Blue Heron Local Cuisine

Cooking, Eating, and Drinking on the North Shore (and beyond)

Binder Clips and Paneer March 5, 2009

Filed under: Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 8:16 pm
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It's not a bomb, it's paneer!

Paneer is the Indian cheese found in such eponymous dishes as palak paneer (spinach and paneer) and matar paneer (peas and paneer). Making paneer cheese is actually quite easy. All you need is milk (local of course), lemons, vinegar, and cheesecloth. Paneer needs time to sit, though, so make it the day before you want to serve it.

When I first learned to make paneer, I quickly found out that whole milk makes cottage cheese, not firm cubes. Skim milk makes the firmest cubes, but doesn’t have much taste. I like 1% milk for this. Also, paneer is a great use for milk of suspect freshness.

You will need at least 6 or 7 lemons and 4 Tb of rice wine vinegar. (Don’t skimp on the lemons, and vinegar is the insurance.)

I boil water in a short 2-gallon stockpot and make a double boiler with a big stainless steel mixing bowl. (I much prefer this to boiling milk directly on the heat, as I always, always scorch it. Ed. note: scorched milk is a bitch to clean.) (more…)


Defend Zucchini! August 7, 2008

Filed under: In Season,Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 8:51 pm
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(thanks squidoo and alex gee for the photo)

(thanks squidoo and alex gee for the photo)

Although zucchini has been bad-mouthed in the past, possibly even here, I do love it. Here are some other people who love it too. But I still feel that it is my duty to warn you that Friday is Sneak Some Zucchini onto your Neighbor’s Porch Night. Here are some more details about this important holiday.


Should you find an unexpected gift on your porch tomorrow morning, here is Cara’s yummy Zucchini Pasta recipe.


Peel the skin off the zucchini and discard. With the vegetable peeler, peel the flesh into long strips. Discard the hard center. Place the strips in a bowl and toss with salt. Let sit for 20 minutes so the zucchini absorbs the salt, which seems to bring out its flavor.
Meanwhile, cook up a pot of orecchiette pasta (it’s ear-shaped; orecchiette means “ear” in Italian).
Saute some minced garlic in olive oil for 30–60 seconds and then add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes. Combine pasta and zucchini mixture, top with a lot of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino. I think I may have added fresh parsley, too, at the end.


-goldlentil (and cara)


The Zucchini Wars July 17, 2008

Filed under: In Season — blueheronlocal @ 4:34 pm
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Back when I lived with roommates in JP, we split our local CSA three ways. Usually this worked out very well: when we got only two tomatoes, one roommate would use hers in dahl and the other  would use hers in a sandwich, they kindly saved me the bulk of the arugula (my love for arugula knows no bounds). However, in mid July we sometimes fought over zucchini. We got a lot of zucchini and there are only so many ways three women can eat zucchini. We began to keep track. Tempers ran high.
      “I used two last week, it’s your turn!” said one roommate out of frustration one day.
      “Don’t look at me” I said “I put zucchini in my stir fry yesterday.”




When you start quantifying zucchini consumption, you know you have problems. I made spaghetti sauce with some one week and felt virtuous, but there were still five left in the refrigerator drawer. One roommate made chilled curried zucchini soup. She used three zucchinis, but none of us loved the recipe. I sliced a fourth one very thin for sandwiches (fresh mozzarella, herbs, vinaigrette, and thinly sliced zucchini is surprisingly good). That lasted all week. One zucchini to go and then it was Saturday when we picked up our CSA share and got six more zucchinis. Our household survived zucchini season intact, but after it was over, none of us voluntarily brought zucchini into the house until late February.


Zucchini grows well on the North Shore too. My neighbor just gave me a zucchini the size of my arm. What will I do with it? Zucchini fritters? Stuffed zucchini? I’ll let you know.




Enjoying Beets July 8, 2008

Filed under: Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 12:41 pm
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Katherine’s Raw Beet Slaw

A few years ago I spent a month at an artist’s colony, where, on Sunday nights, all the writers and artists would cook together. The administrator of the program made a raw beet slaw, telling us that no matter how we felt about beets, we would all like it. And we all did.


(thanks, tinyfarmblog!)

(thanks, tinyfarmblog!)

The Slaw

Finely shred two to three of your beautiful CSA beets until your fingers are tired and stained red. Then shred of slice very finely half a head of cabbage, a small onion, a pepper, and as many carrots as you have wilting in the bottom of your refridgerator. Add a bunch of parsley or cilantro. Mix together, wash your hands, and make the vinaigrette.



The Vinaigrette

1 clove of garlic (or more) mashed and diced

1/2 tsp cumin (if you used the cilantro)

1/2 tsp oregano (if you used the parsley)

1/4 cup cider vinegar or lemon juice

3/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Pour the vinaigrette into the slaw and mix. Put in the refrigerator for a few hours to let the flavors get to know each other.


Thierry’s Favorite Beet Salad

My brother-in-law is French and this is his favorite salad. Are you going to argue with a Frenchman about food?


Boil a bunch of baby beets until tender (this takes a long time, don’t get discouraged, but make sure to start cooking before you are hungry). Remove from the water and let cool.


While the beets are cooling, prepare a nice bed of CSA Arugula or other spicy lettuces. Crisp up a few slices of Haloumi cheese in your favorite olive oil. Drain on a clean rag or paper towel.


Once everything has cooled, slip the skin off the beets and place them whole or sliced on the lettuce. Garnished with dry-roasted walnuts or pine nuts, the Hauloumi, and red onion slices.


Make a vinaigrette using 1 part orange juice (with zest if you’re using a real orange) to 2 parts olive oil. Add homemade croutons and dress.





Two Easy Ways to Cook Fresh Greens July 4, 2008

Filed under: Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 12:49 pm
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So, you’ve got a bunch—no pun intended—of local greens and you’re wondering how to cook with them. These suggestions are for hardier greens, like arugula, spinach, bok choy, and other Asian greens (not lettuce).


Chop up your greens (say, a couple of handfuls per person) and sauté them in olive oil and garlic for a few minutes until softened. Add to an omelet with some pecorino or parmesean cheese.


Do the same as above, but after sautéing for a minute or two, add a little chicken stock, cover the pot, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until only a little stock remains. Add greens and stock mixture to cooked pasta, top with fresh parsley and freshly grated cheese. Yum! (You might add some local tomatoes, freshly chopped, to this summer pasta dish.)

(thanks, veggie gardening tips, for the photo)




The Beginning June 18, 2008

Filed under: Farmers market — blueheronlocal @ 2:33 pm
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Beet greens at market

(photo from Tinyfarmblog, thanks!)


I’m pleased to begin this blog with the first farmers’ market of the year in Marblehead, Massachusetts. I’m the person picking through shriveled apples in late November, trying to eke out my supply of fresh local vegetables for another week. One of the things I loved about living in Boston was the sheer number of farmers’ markets. It was City Hall on Monday and Wednesday; Copley Square on Tuesday and Friday, Thursday was Brookline, and Saturday was the farmers’ market in my very own JP. Sunday was the day to cook up all my lovely vegetables before I ventured out again to buy more. Now that I live on the North Shore I go to the farmers’ market on Saturday, but the quality of the Marblehead Farmers’ Market makes up for the fact that it only happens once a week.


The first farmer’s market of the season is always about greens. Back in the days I lived in North Carolina (sigh…the Carrboro Farmers Market was better than any Yankee market I have seen thus far….) greens season began in March. There would be collards, kale, mustard greens, arugula, red-leaf lettuce, beet greens, turnip greens, and watercress. The good folks of Marblehead have their greens in mid-June. I saw three kinds of lettuce, along with some spinach, and garlic snips, which are sprouts from the garlic bulb. They have a mild garlic flavor and taste very good sautéed in olive oil and served over fish (or anything else). I bought a cup of fair trade coffee to console myself for the lack of mustard greens. Our favorite Vermont cheese lady was there and we cheerfully stocked up on Cambridge cheese and the best lamb, rosemary, red wine, and feta sausages I have ever eaten.


Marblehead Farmers’ Market is open June 14 through October 25, 912. It is located at 217 Pleasant Street in Marblehead (take a dramatic 165-degree turn onto Vine Street just past the middle school to enter the middle school parking lot). Or just park in the shade across from the school on Pleasant Street.