What’s a Lemon LuLu Cake?

by Anne Maxfield on June 19, 2017

Accidental Locavore Lemon LuLu CakeI’d never heard of a Lemon LuLu Cake, but happily, that changed recently.

To me, there’s nothing better than a surprise package arriving on my doorstep with something delicious inside!

Sweet or savory, packages bearing food are always welcome!

Also great is finding out about something yummy that you didn’t even know existed.

Mother Myrick’s, of Manchester, Vermont, happily filled both those roles recently.

HudsonValleyEATS was contacted by Taylor, their PR person, who countered our (slight) objections that it wasn’t actually something from the Hudson Valley by saying, “but we ship to the Hudson Valley all the time.”

Keep him!

The goodies arrived the next day, perfectly packaged and in pristine shape—not a crumb out of place.

Accidental Locavore Lemon LuLu Cake PackagedThere was their signature Lemon LuLu Cake and a box of Buttercrunch.

It came with a lovely, hand-written card that turned out to be from a place I know up in Maine, so I was already inclined to like it.

The Lulu cake is a lemon pound cake. It’s a lovely, light, moist cake, with a lemon glaze and a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar. I’m sure it would be great with some fresh berries and/or ice cream, but ours disappeared before it could be paired with anything except a fork.

If you were ever in need of an “emergency cake,” Lemon Lulu cake can be frozen, or you can just order one for next-day delivery. No need to turn on the oven all summer!

The Buttercrunch, another signature item, looked and smelled amazing.

Accidental Locavore ButtercrunchI say that because, sadly, I couldn’t taste them, so we have to take Janet’s word that they were really buttery and she liked it a lot!

There are lots of other goodies in their catalog or online, so if you have a hankering for something sweet and don’t feel like heating up the kitchen, just relax, shop and enjoy!

 

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Bounty from the Box, the CSA Farm Cookbook

by Anne Maxfield on June 12, 2017

Accidental Locavore Bounty From the Box CookbookAnother cookbook. Even with careful (and constant) pruning, they threaten to overtake my office.

Because of that and the availability of almost everything online, I’m getting very picky about whether a cookbook get a seat at the table, shelves, floor, or donation pile.

When Mi Ae Lipe, the author of Bounty from the Box, the CSA Farm Cookbook, contacted me about the book, honestly, I was pretty lukewarm about it. The fact that it was months before I was going to see anything from my CSA may have played a part in it too.

Then the book arrived. It’s huge.

Think Manhattan phone book huge.

OMG what am I going to do with this thing?

But it’s amazing!

Accidental Locavore Zucchini With Flowers from CookbookForget about figuring out what to do with the fifth week of zucchini from your CSA, this book is indispensable for anyone who buys produce.

Besides what you’d expect–cooking ideas and recipes, all the fruit, vegetables and herbs she writes about have guides to selection, storage, seasonality, nutrition and even whether they can be frozen.

There are side-bars with book and cookbook recommendations, quotes and even the pros and cons of joining a CSA.

One of my criteria for judging a cookbook, and the reason I prefer a real book to my e-reader, is the index. I don’t think I’ve ever raved about an index, but Mi Ae has one that’s just recipes by ingredients. So, if you have a mess of arugula and want to do something with it, there are a bunch of recipes that use arugula giving you lots to choose from.

Accidental Locavore First CSA Pickup for CookbookThe only downside to this index? You’ll see at least another four things you’d like to try.

The upside is that if you have a choice at your CSA (like we do) or farmers’ market, you’ll get brave and pick up a bunch of something you’re not familiar with because you’ve got help at home.

Who knows, your new favorite vegetable may be lurking there!

 

 

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Pea Guacamole Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on June 5, 2017

Yes, you’re right. Pea guacamole?

I succumbed.

But there’s a reason. A story.

I needed something to take to a Mexican themed party.

The hostess and I have had an ongoing thing about peas.

She’s pro-, I consider them generally superfluous.

She also has a great sense of humor.

This is a tweaked version of the NY Times piece that caused quite a furor last year.

Pea Guacamole

  • ½ pound frozen peas, thawed (about 1 cup)
  • 2 small jalapenos
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped (or more for taste)
  • Salt
  • 3 small very ripe avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 scallions, whites only, sliced very thin
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime (or more for taste)

In a microwave-safe bowl, cook the peas with about 1 tablespoon of water for about 2 minutes, until they are just tender. Drain peas and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Reserve a small handful for garnish.

Halve, seed and de-vein the jalapenos. Cut into small chunks.

In a blender or food processor, chop the jalapenos. Add the peas, cilantro and ½ teaspoon salt. Process until the peas are almost smooth, but still have a little texture.

In a medium bowl, mash the avocados. Add the scallions, lime zest, juice, ½ teaspoon salt and the pea mixture. Mix well. Taste and add additional cilantro, salt and lime juice as needed. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

My verdict: Everyone at the party thought it was great (and finished it off)! I thought it was pretty good, but a little sweet because of the peas.

Would I make it again? No, too much work and too many dirty dishes.

The original recipe called for roasting one of the jalapenos and peeling it. I tossed one on the grill (only because the grill was going) and charred it, but didn’t peel it. If you wanted to toss one or more in a small skillet, you could do that, but I don’t think it’s going to matter in the end result.

The Times also had you shucking fresh peas, a cute idea if you’re making peas for dinner for two, but a huge time suck if you’re making guacamole for a crowd.

When I make guacamole, it’s seven ingredients, a knife and a bowl.

10 minutes, no grill, no Cuisinart, no microplane (zester).

Would or have you made guacamole with peas?

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An Extraordinary Dessert Experience

by Anne Maxfield on May 29, 2017

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House First DessertDessert, the grand finale of the Chef’s Table at Mohonk Mountain House is truly spectacular and at some point in your life, you deserve it.

After polishing off ten amazing savory courses, including a cheese course with “carbonated” grapes—yup, they distract you by making a preview dessert–little ice cream magic with homemade mini ice cream cones and liquid nitrogen, which essentially turns anything creamy into ice cream in a flash.

While you’re enjoying the cones, two giant strips of matting cover the table. The head pastry chef, Audrey Billups starts the dessert by coming along with a glass full of chocolate sauce which she artistically blobs and smears the length of the surface

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House Dessert BeginningBehind her, another chef with a vial of mango puree, dashing and dribbling alongside the chocolate.

They repeat this, building the dessert by adding crème fraiche, pistachio cream, bits of frozen raspberries, and squares of Amaretto jelly.

Over that are dustings of brown butter crumbs, oatmeal crumble, cocoa, the thinnest sheets of blueberry,  and and and…

When it’s decided that the table is properly decorated (or more likely they’ve run out of space), meringues, gilded and filled with white chocolate and strawberries are placed in front of each diner.

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House Dessert DesignedThat’s followed by a small hockey puck of dark chocolate cake and just when you think they’ve run out of stuff – a blob of frozen chocolate mousse is plopped down and smashed, sending the shards through all the different flavors.

The idea of this dessert extravaganza is to do exactly what your mother told you never to do—play with your food!

Smear the chocolate cake through the mango and chocolate purees and hope to pick up a bit of frozen raspberry on the journey.

Try sticking the meringue with some of the blueberry paper and hmm, maybe the crème fraiche.

Or, what turned out to be my favorite, the brown butter crumbs on almost anything, but especially the frozen chocolate mousse fragments and the chocolate sauce.

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House Dessert DesignedThere’s no one, even in my group of chefs, who isn’t smiling.

And, even after the ten or so previous courses, there’s no one who didn’t clean their place.

Okay, so we do still listen to our mothers.

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