Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bitters: A Few Pictures of a Work in Process

Four bitters in process: Cherry, Angostura, Meyer Lemon and Mixed Citrus. Pictures only this time, recipes to come in a few weeks if they come out okay.


Meyer Lemon

Cherry--the 3 jars will eventually be combined and filtered.

Mixed citrus, including lemon, meyer lemon, lemon and orange

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lime, Polenta and Almond Meal Muffins

Baker and taste-tester "They are really good."
Our first stop each week at the Ferry Building farmers market is always Della Fattoria. There K selects her treat of the week, whether it be our favorite mini-rhubarb bundt cake, a butterhorn or rarely a fruit galette. I often opt for a galette myself, especially in the summer, but also am a big fan of their polenta cake. This cake, which is always available in an individual size but sometimes in much larger versions, is nutty and moist and covered with a wonderful crumb topping. I've thought of trying to make a version of it for years. This recipe is not that cake. 
Conveniently, K also feels that a trip to the market is not complete without a sample of toffee from Alfieri Farms. If you've been to the market, you have probably sampled it yourself, though likely not every week. I often buy their roasted pistachios while I wait, but this time opted for a bag of almond meal. With that on-hand, it was time to experiment.

Yes, the limes are more yellow than green. Plus, a closer look at the almond meal.
Google sent me to a recipe from Nigella Lawson for a Lemon Polenta Cake. Using that as our guide, we opted for lime over lemon, as we had some on-hand.  Pre-Christmas I purchased a bag of limes from Mariquita and it has served us well--lime jelly, lime curd and now muffins. We used the lime juice, in addition to the zest Nigella called for. We also opted for muffins rather than a full cake and skipped the suggested glaze. For a fancier, in K's words "tea party" presentation, I might top them with lime curd.

Kitchen scale and karaoke on the i-pad.
Often the messiest step.

Lime, Polenta and Almond Meal Muffins

  • 7 oz unsalted butter
  • 7 oz caster sugar
  • 7 oz Almond Meal
  • 4 oz Polenta
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder (If it matters to you, look for a gluten free brand)
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 medium limes-juice and zest
Preheat the oven to 350.
Place 16 wrappers in your muffin tins.
Beat the butter and sugar until well combined, either by hand or using a freestanding mixer.
Mix together the almond meal, polenta and baking powder.  Add 1/3 of that mixture to the butter and sugar, followed by 1 egg, then alternate dry ingredients and eggs, beating all the while.
Add the lime juice and zest and continue to beat until combined. Spoon the mixture into your prepared muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick or knife tester comes out clean. 

Note: Depending upon the baking powder used, these muffins may be gluten free. The baking powder we used is. For more info on baking powder and gluten, see here

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A January Mariquita Mystery Box

The box is really a bag.

 Another in an occasional look at the contents of a Mariquita Mystery Box, this one from January 17, 2013. As I have said before, I love that this is an opt-in rather than subscription box. If the pick-up location is inconvenient or we are out of town, we just skip a time. The cost is $25.00.



Willow, with Oolong in the back, checking everything out.

Couve Tronchuda (aka Portuguese Kale)

Broccoli di Cicco

Macerata Cauliflower, baby white turnips and carrots

Rosemary and a tail

Brussels sprouts and Willow

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Leading Between the Vines: A Film by Terry Theise

Not a review, because as the publicist for both this project and Terry's book, Reading Between the Wines, I can claim no objectivity. I will say that my favorite parts of the film are all about family-the relationships between generations, the question of whether or not children follow in the footsteps of their fathers and the challenges they face when they do. 

Instead, I'll tell you what Terry has to say about Leading Between the Vines
"We're calling it Leading Between The Vines because we wanted to link it to the book, and because honestly we didn't know what else to call it. Yet it's not the "movie of the book," but rather a means of testifying to the beauty of authentic wines and the cultures that give them to us all. Like the book, it wants to answer the question "Why care deeply about wine?" and in this case it uses the German Riesling culture as its nexus.
We filmed at Strub, Schlossgut Diel, Dönnhoff, Loewen/Schmitt-Wagner, Adam, Selbach-Oster, Willi Schaefer, Merkelbach, Weingart and Leitz. We had things we wanted to show, but the film isn't really an argument, it isn't ideological. It wants to depict, in human terms, what lives are like in a culture that gives us the world's most connected, authentic and complex wines. We asked about terroir, about the benefits of intimacy-of-scale, about what makes a person choose this work, and finally we tried to limn the moment we all experience in our lives, when we hear ourselves ask what did it all mean?
It isn't like any film ever made about wine. It's a love letter to the people and places that have given such meaning and joy to my life.”

It is available now on Amazon. More info can be found at or send me an email with questions.