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A Calling From County Kerry

A Calling From County Kerry

British/Irish/Scottish cuisines suffer from a generalization of blandness. Meat and potatoes is the abject disdain with which the entire landmass food is painted. 

The reality is the stuff tastes so good to begin with, over there, that you need little more than salt and pepper to bring out the best in it! In the UK, despite the industrialization of agriculture, the average meat or produce tastes so much better than in the US.

Hop over to Ireland where many farms and fisheries are still family operated and backyard husbandry abounds, it is simply an insult to the ingredient to douse it in seasoning or sauce. The meat or vegetable shines in its own glory!

Oh and the potato... Ah the potato! 

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Roast Cauliflower and Fennel Soup

Roast Cauliflower and Fennel Soup

I wanted to leave you with a warming, flavorful Cauliflower and Fennel Soup to keep you nourished for the week. For vegans or even if you are not, this makes a great replacement to cream of broccoli soup. With all the rich creaminess of the latter, it packs home the full punch of vegetable strength without the distraction of the cream.

I really like serving this soup with pickled vegetables; the acidity breaking into the creaminess and awakening your palate. You can find the recipe for Rosemary and Garlic Preserved Zucchini here. 

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A Chicken Story and A Summer Salad

A Chicken Story and A Summer Salad

It is natural that as the Summer haze sets in, there is less and less inclination to spend in the kitchen. Yet, the desire for tasting the splendor of the season does not abate. So, we all find ways to get around it - from barbeques to salads, outdoor fun and rooftop joys to easy dinners, cooking big and making the most of leftovers. Summer offers the best chance for making magic with mere leftovers.

Recently, I have taken a partiality to whole roast chicken.

The chicken giveth in spades and every bit of edible or can be made into something edible. A farm, pasture raised chicken typically weighs about 3.5 lbs and you can get a fair bit of meat from it, even though not as much as its larger industrial cousins. What I like is that the leg and thigh is about the same size as the breast and I have always the darker and juicier meat from here! The first meal from the roast is always the thigh with a side of vegetables. 

Then, I peel every bit of the meat off the carcass and use it over a week in several dishes, from salads to tarts to sandwiches to curries to rice toss, oh, endless...! The carcass itself becomes ideal for stock with a bunch of vegetable scraps. The jus, becomes gravy or vinaigrette based on what I am making. All savored, nothing lost.

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Home Cured Trout...

Home Cured Rainbow Trout

I am going to let the dish speak for me in this post! {yes, that my way of saying, I really nothing more worthwhile to say.. :)}

Molasses and cumin cured rainbow trout

Home Cured Rainbow Trout1

Molasses, Cumin and Tarragon Cured Rainbow Trout

1 lb fresh rainbow trout (not frozen) fillet, skin on
2 T molasses
1 T sea salt
1 T sugar
2 T tarragon, minced
1 T pepper
2 T cumin

Roughly grind together the spices. Combine all the curing ingredients and spread evenly all over the fillet on the skinless side. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 days until the fish feels firm to touch.

To serve, slice on a bias and peel away from skin.

Potato and Smoked Gouda Pancakes

1 cup russet potato, peeled and grated and water squeezed out
1/2 cup grated smoked gouda
3 T flour
salt and pepper to season
water or milk, just enough to make a thick batter

Mix all the ingredients. On a hot greased skillet, drop a generous dollop of the batter. Let sit on medium high heat until the pancake releases from the skillet easily. Flip over and cook until browned well on both sides.

Serve topped with sour cream, cured trout and blue berries to cut into the savory.

Farm to Table: Soup and Flat Bread for a rainy day

Leek, Potato and Fennel soup

August 26, 2010: This post was featured on FoodBuzz Top 9 today

It's been a wet couple of days in the North East. I had been away from my home and beloved kitchen for five days and returning yesterday night I was just overcome with relief and happiness. I don't know why.. I typically love travelling and have a constant itch for it. But, I suppose doing it every week is quite another story :) I just don't know how consultants do this packing-up-every-week-for-work thing!

I think what I missed most, is the comfort of my kitchen and home cooked food even it be a simple Poha that I toss up for myself. The restaurant where Mr. FSK was put up was very fine, indeed, but then there is nevertheless, too much of a fine thing. After a couple of butter soaked, French Chef-ed dinners, I was about all ready for good ol' rice and dal!

Heirloom Tomato, Zucchini  flatbread

Anyway, as you may have guessed, I haven't been knocking up much in the kitchen lately and I even have missed a couple of group postings lately..sighh.. So, today, I am posting about something that I had made before I left. As it happens, it seems perfect for the weather now...

Warm soup with fresh bread, I am craving now and perhaps I may just have to remake this Leek, Fennel and Potato Soup with Pancetta today! I love my carbs and for this soup I decided to go with a Zucchini and Heirloom Tomato Flatbread topped with raw cow's milk cheese. Ofcourse, in keeping with the Farm to Table theme, all of the produce, including the cheese came from my CSA! :)

Leek, Potato and Fennel soup and Zucchini Heirloom Tomato flatbread

Btw, I have an abundance of zucchini in my fridge. I have made the usual suspects with them - tarts, breads. I am sure there are more ways to enjoy this summer vegetable! I would really welcome any other recipe suggestions you have for them.

On that note, I wish you all a happy week ahead and I'll go, try to plough through my backlog of to-dos this week! :)

For more ideas on cooking fresh, seasonal produce, please click on the "Farm to Table Series" tab above.

Leek, Fennel and Potato Soup with Pancetta

1 leek, cleaned and sliced
1/4 cup fennel, sliced
1 clove of garlic minced
2 medium red potatoes
1-1/2 cup, chicken stock
2 oz pancetta, cubed
1/4 tsp paprika
salt, pepper and oil as needed

In a pan, saute the pancetta until the fat has rendered and the cubes are crispy. Reserve the cubes and leave the fat in the pan. To the hot fat, add the leeks, fennel and garlic and saute until soft. Add the potatoes and toss to coat with the leek and fat mixture. Add one cup of the stock, season and let cook until the potatoes are fully cooked.

Proces the mixture to a puree and return to the stove top. Add the remaining stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for five more minutes. Serve garnished with reserved fried pancetta and parmesan cheese.

Zucchini and Heirloom Tomato Flatbread

1/2 pizza dough
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 heirloom tomato, sliced
1 T spicy tomato chutney (I used a store bought one)
1/4 cup soft cheese (I used raw cow's milk cheese. Can substitute with fontina or smoked mozzarella)
salt and pepper as needed
Oil to saute the zucchini

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Lightly saute the zucchini and set aside. Roll out the dough to about 7 inches. Brush with olive oil. Spread the tomato chutney on the base, leaving a small 1/2 inch border. Arrange the sauteed zucchini around the base. Follow with a layer of tomato slices.

Bake for 5 minutes until the crust starts becoming golden. Since this is a really thin crust, it won't take long. So, keep an eye on it. Sprinkle the cheese over and return to the oven for a couple of minutes until the cheese has melted.

Cool on rack for a couple of minutes, slice and serve as is or with soup.

And, ofcourse I am sending this summery flat bread to Susan atYeastSpotting.

Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK