Ah, Butter!

I’ve been out of my kitchen for only two days so far, and it’s already driving me mad.  I had planned to bake another batch of challah from a fabulous recipe found in a recent post on The New York Times website:


The only change to the recipe I’ve made is baking the challah at 375F instead of the stated 400F, because the first batch was baked at 400F, and it came out very, very dark.  I’ve also added more than the prescribed amount of seeds, substituting the “or” with “and” for several of the choices.  The resulting bread is very seedy (in a good way).  I love the combination of caraway, cumin, coriander, poppy, and black sesame with the dried currants I’ve used in lieu of the raisins.

Meanwhile, I’ve been cutting unsalted butter into a-p flour, then adding ice water to produce something similar to a rough puff.  I used this pastry for the crusts of delicious Meyer lemon curd tarts, with homemade Meyer lemon curd, of course.  I had made a dozen, and all were eaten by the end of the next day by Peter, Kat, and myself.  I used the batter that was left to cut out cinnamon sugar-topped cookies, which also were completely consumed within twenty-four hours, and, yes, the Greek-style pastries about which I’ve written in earlier posts.  The recipe I followed for making homemade phyllo (though I used unbleached a-p flour instead of semolina because finely-ground semolina is much more expensive) is at


The skillet pies I made are made following, loosely,


The resulting pastries are easily frozen and thawed for lunches or snacks.  As you may have noticed, I have referred to many recipes from The New York Times.  That’s due to the convenience and ease of following links to the recipes in mail messages they send to my inbox, and it’s free.

Today, I received my first share from my new CSA, Farm Fresh to You, which delivers shares to my doorstep instead of requiring me to pick it up from a drop-off point. The more typical setup allowed me to forget to pick up my share.  I missed several shares last year with my previous CSA, Be Wise.  I had been a member of Farm Fresh to You previously, but that was when their CSA was in its infancy and the produce left much to be desired.  Since then, FFtY has improved the quality of their produce by hiring more local farms.  FFtY originated in the Bay area).

If folks don’t remember my earlier post on CSA’s, the acronym stands for “Community Supported Agriculture,” and refers to subscription farms. These farms produce vegetables and fruit, which is distributed among its members.  The members pay for the farm’s expenses.  It’s a great way to maintain a relationship to one’s regional growing seasons.  Whatever’s in season is what’s in one’s share.  If, for some reason, it’s a bad year for squash but a wonderful year for tomatoes, one’s share will reflect that.  Apparently, this has been a great season for apples, oranges, and assorted leafy greens.

I appreciate the Farm Fresh to You CSA in particular because it allows me to customize what I receive (to a certain extent), and they deliver my share to my doorstep, so that I never miss a share due to the reasons I stated earlier.  Also, FFtY allows for more different delivery frequencies.  I have initially set my frequency as one share every three weeks.

We have enough time to consume what I receive instead of having my fresh produce pile up in my fridge  and end up wasted.  I don’t have a compost and have been told not to dispose of too much using my in-sink disposal, so to the landfill it goes to decompose anaerobically, producing methane, which, I hope, is burned to produce electricity.  I’ll write more about my continuing  CSA experience in the future if anything comes up that’s worth noting.  I like the system quite a bit, and would encourage everyone who lives in an area with mild enough seasons to allow for a good variety of locally-produced goods to join one.  I encourage people to become locavores if at all possible.  Many CSA’s feature organic produce.  For me, that’s lemon cream cheese frosting on the lemon pound cake.