Sunday, October 09, 2005

Apple Picking - NOT!

Dear Kitchenette,

As you know, there was no joy in mudville as DC turned into mudville as well as waterville this Saturday. The skies opened Friday and just refused to stop raining until it became dark on Saturday. So there was no apple picking. If you heard the wailing coming from Capitol Hill, that was me having my apple picking thwarted. My friends and I did have a rain plan, which was to do a potluck at Auntie Em's and Uncle Phys. Undaunted, I did go to Eastern Market and get locally grown apples for the potluck but I wasn't so undaunted that I wanted to carry a half gallon of cider home with me in the rain. So no cider doughnuts. However, that's on my list. My goal is to make those puppies by the end of the year.

Disappointment aside, the rain plan turned into one of the best potlucks I've ever attended. People were really geared up for a fall potluck and I was impressed by the coherence of the menu. The starter was a basic crudite platter from Costco (Yay sugar snap peas!) along with a plate of cheese and bread (with a particularly lovely goat cheese). Em and Phys also made barley and mushroom casserole that was the definition of hearty. This may be disputed, but that casserole could give mac and cheese a some competition in the comfort food category. G-Squared brought warming squash and apple soup that fit perfectly with the fall menu. Continuing in the squash vein Stinkle provided a butternut squash lasagna that layered lasagna noodles with pureed butternut squash and a goat cheese/ricotta cheese mixture. This led to a discussion about creating the lasagna version of muffin tops. That is to say, Em and I agreed that the best part of a lasagna was the crusty sides that were all crunchy and carmelized. Could we invent a lasagne pan that only had crusty sides? For dessert S made pumpkin bread and I decided to be a little creative and make two apple crostadas (or gallettes as Phys pointed out). Is there a difference between a gallette and a crostada? This was supplemented with vanilla ice cream from the hosts' freezer. A great menu for the far reaching discussions about the DC housing market (DC law requires that every dinner party bemoan the inflated prices), pornography for straight women, and tips on quilting and knitting.

For those interested in making a crostada (or gallette):

Make filling for 1 apple pie. Roll your pie crust to disk that is 12-14 inches in diameter (and no thinner than 1/4 inch thick). Roll out onto a greased cookie sheet. Dump the filling into the middle of the rolled out crust, leaving a 3 inch border on every side. Fold the border onto the filling. You should have about four inches in diameter of filling exposed. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.


Anonymous said...

J seemed so enthralled with the casserole I thought'd I'd pass it along, though I'm uncertain if this is the appropriate location for it within you Blog. If not, please relocate and let me know for future reference.

Barley and Mushroom Casserole
(from Perfect Food, Perfect Health, pg 10)

3.5 oz Shiitake Mushrooms
1 Tbsp Margarine or butter
8 oz. Mushrooms, sliced
4 cups water or broth
1 cup barley, uncooked
1 oz. dried onion soup mix
pinch chives (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Remove and discard stems from shiitake mushrooms; slice mushroom caps. Heat mararine in a medium nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add shiitake and other mushrooms; saute 5 min. or until t3ender. Set aside.

3. Combine water, barley, and onion soup mix in a 3-quart casserole dish; stir in mushroom mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 min, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Garnish with chives as desired.

Auntie Em's Notes: The casserole thickens as it cools, so not all liquid must be absorbed before removing the dish from the oven. Use plenty of mushrooms and use good quality soup mix for the best flavor (we like Lipton).

Yields 6 servings

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