What a fun tour of Love Apple Farms on Thursday (see http://www.growbetterveggies.com/)! FCI put together a special tour for our class of 9 with the owner of the farm and Chef David Kinch, who is also a dean of FCI. We spent about an hour touring the gardens and picking and eating fresh vegetables. Then, we went to their “classroom” and nibbled on several different herbs, some cheeses they made at the farm, and their hard cider. I love the concept of farm to table and I do agree that the food tastes incredible. It has to; it’s at its freshest. It would be so awesome if everyone could eat that way, instead of just the wealthy and those who own farms.
There were some fascinating herbs that I had never tasted before. Like this one: Huacaty.
It smells like an herb I used to smell in Berkeley – ha!
I also really liked the quilquina, which tastes like a strong cilantro and is really fragrant.
The salad burnet was great and would be lovely in an herb salad.
The yarrow was also tasty and has an interesting history as an herbal medicine, the parts of the herb being used for different purposes – everything from clotting blood (the leaves) to treating phlegm to being used as a pain reliever and fever reducer.
We use the flower of the borage (in my hand of the picture featured at top) at Commonwealth to decorate different salads, and it’s gorgeous.
We also tasted a myriad of vegetables and being a vegetable fan I was surprised I hadn’t tasted a few, like this one: malabar spinach.
I love spinach, but I didn’t really love this spinach. The leaves had a consistency of okra when I ate them: gooey and slimy. In my eating world, gooey and slimy should never be adjectives used to describe vegetables, so when that happens, I usually avoid that vegetable. It was also kind of bitter. Not a fan.
It makes me miss growing up in MN and Iowa, in MN when I used to work with my dad at Cal’s market (Cal had a farm and we worked at his vegetable market where everything was picked that day and brought to the market early in the morning) and in Iowa where my cousins and I would spend summers at my grandparents’ corn farm.
Switching gears, one of the recipes I made as patissier last week was a lemon curd, or custard, that we put in a tart shell and then did a few other things to it. I don’t love all the particular components of that dessert, but the lemon curd is the bomb. You could make your own tart shell, fill it with the curd and then top the curd with berries. Or, you could use it as a “pudding” in a dessert glass and top it with whipped cream for something really simple and homey. If you love lemons, this is the recipe for you – and it’s easy. I think it would be amazing with Meyer lemons, as you really get the lemon flavor in this recipe. Here’s the recipe with a few of my changes:
Lemon Curd, Yield 8 servings:
4.5 oz sugar
zest of 1 lemon
4.5 oz fresh lemon juice
3.75 oz butter, cubed
5 to 7 oz sour cream, drained (I’ll explain why I didn’t include an exact amount here)
1) Heat 2 inches of water in a sauce pan
2) In a medium stainless steel bowl (do not use aluminum here, as it will react with the acid in the lemons), combine the eggs and the sugar with a wire whisk and whisk until the mixture becomes light yellow/verging on white
3) Add the zest and lemon juice and then add the cubed butter
4) Put the bowl over the sauce pan that has the hot water in it on the stove
5) Turn the flame down to very low and cook the mixture, stirring almost constantly, until it turns a bit thick. The end result of the whole recipe is to make a custard, or curd, looking mixture, so when it’s over the heat, it needs to start to thicken before you take it off the heat, as you’re going to add in sour cream after it’s cool, which will make the mix less thick. This process will take roughly 5-10 minutes of stirring over the water bath
6) Strain the lemon curd through a fine sieve and cool over an ice bath. You want to cool this immediately and then refrigerate until right before you’re going to use it
7) Right before service, whisk some sour cream gently into the curd. I didn’t use the exact amount called for in the recipe, as it depends on how lemony you want the dessert and the texture and color you’re going for. Eyeball it somewhere between 5-7 ounces of sour cream. The sour cream may need a little help breaking up in the curd and becoming smooth, so keep working at it until it’s smooth. This should only take 1 minute or so. Serve in a tart shell or a cold custard glass, top with whipped cream and berries.