About Kate Schmidt

The other drunkard.

Filled Cherry Tomatoes

First off, I apologize for not having blogged in like two months. I’m the worst. We’ve been suddenly very busy, doing pop-up dinners for a local inn and running our Airbnb, which is finally up! (Come stay with us!) Most of our cooking at home is trying out new stuff for guests, so we haven’t had a lot of time to play around with random new stuff for us. But we promise we’ll get back to the Too Many Cookbook Challenge. The next book on the list is…problematic, so we’re probably going to pause there and jump to the vegetarian section of our collection while we can still get vegetables. Winter is coming.

But I digress. If you knew me in the ’90’s, you would know that the answer to the question “What does Kate love?” was “MARTHA!” It’s true. I was a Martha Stewart fangirl. I was obsessed. I watched the show over and over, I bought the books, I subscribed to the magazine, I wanted everything to be Just So. Of course, it rarely was. Martha’s genius is that she makes everything look effortless, and once again, I was sure that I could make something of hers and have it be stunning. And once again, I was wrong.

We were having people over and I wanted to be fancy, and the Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook was next on the list, so this was a perfect opportunity! We had some delicious white bean mash in the fridge, so I decided to make her Filled Cherry Tomatoes. Just hollow out some cherry tomatoes, fill them with something delectable, and you have a lovely, healthy party snack! So simple, right? Oh, Martha. You got me again.

What an absolute pain in the ass. Even with the sharpest knife we own (yes, it was sharp, Rick Brown) I couldn’t slice the tops off neatly. The ones in Martha’s book look like they were surgically sliced with a laser. Mine were a hot mess, but eventually I got all the little fuckers hollowed out. Of course, there were tomato seeds everywhere. I tried to wash them, but it just kept being messy and the clock was ticking. And neatly putting a wee bit of bean purée in the cups was next to impossible. There were minced onions in the beans and they stuck like glue to everything. Then there was the fun of wedging enough blanched haricots verts into the other cups. Too tall and they fall over, too short and they look ridiculous, too few and they fall over AND look ridiculous.

I took like a million photos and they were all terrible. Then when I went to select one for this, they were even worse than I thought. I actually spent about half an hour photoshopping one of the photos, but I’m going to share an untouched pic so you can see how honestly terrible they looked (and what a bad photograph it is.) SEE??? I had to surround the tall ones with the bean mash ones as kind of a shield. Nothing I could do made those tall ones stand up on their own. Martha must have glued hers to the plate.

Ugh. Never again. But they all got eaten, and the green bean ones were especially delicious. So damn crisp and tasty. But NO! NEVER AGAIN! NO MORE MARTHA. Ooooh, Gazpacho in Cucumber Cups. Doesn’t that sound delightful?

Please send gin.

Next up: Square Meals : America’s Favorite Comfort Cookbook by Jane and Michael Stern OR The Flexitarian Table by Berley and Singer

Shoulder of Spring Lamb with Flageolet Beans and Olive Relish

Another day, another book that I’m embarrassed not to have cooked from. Maybe it’s because menu books can be a little intimidating. I always feel that if I don’t do a whole menu, I’m failing. But things being what they are, there wasn’t a complete menu that we could realistically tackle. So we optimistically dove into the “Spring” section of David Tanis’ lovely book A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes, even though it was snowing while we were cooking, and decided on lamb and beans.

We’re not likely to have real spring lamb anytime soon, but we had a nice boneless leg, and we’d just gotten the latest bean club shipment from Rancho Gordo which contained flageolets. It was an obvious choice.

After trekking up to Morse’s Sauerkraut for olives, we started putting this dish together. We put the flageolets on to cook, and make the olive relish. It’s super simple – olives, garlic, lemon, and anchovy. So delicious. We decided to do those the night before, so all we had to do the day of was roast the lamb and dress the beans with salt and pepper, thyme and olive oil. To serve, spread the beans onto a platter, and put the sliced lamb and olive relish on top.

Boy, howdy, this was good. The lamb was delicious, especially with the pungent olive relish, but the flageolets were the star. All of the lamb juice soaked into the beans, and the herbs from the lamb and the lemon and everything just made the beans incredibly flavorful. And of course, they’re Rancho Gordo beans, so they’re impeccably fresh and creamy. (We used the rest of the batch of beans to make a lemony flageolet salad which we couldn’t get enough of.) With this deliciousness, we drank a 2017 Chiroubles Chatenay that was out-freaking-standing. The next day we dashed back up to Now You’re Cooking and got a few more bottles from our guy Joel.

And this book (number seventeen in the project) really is lovely. Some day when we’re not trudging through a foot of snow, we’ll do some actual menus out of it. But we did find one other recipe to make – his Parsnips Epiphany-Style. I mean, they’re just parsnips roasted with oil and salt and pepper, but they were heavenly. We served them with a roast turkey last week. So good.

Next up: The Hands-On Home.

Shoulder of Spring Lamb with Flageolet Beans and Olive Relish

Another day, another book that I’m embarrassed not to have cooked from. Maybe it’s because menu books can be a little intimidating. I always feel that if I don’t do a whole menu, I’m failing. But things being what they are, there wasn’t a complete menu that we could realistically tackle. So we optimistically dove into the “Spring” section of David Tanis’ lovely book A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes, even though it was snowing while we were cooking, and decided on lamb and beans.

We’re not likely to have real spring lamb anytime soon, but we had a nice boneless leg, and we’d just gotten the latest bean club shipment from Rancho Gordo which contained flageolets. It was an obvious choice.

After trekking up to Morse’s Sauerkraut for olives, we started putting this dish together. We put the flageolets on to cook, and make the olive relish. It’s super simple – olives, garlic, lemon, and anchovy. So delicious. We decided to do those the night before, so all we had to do the day of was roast the lamb and dress the beans with salt and pepper, thyme and olive oil. To serve, spread the beans onto a platter, and put the sliced lamb and olive relish on top.

Boy, howdy, this was good. The lamb was delicious, especially with the pungent olive relish, but the flageolets were the star. All of the lamb juice soaked into the beans, and the herbs from the lamb and the lemon and everything just made the beans incredibly flavorful. And of course, they’re Rancho Gordo beans, so they’re impeccably fresh and creamy. (We used the rest of the batch of beans to make a lemony flageolet salad which we couldn’t get enough of.) With this deliciousness, we drank a 2017 Chiroubles Chatenay that was out-freaking-standing. The next day we dashed back up to Now You’re Cooking and got a few more bottles from our guy Joel.

And this book (number seventeen in the project) really is lovely. Some day when we’re not trudging through a foot of snow, we’ll do some actual menus out of it. But we did find one other recipe to make – his Parsnips Epiphany-Style. I mean, they’re just parsnips roasted with oil and salt and pepper, but they were heavenly. We served them with a roast turkey last week. So good.

Next up: The Hands-On Home.

Steamed Mussels with Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Sabayon

I’ve never actually dined at The Herbfarm, but I’ve visited. During the ten minutes in which I attended culinary school in the ’90s, our class took a field trip out to the farm and restaurant. It’s a truly magical place which makes even me want to garden. When Jerry Traunfeld’s The Herbfarm Cookbook came out in 2000, I immediately bought it and read all of its amazing, creative recipes, and, naturally, never made any of them.

But here we are, at book number sixteen in our project, and I’m delighted to have finally cooked out of this book. We decided on Steamed Mussels with Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Sabayon, partly because I’ve never made a sabayon, and mostly because we love mussels and they’re very inexpensive here.

The sabayon was delicious, and super simple to make. You just take egg yolks, roasted garlic, the winey liquor from the mussels, and some lemon juice and whisk it all over a double boiler until it gets all smooth and rich. I don’t have a metal bowl, so I used a glass one. This slowed down the process, but fortunately I had some wine, and I don’t mind whisking. It’s very soothing.

Then the sabayon gets poured over the cooked mussels and you dive in! It’s SO good. The sauce is light but rich, and heady with the scent of roasted garlic. I’d make this every day if I thought I could get away with it. This is a dish where you need bread to wipe up the sabayon in the bowl. We didn’t have any, so we unashamedly licked our bowls. And we’d do it again.

Next up: David Tanis’ A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes

Kingston Jerk Chicken

Today’s blog post brought to you by culture shock! Since early November, we’ve been cooking through the Alice Waters (and related) books in our collection. Alice’s style is so distinctive and iconic. Her insistence on freshness and seasonality, simplicity and elegance has shaped American cooking for the last forty years. Her books are spare, beautifully illustrated and have a lovely energy about them.

Progressing backwards through our alphabetical collection, we come to Weber’s Big Book of Grilling, by Jamie Purviance and Sandra McRae. It’s…not by Alice Waters. It’s…masculine. Big, glossy, no-nonsense, direct, and with a foreward by Al Roker! “I feel really manly,” Roker writes, “It’s about 25°F outside and snowing, and I just came in from the cold with a platter of grilled meat in my hand. Anybody can grill when it’s sunny and 80°F in the shade, but it takes a real man to brave the elements…” Seriously, Al? Well, Nathan grilled in 20°F weather and didn’t brag about reinforcing rigid gender stereotypes.

Sorry. This is actually a fine book. There are about a dozen bookmarks in it, and it’s one of our most referred-to cookbooks. It’s the go-to for tri tip and ribs. There’s nothing terribly innovative or creative in it, but it’s got good solid advice, and this Jamaican jerk chicken recipe that we made was absolutely delicious. It’s very simple – just take green onions, chiles, garlic and spices, whiz ’em up in the food processor. Use this insanely fragrant paste to marinate some chicken, then hand it all over to a man to take outside and grill. What could be easier?

Next up: The Little House Cookbook