Seasonal Cooking 01 Apr 2012 01:37 pm
Every year on St. Patrick’s Day I make a corned beef and cabbage dinner, and every year I seem to have a ton of cabbage left over. So this year I found the smallest cabbage in Brooklyn.
A bowl of my corn chowder looks pretty tame next to the photo in the James McNair cookbook I got the recipe from, but it was awfully tasty anyway. I used sweet corn that I’d frozen at the peak of the season last summer. I’ve been eating my frozen corn all winter, and there’s still a lot left. Even seven months after it went into the freezer, it still tastes way better than Green Giant.
In late January, for Karol’s birthday, we had a festive potluck party at our favorite local pub. Our contribution to the spread was these homemade egg rolls, filled with cabbage and ground pork. They were a team effort as usual: Karol rolled them & I fried them. I made a spicy mustard dipping sauce simply by grinding a generous scoop of mustard seeds in a mortar and pestle, with some water and rice wine vinegar. Our friend Cathy also brought eggrolls, and wrote about the novel process she used to make them, with no deep frying required.
I’m still making whole wheat leavain bread, every other weekend or so. It’s coming out pretty good every time, though I’m still not getting that professional, crackly crust that home bakers strive for. It’s possible I’m getting the best crust I can make in my non-professional home oven (and it’s a crappy rental-apartment oven at that), but I’m searching the Internets for tips and tricks from other bakers anyway. The bread is quite tasty, and hearty enough to keep me on me feet. I eat it for breakfast, smeared with plenty of yogurt cheese and the peach butter that I canned last summer.
Another recipe from the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking book, and another use for the natural-yeast levain that make my homemade bread rise. I start these waffles the night before, by mixing some levain into whole wheat flour and water to make a sponge that ferments overnight. The next morning I use the sponge to make a batter. The waffles are hearty but not heavy, and deeply rich with flavor. They make a white flour waffle seem as satisfying as a saltine.