, and now Karl, who is famous for fact-keeping, makes the cheese.

Barbara Hanley, a friend who was brought in to consult the brothers on how to not be one more failed Westport dairy farm, helped them make the transition from dairy to cheese. She and Karl traveled to Burgundy, France together in 2006, looking for a cheese style that would suit the Santos dairy. Hannahbells, named for Hannah, the boys mother, is a small thimble-shaped or bell-shaped soft cheese made with fresh Shy Brothers cows milk and lactic bacteria. In Burgundy they are called “buttones de culottes” or “trouser buttons.” Hannahbells are soft, mellow and come in shallot, lavender, rosemary, and classic French flavors. Small enough to put four of them, quickly warmed in the oven, on top of a frisee salad with toasted walnuts for one person’s luscious salad, Hannahbells win the “Dainty doesn’t Mean Dull” award for cheeses; these little thimbles may be adorable, but the flavor they deliver is old world aged, the perfect bite with an aperitif.

Cloumage is a creamy cheese that comes in a tub, to start. It has the texture of baked ricotta, but with the yeast of champagne and acidic tang that makes it a superpower in the kitchen. Cloumage is eaten straight, with almost anything from fresh pears to roasted peppers or simply strewn with fresh chives. It can bind lobster; it can stuff a pepper, rise in a soufflee, even bake into a luxurious coffee cake. Some Westport chefs say they have yet to find a place in the kitchen that Cloumage doesn’t improve.

Where there is sour cream, cream cheese, ricotta, or creme fraiche substitute Cloumage, and that dish will always be better. As the cheese making began to grow, and Hanley began to give presentations about the farm, people at an event would ask, “where are these brothers; can we meet them?” Hanley would confess, “well, they are shy.” And so the dairy has been famously – and honestly – renamed, “Shy Brothers Farm.”

Hanley gave me a tour of the cheese making operation and then took me to see the family farm, the dairy barn, and to meet the cows. Hanley pointed to a small house where Arthur and Norman live next door. I asked how they felt about the contract with Whole Foods, and about all the excitement buzzing among chefs using the Shy Brothers cheeses; Hanley paused for a second, and then said, “I don’t think they even know; all those boys want to do is take care of the cows, they way they have all their lives.”

Katie’s Cloumage Coffee Cake

serves 10

Katie Martin is Karl Santos’ cheese making assistant; a single mother of five, Katie is Shy Brothers Cheese’s fiercest defender. (Just try to mention another cheese-maker in the hallowed Cloumage and Hannahbell-making room!) Martin loves proving the superpowers of Cloumage; the cheese could become famous if only for this outrageously moist and tangy Cloumage Coffee Cake.

Ingredients

Layer Mixture:

3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup walnuts

Cake Batter: 16 oz Cloumage

1 cup sugar

2 sticks butter, softened

2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 10″ bundt pan with vegetables oil.

Mix sugar and cinnamon together well, then stir in walnuts to evenly distribute.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer on medium speed combine Cloumage, sugar, and butter.  Then add vanilla and eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the Cloumage mixture to make the cake batter.  Stir gently just to combine.

Place 1/3 of the cake batter in the Bundt pan.  Layer with 1/2 of the nut mixture. Then repeat until you have three layers of batter and two of crumb mixture. Bake for an hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before inverting.