Archive for July, 2014

Sullivan Maple Syrup Overnight Baked French Toast

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Maple syrup does not traditionally list as one of Mid-July’s bounties, but it should, because almost all farmers’ markets across the region have a stand, or a section of a stand, dedicated to family-collected pints of this blue ribbon local food.  Only lobster, steamers, cod and maybe Jerusalem Artichokes can rival maple syrup for the longest local legs.

Tim Sullivan grew up in Pigeon Cove, lives in W. Gloucester now, and, most importantly collects maple syrup from maple trees with 400 taps in Weld, ME.  What began as a tiny evaporator on a wood stove evolved to a commercial evaporator in a Sullivan-built sugar house.  Sullivan and his wife, Ruth, decorate their Rockport Farmers’ Market table with maple leaves every Saturday, and set the liquid gold they collected all through that dark early spring out for people to buy.  (Sullivan is also the Rockport Farmers’ Market official bag-piper, and opens every market at 9:00 with a stroll through the vendors.)

 

Here is a recipe that reminds you to pick up an extra pint or quart of family farm maple syrup at a farm stand or farmers‘ market this week.  A make-the-night-before-bake-the-next-morning French Toast dish, this is a wonderful summer breakfast for a houseful of your favorite guests.   This looks and tastes golden and delicious, with a maple laced crust on the bottom.  If you’re feeling like upping the “local” ante, select a bread from your farmers’ market; Anadama bread would be delicious; just remember to lay it down in one layer, not over-lapping, so that all the pieces absorb the maple syrup.  Appleton Farm milk and local eggs would give you locavore bragging rights as this comes out of the oven, although after one bite of this warm, maple-crusted souffle, your family and guests will probably have stopped listening.

 

 

Sullivan Farm Maple Syrup Baked French Toast

serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 cup maple syrup

1 loaf French Bread, sliced 1” thick

3 eggs

3 egg whites

1 1/2 cups skim milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, divided

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

3/4 cup slivered almonds

Instructions

  1. Butter a 13”x9” baking dish.  Pour in the maple syrup, and distribute over the bottom evenly.  Place the dry bread, round-down, over the syrup.
  2.   In a bowl, combine the eggs, egg whites, milk, vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.  Beat until mixed; pour over bread, pressing to make sure it soaks in.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.
  4.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Remove bread from refrigerator, and sprinkle with remaining nutmeg and cinnamon, and the sliced almonds.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden and puffy.

 

Galvanized Bluefish, or Vinha D’Alhos

Monday, July 7th, 2014

 

The word “galvanized,” with its steely, strong, clean implications, is a great word to use for anything on a hot summer day.  “Galvanized” is exactly the term cooks use when they marinate fish or pork in this famous Portuguese vinegar and garlic marinade; call it Vinha D’Alhos, or vinya thyle, if you’re Portuguese or Azorean, or if you happen to live in New Bedford.  In New Bedford, the Portuguese community is so vital the city is home to the largest Portuguese Festival in the world, The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament in early August, where Carne de Vinho e Alhos – “delicious pork cubes marinating in Madeira wine, garlic and Portuguese spices and herbs and cooked to perfection” is served to thousands.

Literally translated, Vinha D’Alhos means “wine of garlic.”  (Yes, the festival version translates as wine and garlic, but the original dish is wine of garlic.) The Portuguese were clearly aware of this fragrant allium’s promises.  Originally used to preserve fish and meats, the marinade’s resulting deliciousness has outlived its use as a preservative, according to Howard Mitchum in The Provincetown Seafood Cookbook.  The recipe was just too good to give up with the invention of the refrigerator.

This is truly a wonderfully simple if not transformative recipe to have on hand in the summer; an easy alchemy of vinegar, water (wine is a little more elegant) garlic, onions and some spices can reinvent a plain pork chop to a meltingly tender, garlic-infused grilled dinner, a “transcendental pork chop,” declares Mitchum.  The Portuguese love treating pork this way, and are free-wheeling with the marinade, letting the chops soak for up to three days.   This must be tried.

But the delicacy of sole, halibut, even redfish and very fresh bluefish seems particularly happy to dance with the staccato of vinegar, garlic and onions.  Marinate any of these fish for up to an hour; pat them dry, and broil or grill as you would.  Even breaded and fried a piece of “galvanized” cod is delicious.  If you are inclined to sauté the marinated fish in a pan, Mitchum recommends using salt pork or bacon fat instead of butter, which may curdle from the vinegar.

My fish of choice was a very fresh bluefish, which, fingers crossed, will soon be so plentiful we will be begging for a new way to prepare them.

 

 

 

Vinha D’Alhos

marinade for 4 pork chops or 2 pounds fish

Ingredients

2 cups water (or white wine)

1 cup vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 bay leaves, crumbled

5-6 well-crushed garlic cloves

1 medium onion, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons commercial fish boil seasoning or pickling spice

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Pour into a glass baking dish or a plastic tub, something in which the pork or fish can marinate in one layer.  Marinate pork for up to 3 days.  Marinate fish for 1 hour, no longer.
  2.   Before cooking, blot the meat or fish dry.  Broil or grill the chops as you normally would.  Fish can be grilled, broiled, breaded and fried, or sauteed.  Feel free to drizzle marinade over all once cooked.