Friday, March 28, 2014

Lazy (or is it ingenious?!) cooks' recipes for spring

Boiling Sap in the Brighton Farm Sugar Shack in Maine, March 2006

Goodmorning, friends!  Slowly but surely the spring tizzy season is approaching, which has inspired me to post two recipes here for us which are both very simple to prepare, and completely scrumptious to devour  savour at the end of a long day of productive (and enjoyable) toiling at whatever it is we might be toiling away at.  One is for roasting a whole frozen (!!) chicken (such as a plump,organic, pastured one from Fairmeadow's own fields that perhaps you forgot to take out the day before to thaw - but never fear - could still indeed be supper!), and the other one is for the sweet, sticky goodness that is maple syrup.

I do encourage you to put in a good, honest day's work before preparing the pudding though - as this is really the unwritten ingredient that makes it so good.  I had it for the first time at the end of, what was then, the longest day of haying in my first season of farming.  And on that evening of feeling both extremely satisfied with how much fuller the barn mow was than it had been in the morning, and just wreaked with exhaustion from helping to fill it up with those many hundreds of small square bales, it tasted more yummy than anything I'd ever eaten ever, or ever could again.  In tribute to the warm and fuzzy memory I have of that June afternoon, I generally now make it after any day in the garden feeling that equally long and epic (as some kind of well-earned reward).  Most times after first eating a wholesome meal featuring lots of healthful veggies and protein.  ;O)

Happy Thursday all!  If you're so inclined, keep your fingers crossed for the sap to start running in earnest one of these March days for my friends at Shady Walnut Farm...which is where I'm currently hanging about, at the ready, to help with the boiling of the maple syrup that will follow said running of the sap.  In the meantime the veggie plan making does continue...

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Lazy Cooks' Roasted Whole Chicken
From the Shady Walnut Farm recipe archives   

This is an ingenious way to achieve fall-off-the-bone chicken, from freezer to table, in an afternoon.  I was completely intrigued the first time I saw it prepared....it really works (no poking, prodding, basting, or stuffing required) and is delicious!  

One whole frozen broiler chicken (5-9 lb birds should all work in this recipe)
Roasting pan with tight fitting lid and a bottom rack (or build a rack as I do with sliced root veggies)

Place the (frozen! still can't believe it!) bird in your roasting pan, on top of whatever it is you're using as a rack.  Put the lid on.  Roast in a 335 degree F oven for 4-5 hours.  Take it out and enjoy!  


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Lazy Cooks Maple Pudding (or Maple Pouding Chomeur)

Recipe by Anita Stewart

Serves 6

From the FoodDay Canada recipe archive description: “This delicious self-saucing pudding from the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec is laced with maple syrup and is a perfect dessert served with a bit of table cream.”   

I’ve definitely played around with substituting some or all of the unbleached all-purpose flour the recipe calls for with whole grain alternatives.  If you’re not avoiding gluten, spelt is nice.  I leave it to you to adapt as you’d like/need! 

Pudding
1 cup cane sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup milk
¼ cup melted butter 

Sauce
¾ cup maple syrup
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup water
¼ cup butter
1 tsp pure vanilla 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, stir or sift together the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the milk and melted butter, stirring to make a thick batter. Transfer to a lightly-oiled 8 cup (2 L) glass casserole.

To make the sauce, in a saucepan stir together the maple syrup, brown sugar, water, butter and vanilla.  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the pudding base.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until bubbling and golden.

Hiiiiiiii, chicken!  Aren't we all just dreaming of grass that's greener on the other side at this point...

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