Friday, July 27, 2018

Amuse Gallery Art Show Hours


Mary Nelen Season Snaps featured at Amuse Gallery, 9 Railroad Ave. Chatham NY

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

You say Pesto, the French say Pistou

Photo by Mary A. Nelen

It was a cry for help.

Desperation was on the menu that day. My friend had a confession. 

Too much basil; basil in salads, basil pesto, basil pesto cubes in ice
trays and after a month of green, stuff fell apart. Her menus, like
the cuticles of her nails, were stained bright green. If you're
witnessing an unseemly dependence on basil, its time to break the
stranglehold of single herb syndrome and look to Provence.

True Proven├žal folks will stir pistou—which is similar to pesto, but
lighter with a variety of herbs and made without nuts—into the soup until it’s completely dispersed.

I like to add a dollop to the middle and gently let it spread so I can
still taste the pistou, which makes a nice contrast to the vegetables
and broth. Plus it’s traditional to pound a small tomato into the pistou.

The Soupe au Pistou, vegetable soup from Provence, is made when herbs hurry to flower and small tomatoes say "put me in coach...."

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bone Broth Question and Answer

Bone Broth with Chicken Feet (photo by Mary Nelen)

Those masterful images because complete

Grew in pure mind but out of what began?
A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder's gone
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.

W. B. Yeats, “The Circus Animals’ Desertion” from 

Interview with Tamara Sheen, a wellness cook living in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

What is Bone Broth?

Broth made from the bones of any animal. Vegetables such as onion, celery, carrot as well as pepper and bay leaf are added for flavor.  It’s the base of soup or any dish if you’re a home or restaurant cook. Broth can be used to make soup or to braise.

Why is it so popular?

Health benefits. Every culture has some form of broth. Back in the day when nose to tale dining was the norm, you had to do something with the bones. Besides, every grandmother knew the healing power of broth

Which bones, all of them?

Knuckle bones have cartilage which is where the collagen lives. Collagen makes the nutrients more accessible to your body. Marrow bones also. When you boil the bones and the collagen is extracted, the body gets natural amino acids. Stock can be made from any animal bones: chicken, lamb, beef, goat, venison, buffalo and fish.

Where do you get bones?

Go visit a farmer whose animals are grazing on grass or check out a butcher and ask for bones with knuckles and marrow. Chicken feet are good because they provide a lot of collagen and gelatin.

How do you make bone broth?

Put bones in a stock pot of water. Add vinegar or wine to help pull out the nutrients. If you are making beef broth, roast the beef bones for at least 20 minutes before putting in the stock pot.

How long to cook?

Stock should cook for at least three hours in order to take full advantage of all the nutrients. My grandmother boiled the Christmas Turkey carcass all night long. I simmer with the lid on. Some schools of thought say 12 hours minimum.  

Friday, July 6, 2018

When you hear a noise, do something....

photo by rhubarbi st. germaine

Strawberries: When You Hear a Noise, Do Something

The first time I made this, it was after a session at a pick your own place. In the rows up at a place in a town called Gill, I stooped to pick a tiny strawberry, bit its little head off and heard a growl somewhere near my person. I jumped up from my crouched position and toppled my entire wooden carton of fresh strawberries. When I looked at the carton, it was stained red, the color of blood if strawberries had blood. There was only sky around, no other pickers, and in the distance, a truck with the farm's U-Pick logo and a guy sitting up high in the bed of the truck like a lifeguard. If there was an animal around, even a bobcat, it was gone. There was silence except for birdsong at which point I remembered my first taste of strawberry on a farm with a pig in a pen who snorted and growled at anyone who happened by to eat a little bit of fruit. To celebrate the lack of pig in the equation of this strawberry picking session, I bought a gallon of raw milk up the road and went home to make ricotta to go with the fresh fruit. It requires only patience and a reverence for the fruit, the farmer and the fact that pigs can make an indelible mark.

RECIPE: Ricotta Cheese

1 gallon whole milk. Raw milk is better if you have it.

1 t citric acid (available in cheese-making kits and some hardware stores)

1 piece cheese cloth

1 cooking thermometer that goes to 200 degrees.

Dissolve citric acid in ¼ C cool water

Pour in large stock pot along with a gallon of raw whole milk

Heat to 185 to 195 stirring all the while to prevent scotching

Try not to let it boil. Really don't let it boil. It is a chemistry thing.

When the whey separates from the curds, take off heat and let sit for 10 minutes

Remove curds CAREFULLY from  the whey into the cheese cloth that is lining a colander.

Let the curds sit in the cheese cloth for from 20 minutes to a couple of hours depending on how creamy you like your ricotta. I would say if you are serving it with fresh strawberries, serve it creamy and as close to them time you have made it as possible. Otherwise it can be refrigerated for up to two weeks