Posts Tagged ‘Tinky Weisblat’

Come Up and See Me Sometime!

9 November 2009

trywebt

 
Hello, Readers……..
  
This blog has actually moved (including all the posts below) to a new location. There you will find not just my work before April 2009 but also lots of new recipes and essays. I hope you’ll visit me there.
  
Here’s the link.
 
See you in the kitchen!
 
 
Tinky
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Maple-Oatmeal Bread

30 March 2009

bread2web4

 
A Note to Readers:
 
 
This blog has moved. For newer posts plus copies of all the old ones (even this one!), please visit me at the All-New IN OUR GRANDMOTHERS’ KITCHENS.
  
Tinky
 
I have one final entry for Massachusetts Maple Month. This is one of my favorite breads in the world—slightly sweet and filling. I always make a mess when I knead bread. How flour ends up on my face, I really don’t know! Luckily, the end product is worth the clean-up work. 

 

 

Ingredients:

 

1 cup old-fashioned oats (do not use quick or steel cut)

2 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon butter

1 packet (about 2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast (not instant)

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons salt

5-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (more or less)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions:

 

Place the oats in a large mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over them, add the butter, and let the oatmeal stand for about 15 minutes, until it is lukewarm. After the first 10 minutes, place the yeast in a small bowl. Cover it with the lukewarm water. Allow it to bubble up for a few minutes.

 

When the oatmeal is lukewarm, stir in the maple syrup, the salt, the yeast with its water, and 2 cups of the flour. Stir vigorously; then add 2 cups more flour. Stir again vigorously for a minute or two; get as close to beating as you can with a mixture this heavy. Scoop up the dough (add a bit of flour if it won’t hold together to scoop), and place it on a kneading surface—a floured board or a silicone mat.

 

Knead the dough for 2 minutes, adding a little more flour to keep it from sticking to the surface and your hands. After those first 2 minutes, let the dough rest for up to 10 minutes; then resume kneading, adding more flour as needed. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until the dough feels smooth.

 

Place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a warm, damp dish towel. Let the dough rise until it doubles in bulk; this should take about 2 hours, depending on how warm the room is. If your towel dries out during the rising, be sure to dampen it again.

 

Remove the covering from the bowl, and punch down on the dough once with your fist. This lets out a lot of the air. (It’s also fun.) Cut the dough in half, and shape each half into a ball. Butter 2 bread pans, and shape each ball into an oval about the same size as your pans. Smooth the balls as well as you can with your hands.

 

Place the bread loaves in the buttered pans, and turn them over so that both the tops and the bottoms have touched the butter. Cover the pans with a damp towel as you did the rising bowl, and allow the loaves to rise again until they double in bulk. This should take a little less time than the first rising, perhaps an hour or so.

 

After 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. When the loaves have finished rising, uncover them, and bake them for about 40 to 45 minutes, until they are a warm brown color and sound hollow when you tap on them. Remove the hot loaves from the pans, and let them cool on racks.

 

Makes 2 loaves.

 

bread1web1

Maple Musings (and Maple-Glazed Carrots!)

22 March 2009

sap2web1

 
A Note to Readers:
 
 
This blog has moved. For newer posts plus copies of all the old ones (even this one!), please visit me at the All-New IN OUR GRANDMOTHERS’ KITCHENS.
  
Tinky
 
Pardon me if I wax slightly sappy in this post. I’m talking about maple syrup so a little sap doesn’t seem inappropriate.

 

I like to think of cooking as a folk science. The science part is indisputable. Most cooking tasks—whisking, boiling, baking—are simply applied chemistry. We read books to help us figure out just the right formulas to create using our culinary versions of test tubes. Sometimes we experience a scientific breakthrough and discover a new formula in the kitchen.

 

Nevertheless, many of our most beloved formulas for cooking have been handed down to us, like a family story or a favorite lullaby. Perhaps the best analogy is a folk song.

 

My neighbor, composer Alice Parker, uses this analogy a lot. She points out that we don’t know who wrote a song like “Wayfaring Stranger.” In fact, the very definition of a folk song is that the composer and lyricist are anonymous. A song like this belongs to all of us, and we re-compose it every time we sing it.

 

(A choir director for whom I once sang that very song at a Lenten service thought I re-composed it a little too much, in fact, but I stuck to my guns and my version of the melody.)

 

Folk songs cannot be copyrighted, although arrangements of them can. Similarly, it is impossible to copyright a list of ingredients, but one can copyright the words one uses in the directions for a recipe. We don’t value folk songs or recipes any the less because they are not “original.”

 

In fact, we often value them more because they have sprung up in different places and been modified as they go from singer to singer, cook to cook. We certainly value not having to come up with something completely new every time we get out the guitar or the saucepan.

 

Musical tradition and culinary tradition are miracles we celebrate everyday.

 

At this time of year I’m particularly grateful for the tradition of boiling down the sap of sugar maples. Just as it’s hopeless to pinpoint the very first person who ever opened his or her mouth and sang “I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger” (or “I am a poor wayfaring stranger” or any other version of this lyric) it’s impossible to figure out who first made maple syrup.

 

We assume it was a Native American since the original residents of New England were sweetening their food with maple long before Europeans arrived. Nevertheless, it’s hard to imagine how the first maple syrup came to be made. Did someone accidentally poke a hole in a tree that was near a cooking pot and then notice that the resultant food tasted extra sweet? We’ll never know.

 

I do know that my neighbors who have sugarhouses do what they do in large part because it is part of the history of their families and of this region.

 

I’m lucky to live in a place where a folk food tradition like maple still exists–where people are willing to do the hard work necessary to nurture the trees, maintain the sap lines, and boil (and boil and boil and boil) the sap. And I treasure the liquid amber they produce.

 

Here is another recipe that celebrates that tradition and the diversity of dishes one can make with New England’s folky, sappy mud-season staple.

 

mapleglazedcarrotsweb

 

 

 

Maple Glazed Carrots

 

I love stretching the uses of maple syrup beyond breakfast and dessert. These carrots get a lot of sweetness out of just a little syrup. (And they’re easy!) Feel free to use whole cut-up carrots instead of baby ones if you like.

 

If you want to add to the feast of flavors, add a little minced fresh ginger to the maple mixture—or toss some fresh dill on top of the carrots when you serve them. I think the dish is pretty terrific as is.

 

Ingredients:

 

28 baby carrots

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons sweet butter 

 

 

Instructions:

 

Bring the baby carrots to a boil in a pot of lightly salted water. Boil them until they are ALMOST done. (This won’t take very long.) Put 2 tablespoons of the water in which they boiled in a small sauté pan. Drain the carrots, discarding the remaining water, and rinse them in cold water to stop them from cooking any longer.

 

To the 2 tablespoons water add the maple syrup and butter. Heat this mixture until the butter melts. Add the carrots and toss them in the liquid. Continue to cook over medium-low heat, covered but tossing frequently, until the liquid almost evaporates (about 5 to 10 minutes). Serve immediately.

 

Serves 4.

 

 

 

Tinky Goes Yankee

3 March 2009

tinkyankweb

 
A Note to Readers:
 
 
This blog has moved. For newer posts plus copies of all the old ones (even this one!), please visit me at the All-New IN OUR GRANDMOTHERS’ KITCHENS.
  
Tinky
 
I don’t usually put posts on my blog that merely link to other web sites, but today I’m making an exception. The new issue of Yankee magazine is now OUT—and it features an article on me, Tinky Weisblat. I’m the star of the March/April “Best Cook in Town” feature by veteran Yankee writer Edie Clark.

 

Edie called last fall just before the semi-final rounds of my annual Pudding Hollow Pudding Contest. She needed to interview someone THAT WEEK and hoped it could be I, preparing an original pudding recipe. I was a little taken aback since I had to test seven other puddings for the semi-finals, but I love being famous. So of course I said yes and scrambled together a recipe for something called Cozy Apple Pudding.

 

We had a lovely visit despite the chaos. One of Edie’s greatest assets as a reporter is that she seems like an old friend the minute she walks in the door. She worked and chatted with my mother and me as we cooked and even sat through a rehearsal of my signature song for the Pudding Contest, “Find Me a Man I Can Cook For” by my neighbor Alice Parker. Of course, Alice joined us for pudding.

 

I encourage you to run right out and buy an issue of Yankee. In it you’ll find Edie’s interview with me; my apple pudding recipe (made with apples plucked from the tree in my front yard!); and the recipe for one of my favorite entries in the Pudding Contest, Greek Eggplant Pudding by Nancy Argeris.

 

If you must read the article right away, you may look at it online, but I think I look a little thinner in the print version so naturally I want to steer you toward it!

 

Besides, it’s a great magazine with terrific taste in cooks…….

A King Cake for Mardi Gras

21 February 2009

cakecloseweb

 
A Note to Readers:
 
This blog has moved. For newer posts plus copies of all the old ones (even this one!), please visit me at the All-New IN OUR GRANDMOTHERS’ KITCHENS.
 
Tinky

 
Mardi Gras is a time of taking chances—so I decided to try once more to make a King Cake. Readers of this blog may recall that I tried making one at Epiphany and was less than thrilled with the result. My mother taught me to persevere, however, and luckily King Cakes are eaten in Louisiana from Epiphany straight through to the beginning of Lent. I sifted through many different recipes identifying the cake elements that most appealed to me and went to work.

 

I’m actually very happy with my new cake, although the filling gushed into the middle so I didn’t end up with the classic ring. Mine was more of a round blob. Nevertheless, it puffed up beautifully and tasted like a sweet, creamy coffee cake.

 

Like the previous King Cake, it concealed a quarter (more authentic bakers would use a bean or a toy Baby Jesus) within its yeasty folds. The person who found the quarter in his or her cake was crowned King or Queen for the Day.

 

So—from my house to yours—here is a King Cake recipe. The biggest trick is to take your time; since it uses yeast this cake can’t be rushed. It’s a big cake so you’ll help your sanity and your waistline if you have young eaters in the house. Feel free to cheat a little and ensure that one of them gets to wear the crown! As you can see from the picture below that’s what we did at our house.

(Don’t tell Michael!)

Le Roi du Mardi Gras

Le Roi du Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras King Cake

 

Ingredients:

for the cake:

2 packets yeast (do not use instant)

2 teaspoons sugar plus 1/2 cup sugar later

4 to 5 cups flour

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons salt

the zest from 1 lemon (save the lemon to make juice for the glaze)

1/2 cup lukewarm milk

5 egg yolks (you will not need the whites)

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) sweet butter at room temperature

 

for the filling:

 

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon flour

 

for the glaze:

 

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

the juice of 1 lemon

a little water if needed

food coloring as needed

 

Instructions:

 

Place the yeast and the 2 teaspoons sugar in a small bowl. Cover them with lukewarm water, and allow the yeast to proof for 10 minutes.

 

In a large mixing bowl combine 3-1/2 cups of the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, the nutmeg, the salt, and the lemon zest. Stir them together thoroughly (I like to use a whisk for this).

 

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the yeast mixture and warm milk. Stir in the egg yolks, and combine the mixture thoroughly.

 

When the batter is smooth, beat in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. (This takes a little while but eventually works.) Place the dough on a floured board, and knead it, adding more flour as needed. Your dough may end up slightly sticky but should not stick to the board.

 

Knead the dough until it feels smooth; then knead it for 10 minutes more. Don’t be discouraged. This kneading is what gives the final product its wonderful puffiness.

 

Place the dough in a buttered bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and allow it to rise until it doubles in bulk. This will take at least 1-1/2 hours and perhaps more.

 

When the dough has risen, punch it down. Using your fingers, pat and stretch the dough to shape it into a long, short rectangle, at least 24 inches long and 6 to 8 inches wide. Let the dough rest while you beat together the ingredients for the filling.

 

If you want to, place a quarter or a bean in the middle of the dough. Gently spoon the filling down the center of the strip of dough. Fold the edges up over the filling to form a cylinder that encases the dough. Pinch the edges together to seal the filling as well as you can. Your seams don’t have to be perfect; they will be hidden by the glaze.

 

Pinch the ends of the cylinder together to form a ring, and place it on a silicone- or parchment-covered baking sheet. Let it rise, covered, until it becomes puffy, about an hour. Preheat the oven to 375.

 

Bake the King Cake for 25 to 35 minutes, until it is golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool completely.

 

For the glaze: beat together the sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice, adding a bit of water if needed to make the glaze thick yet pourable. Divide the glaze in three, and color the three glazes purple, green, and gold. Drizzle them artistically over your cake.

 

Serves at least 12.

 

 

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!