paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Sun 28 Mar 10 20:46
One more question that I keep forgetting to ask: how many cookbooks do you own? And how do you use them--for recipe templates, for suggestions or inspirations, for research?
Deborah Madison (leafygreens) Mon 29 Mar 10 06:10
I don't have a super vast library - maybe a few hundred cookbooks, botany books, historical books on food, and such. Space is a consideration so I've given a lot of books to my local library and to a charter school that has hired a young man to cook.But it never fails that I have a need to page through them once they're gone. I use my books for reference as much (if not more) as to cook from, but not for recipe templates. I have my own ideas about that. Research for sure. Inspiration wherever I can find it. Some of my books are like old friends. I was just looking at Simple French Food the other day and couldn't believe how worn it was, how soft the pages were, how used, and it was still inspiring! That then that's Richard Olney.
Deborah Madison (leafygreens) Mon 29 Mar 10 06:15
By the way, "rabe" or "rab", as in kohlrabi or broccoli rabe, refers to turnip. So kohlrabi means cabbage-turnip, and broccoli rabe of course means broccoli-turnip. It combines turnip-like greens with little broccoli-like nubbins. I just looked at my turnips yesterday, which are now more interested in growing again since there's more daylight, and sure enough, the leaves are shooting up, there are clusters of flowers, or buds anyway, and they look a whole lot like broccoli rabe. Turnip greens! And the taste is not dissimilar. They're great with buckwheat noodles, by the way. And I love the contrast between the sweet turnips and the more pungent greens. Good to serve them together.
Lisa Harris (lrph) Mon 29 Mar 10 07:17
Can we please get back to dessert and <debunix>'s lemon problem? I'm dying for a good lemon dessert recipe.
Deborah Madison (leafygreens) Mon 29 Mar 10 08:30
Did I miss something? Apparently I did, and now I can't seem to find "debunix"s post about lemons and a lemon problem! Sorry - this is still not 100% clear- the navigational part, that is. I have an appointment in town but will address lemons just as soon as I return! Would other citrus qualify as well? back soon!
Deborah Madison (leafygreens) Mon 29 Mar 10 08:46
Okay - I see I've missed a lot of things including the post about school gardens, which I'd like to return to later. And desserts. Alas, not so many lemon ones, but lucky for the lemon tree owner, lemons have a great use in savory dishes as well. But more later on all of this! For now, all I can say is that I wish I had a lemon tree!
David Gans (tnf) Mon 29 Mar 10 09:15
We have two lemon trees and there is NEVER a day when there isn't ripe fruit on them. One of the great benefits of living in the Mediterranean climate of Oakland, California. <reet> uses lemons in everything - lucky us!
those Andropovian bongs (rik) Mon 29 Mar 10 09:18
Thems some good lemons. TMOT.
Kathy (kathbran) Mon 29 Mar 10 11:41
I don't have a lemon tree (no gardening space for a tree), but I know which neighbors will let me pick as many as I want! Almost as good. I wonder why broccolini and broccoli rabe are so expensive. Seems to me they'd grow like weeds, like chard here in the Bay Area.
Deborah Madison (leafygreens) Mon 29 Mar 10 12:12
There's only one commercial company that sells broccoli raab - Andy Brothers (?), and they've had the market for years. Farmers are starting to grow it, though. Okay. Lemons. As a CalifornianI should say former, but CA is still home to me - I also grew up with lemon trees - Meyers and Eurekas and there was always fruit. Faithful friends and family still send me a box of lemons each year and I swear they taste better than the ones I can buy at the store. Given the past 20 years in New Mexico, lemons have become one of those more rare fruits than they were in California, for sure, which is why I'm going to disappoint someone when I say I don't have a lot of lemon desserts - hardly any, in fact. So sorry! One problem with many lemon desserts for me is that they often end up too sweet in the effort to compensate for the acidity, especially in Eureka lemons. Too much sugar gets added. I'm thinking of lemon bars in particular, but it comes up in curds and pie fillings too. Of course using Meyer lemons allows you to use less sweetening because they aren't quite so sharp. There are two recipes in The Greens Cookbook for Meyer lemon desserts a mousse an a lemon curd. They're pretty straight forward, no fancy tricks and seasonings, but I'd be happy to serve a Meyer lemon mousse garnished with the fresh violets that are blooming right now in my garden. I like the Lemon-Rose Sherbet in "The Savory Way" a lot. It's infused with rose geranium leaves and when you put it together the milk curdles like crazy. But amazingly, it comes out perfectly smooth. Actually, I prefer lemons in savory dishes. A little thinly sliced lemon on the Nicoise Pizza from Greens made it so unexpected and lively. Lemon grated into a bean soupjust about anything really, fruit or vegetable - always makes it sparkle. I can't think of a place where lemon as a seasoning goes wrong in the savory kitchen - or the sweet one. Add a little grated lemon zest to a rhubarb fool or compote an once again, it brightens. And when you think you want salt to finish a dish, it's often a few drops of fresh lemon juice that will do the trick. Almost always, in fact.
Deborah Madison (leafygreens) Mon 29 Mar 10 16:25
About "Seasonal Fruit Desserts" - yes, desserts! But to me, it's still about produce and we haven't really, as a nation, gotten around much to fruit. The government tells us we should eat it, but that turns it into sort of a duty food because it's mostly pretty disappointing If fruit is as good as it can begreat varieties, properly grown, not shipped far, there's be no need to tell people to eat it. They can't stay away - kids included. I started out in pastry and have always loved the dessert course so taking on the last course of the meal wasn't as strange to me as it may seem to you. The book moves through a progression of approaches, from featuring sublime fruit with little to nothing done to it, to very simple compotes, fruit sautes, roasts, braises, the onto tart and galettes, classic fruit desserts but not too many, puddings, 6 cakes that go well with fruits, dried fruits, nuts, our new American cheeses paired with fruits and finally some very simple sauces based on fruit. I'm really looking at farmers markets here and orchards and back yards as the source of some of the best tasting stuff to work with. Go to a Wisconsin market and you might find shagbark hickory nuts - sublime little things. Pair them with a Wisconsin farmstead cheese for dessertso good. Or do the same with a fine California Teleme and a really fresh walnut, or a delicate goat with pears sauteed with honey. Simple foods, but not always easy to find and that's the key here, as in "Local Flavors". Where do I get my recipes? This question always amuses me. I don't "get" them. There's no store to go to. I don't download recipes.I just get started in the kitchen basically, working from what I know, what's inspired me of late, and what the ingredients are saying to me. As for a favorite - really, an impossible question to answer! Because this book is very much about seasonal approaches favorites will come and go like the shifting sands. I suppose one favorite would be the Concord Grape Galette because that's my favorite dessert period. But as I'm thinking about the book, my mind keeps saying "that one", "no, that one!" Sorry! It's kind of like choosing kids, after all. They're all good.
paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Mon 29 Mar 10 20:09
Delighted by the prospect of Concord Grape Galette, because the marvelous garden in the house I'm renting also has concord grapes, which I also am hard pressed to keep up with at their peak season.
the secret agenda of rabbits (cjp) Mon 29 Mar 10 23:55
Oh man, you HAVE to try her Concord Grape Pie (I think it's in her often strangely overlooked but completely marvelous "The Vegetarian Table: America" http://tinyurl.com/yg85t39). Just thinking about it makes me long for grape season when the Korean markets are overflowing with those impossibly huge and perfect purple globes. Right now, though, I'm salivating over the recipe in "Seasonal" for Figs in Pedro Ximenez... it even has a yellow jacket glomming onto one of the figs! And if you love cheese paired with fruits (and why would you not?), there's a whole section devoted to specific cheeses that complement certain perfectly ripe fruits and nuts and so forth, like Pt. Reyes Blue with Honey or Goat Milk Pave with Blenheim Apricots. Deborah, are you going to be in the Bay Area any time for book readings or signings? Do you have a web page that lists where you're going to be appearing? Talking with you for these past two weeks has been a singular joy, and I want to thank you for all your time and thoughtful responses. Please come back again soon!
Deborah Madison (leafygreens) Tue 30 Mar 10 07:24
Thank you, Carolyn! It's been a lot of fun and thought provoking. I must say, to grossly generalize of course, that Bay Area people are pretty good solitary eaters. Impressive in fact, but somehow, that's not a surprise. I'm so glad you're a fan of the Concord grape pie! I have to confess I get some version of it into every book I write because it's just one of the best desserts around, and a historical one, too. But people usually say something like, "That sounds awful!" Then they take a bite and change their minds. I was late to this, but I did discover that it goes quite nicely with an aged Gouda cheese or Cheddar. A fresh young goat is interesting too if you like that sweet and tangy combination. I will be in the Bay Area doing various book related things. I'll be at Steve Sando's wonderful Rancho Gordo in Napa on the 11th of April, back for several days in late June at Ominvore Books, l8 Reasons, The Commonwealth Club etc etc. It's going up on my web-site (www.deborahmadison.com)today, I believe, and on my facebook fan page. It would be great to meet some of you who have been part of this discussion.
Lisa Harris (lrph) Thu 1 Apr 10 14:51
I'm a day late, due to life to thank thank thank Deborah and CJ for their time these last two weeks. It has been a wonderful interview. This topic will remain open for your posting pleasure indefinitely!
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