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eG Foodblog: Alcuin (2011) - In the middle: Eating and Drinking on the


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Cardoons have to be sliced very thin - I steam them over acidulated water for at least 30 minutes prior to cutting them otherwise they are tough.

They are very popular in the south of Italy and there are some wonderful recipes.

Fried cardoons with anchovies are often incorporated into stratas.

Here is some helpful information.

And a recipe you might find helpful.

For the cardoons I had (home grown) the 30 minute simmering time was not nearly enough and I had to cook them an additional 20 minutes. The next time I prepared this dish I steamed the cardoons cut into 6-inch segments until tender and then sliced them and continued on with the dish as directed.

That recipe looks really good. I've heard that cardoons were eaten with bagna cauda, but I've never seen them around here. I was surprised at how big they are-the stalks are huge. So what I just did was I cut them into 6in lengths, trimmed and peeled them, and I put them in a big pot to boil with a lemon. They seemed very fibrous, so I thinking it might take the full 50 minutes to cook.

When they're done, I'm going to gratinee them with a light bechamel and cheese. I was looking around and saw some references to that and that sounds like it will fit into today's schedule neatly.

nunc est bibendum...

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...I wanted purple mashed potato!

"Peruvian purple" is one type that keep their color.

I've had those, they're really good. But very small, right? Or maybe I'm thinking of a different Peruvian potato (I think there are thousands of varieties of potatoes in Peru, so I'm probably thinking of a different one).

Looking back at the pictures, it looks like they had Purple Majesty that's blue inside and Adirondack Red that's pink inside. I'm intrigued enough to go back next week and try those pink ones out my self.

nunc est bibendum...

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We got some medium sized fingerlings out of our Peruvian purple, but you do get quite a bit of smaller round ones too. For those we just cut them in half and roast them.

Actually there is a farm not too far outside of Madison doing a study on anthocyanidins (especially high in purple spuds) and their effect as an anti-cancer agent.

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I would have gone for those, but butterball potatoes just sounded too good. Butter, salt, and potatoes is one of the best things in the world.

make Syracuse salt potatoes - unless you have problems with sodium. how about roasting the peeled butternut squash with the apples and some olive oil, salt and sage? then pair it with the roasted pork? or can you make a stuffing with the apples and squash with some of your bread and make stuffin' muffins to go with the pork but with some great gravy?

i am so freaking envious of your bounty...but i have to learn to not covet but go with what i can find/glean/harvest.

Edited by heidih
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Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.


Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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I would have gone for those, but butterball potatoes just sounded too good. Butter, salt, and potatoes is one of the best things in the world.

make Syracuse salt potatoes - unless you have problems with sodium.

No problems with sodium here. I think I actually saw a salt potato kit (consisting I think of salt, and potatoes) in a grocery store around here. I should really make that. The best thing to eat while camping if you come back from a long hike is potatoes wrapped in foil roasted on the fire, with copious amounts of salt and butter. No matter the potato or the butter, it is transcendent.

nunc est bibendum...

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I just got back from doing the wine tasting I help out at every Saturday (pays for most of my weekly wine). Jim, the owner of the store, has been clearing out some inventory. I told him what I was making tonight and he gave me some old nebbiolo from '97. I'm going to see if it's any good: could be great, could be over the hill.

Also, while I was there a friend stopped by and gave me some reconstituted porcini mushrooms (he made too much), so I took them off his hands and added it to my braise of pork cheek.

On to dinner!

nunc est bibendum...

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The wine I was given ended up being quite good for drinking, though this wine doesn't have too many years left in it to be at its peak. In fact, it may be only ever so slightly over the hill. But though it may be on the downswing, it's tasting good now.

dinner 2.JPG

I should have known it would still be good. It's nebbiolo, clearly sturdy enough to last.

We drank it with pork cheek simply braised in white wine, a small amount of tomato, some mirepoix (strained out when I degreased), and thyme. To the sauce I added those mushrooms I was gifted. The pork I served over butternut squash puree (sweat some onions, add cubed squash, add a touch of water, and cook until soft then puree in a food processor, adding some butter and seasoning; I added some garam masala for a little spice to go with the pork).

dinner 1.JPG

With it we had cardoon gratin.

dinner 3.JPG

I added some bread crumbs to help make a topping along with some bechamel for creaminess. Sometimes I just to cream and parmigiano, sometimes I just do bechamel. This time I decided to add the bread crumbs.

The cardoons were good, and I have plenty of them left. They have a light artichoke flavor, which I think will be really nice with some bagna cauda. I'm going to do that with the rest I think, maybe tomorrow.

nunc est bibendum...

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Loved your blog. Thanks for sharing a bit of your world with us.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Quite a haul from the market and that pork cheek looks awesome! I wish I could find beef or pork cheeks more readily.

Yes I have to stock up when I can get them. Willow Creek are really the only ones who do pork cheeks as a matter of course and who readily supply backfat. But they only come to the market every so often, so I have to stock up on cheeks and fat when I can.

Looking forward to your blog.

nunc est bibendum...

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Thanks so much for the window into a week in your culinary life, Alcuin. I have truly enjoyed it.

I lived in Wisconsin for three years in the mid '50s and was actually in the Rathskeller once, when contemplating attending UW.

Your rendition of cardoons looks lovely, as do all your other foods.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


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Were those large butternut squash $1 each? Holy fricking cheap, batman! In my area, we pay about $1/lb (or more) at the farmer's market for those, and it's still 70cents/lb at the big box grocery store.

I enjoyed your blog. I've always been curious about your avatar, and I had for some reason assumed you were much older!

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Were those large butternut squash $1 each? Holy fricking cheap, batman! In my area, we pay about $1/lb (or more) at the farmer's market for those, and it's still 70cents/lb at the big box grocery store.

I enjoyed your blog. I've always been curious about your avatar, and I had for some reason assumed you were much older!

No I'm not very old, and the avatar was chosen in a time when the late 8th early 9th century scholar Alcuin of York loomed large in my dissertation. That avatar is a picture of him, depicting him as abbot which was his job after he retired from his job as teacher at Charlemagne's Palace school.

And yes they were $1, amazingly. I only wish I could have carried more.

nunc est bibendum...

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