Sherrie Flick

Sentences and Food

Food, Writing, Cooking, Gardening. That's what I think about.

Grilled Cheese Improvisation: Roasted Beets with Cambozola Bleu

My recent exceptional improvisational lunch was due, in part, to our new Winter CSA from Kretschmann Organic Farms, located in Rochester, Pa.

The thing about a CSA is that it encourages you to eat vegetables in different quantities than you might choose otherwise. This is how I came to have an extraordinary amount of roasted beets in my refrigerator. Beets are great. They’re pretty and nutritious and tasty. And so this afternoon I thought: Hmmm… Grilled cheese?

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Cookie Exchange: Cashew Shortbread

Once a month I get together with friends to eat and play music. We call it Hoot Night. Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Gillian Welch–I’m learning to play the ukelele. This month we decided to make our get-together a hoot-potluck-cookie exchange.

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Delicious Giftious: Sesame-Oat Cinnamon Swirl Bread

In the colder months I bake bread once a week. Since I work from home most of the time, it’s pretty easy to incorporate the mixing, kneading, rising, and baking into my schedule. (The whole process takes about 3 hours.) Plus, when it’s really cold I get to turn on the oven for bonus heat in the kitchen! For those of you with a 9-5:00 schedule, winter weekend mornings are a great time to let the bread dough lead the way.

Each December I bake something delicious to give to friends and family for holiday presents. Some years it’s cookies (See last week’s Chocolate Ginger Snap post); some years it’s traditional Christmas stollen, while others I get into the whole rhythmic process of making a bunch of yeasted breads.

When this urge hits me, I turn to the recipe for “Sesame-Oat Cinnamon Swirl Bread” from Beatrice Ojakangas Great Whole Grain Breads Cookbook (p. 127). The bread itself has a fantastic texture—the oats combined with the toasted sesame seeds and wheat flour. Sprinkling the cinnamon and rolling it up adds a festive, fun touch to the process.

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Holiday Happiness: The Chocolate Ginger Snap

For 10 years, I helped run a literary reading series here in Pittsburgh. Each month I baked something for the impromptu potluck on the side tables of the sculpture loft where the Gist Street Readings were staged. The raves for my chocolate ginger snaps never stopped, even after 10 years in the rotation.

After ending the series last December, I haven’t had as many excuses to make cookies. But with the holiday season rolling around, there’s the great grand practice of food gift giving to get me going.

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$35: A Week of Healthy Eating

$35: one week of healthy food. I thought, surely a person could try this experiment while eating healthy, local, and organic. No processed foods, no problem.

Sure, I thought again—just a bit doubtful. I like a challenge.

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A Pressing Matter: Hard Cider

Today’s guest blog is brought to you by writer and editor Bob Hoover

I’ve been making my own cider on and off for 30 years as a productive way to use my extra “capacity” from a formerly busy home brewing operation; that is, the leftover bottles and empty fermenting vessels.

The sweet or unfermented cider came from local apples pressed into juice and sold at farmer’s markets. That’s where I first met Don Kretchmer, then a lone voice of organic farming who brought his beets, greens and cider to the city’s first farm market on the North Side of Pittsburgh in the early 1980s.

There was only one in those days, Fridays in a parking lot across the street from West Park. I would get five gallons from Kretchmer and turn it into hard cider in my fermenting “cellars,” the chilly basement of my Mexican War Streets home.

Over the intervening years, I’ve tried other sources of cider, probably the best a serious orchard in Washington County which provides the juice to several state wineries, but I had always wanted to get the stuff the way the French apparently do from ugly misshapen, rough apples that were rejected for eating and left to rot on the ground.

These apples were shriveled from drying, meaning the sugar in them was concentrated, turning the cider made from them into a perfect medium for the “Pasteur” commercial champagne yeast to convert it into a pure, maybe even organic hard cider.

Sherrie Flick to the rescue. Untended apple trees sprinkle her family farm in faraway (well, two hours) Forest County, Pennsylvania. There I could pick all the apples I wanted and store them in the farm’s spring house to let them concentrate that sugar.

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Grilled Cheese Improvisation: Delicious Pear Slices

It has been an apple and pear obsessed fall. Apple pie, pear cake, applesauce and jelly. It goes on and on. So many apples and pears to pick, and then so many recipes to use them in.

My Aunt Laura and Uncle Bill have a beautiful pear tree on their property, and with a bumper crop this year, they put a call out for anyone who could help diminish their bounty of Starking Delicious pears.

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Pear Yogurt Muffins: Think Fall

I can’t remember a Fall when I cooked and baked more pears and apples. Chutneys, pies, cakes, and jellies have lined the cooling racks and pantry shelves through September and October giving my kitchen a sweet nostalgic smell.

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Sherrie Cooks (at Chuck Kinder’s House): Slaughtering the Squash

I’d been stalking the squash for weeks. Sure, vegetables move slow, but you never know when they’re going to deceive you out there, looking innocent in the garden.

Clips in hand, I went at it speedy-like in the early dawn with dew on the grass and the birds singing, squirrels scampering, and the pack of urban deer out on the neighbor’s lawn, looking like they’re on a smoke break before decimating the raspberries.

I don’t have ethical convictions one way or another about slaughtering butternuts. It had to be done. I had dinner to make. Greens to sauté. Clip. Clip. And it was over. Painless. I cradled the five-pounder in my arms, walked back inside, my little dog nipping at my heels.

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SULLIVAN STREET LAMB: A Guest Post by Catherine Piccoli

This week food writer Catherine Piccoli takes over my blog with a tale about her family, Greenwich Village, and a live lamb. –Sherrie

With NYU just nearby, Greenwich Village looks like any other urban university setting at ground level. Bars, hipsters, trendy cafes, and bicycles are the norm now, but the apartment building where my Grandma grew up and where my Dad was born still stands there, above the hip din – all seven floors of tan brick and black-painted fire escape at 142 Sullivan Street.

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