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30-something mother, wife, lawyer, writer, design junkie, craftaholic, cook

likes: clever tools, snazzy colors, working for justice, kid wrangling, Meyer lemons

dislikes: inefficiency, civil discovery, most shades of purple, Tori Amos

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Entries in cooking (8)


A menu for success?

© 2010 Cameron Blazer // Cottage Industrialist
Ok, so these carrots and asparagus are no longer in season (I took this pic of my farmer's market haul back in April), but OOH! PRETTY! Thackeray Farms Carrots, Kennerty Farms Asparagus, Wadmalaw Island eggs

Last week I brought you photos of my friend Alex's amazing back yard farm. And I mentioned that our visit had inspired me to dig in hard with my ongoing efforts to eat more locally, seasonally available food.

I have long eschewed planning as something that other people—you know, the kind who balance their checkbooks, plan responsibly for retirement, and wear shoes indoors—do, but not me. It's not that I will completely defend my disorganization—let's call it my "organic" approach to life—I am a lifelong scatterbrain, and it's one of the things I dislike most about myself. Important things get forgotten; deadlines get squeezed; projects get buried under other projects never to be finished, or only to be rediscovered hours before a deadline.

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Chicken Pot Pi

Chicken Pot Pi © 2010 Cameron Blazer // Cottage Industrialist
Happy Pi Day, friends! What? You don't celebrate 3.14? The day devoted to all things circular, mysterious, and immutable? Hmm. You may not be nerdy enough for this website.

I love pie. But I really love pi. Like, as in, I wrote a poem about it. But I really love that March 14, also known as 3.14, is a chance to indulge in pastry goodness in the name of the great ratio.

In that spirit, I set about to make a pie worthy of Sunday supper: a chicken pot pie. Now I know at least one person who is so traumatized by the childhood spectre of frozen pot pies with pearl onions and english peas that I can do nothing to remedy her image of the dreaded pot pie. But I didn't grow up with pot pie—my mom never made it fresh or frozen—so I have no ties to the old ways of doing it. As an adult, I have tried many a pot pie--some good, some, well, if you can't say anything nice... I had one a few months ago that featured a light broth studded with edamame and lima beans, and it was fabulous. And another not too long ago sported a thicker bechamel-y sauce chockablock with duck confit and carrots. Also fabulous.

For my version, I wanted to make personal-sized pies. Because who doesn't like tiny food? But I didn't want to go the route of most personal-sized pies I've had: a pie served within a piece of hot crockery. My little boy is pretty clever, but I didn't think it was fair to serve him a molten piece of ceramic filled with boiling bits of chicken and vegetables. So I used my tiny springform pans (available in my OpenSky shop) to make personal pot pies that could stand on their own.

Continue reading Chicken Pot Pi . . .

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Tortellini! Recipe and Video Tutorial

Photo © 2010 David Mandel // Ampersand Industries

A few weeks ago, my dad gave me a hand-crank pasta machine that he hadn't used very much, hoping, perhaps, that a new machine would cure me of my curious wafflemania. It worked like a charm. I am now totally pastamanic.

This weekend, while fiddling around with the machine, I decided to make filled pasta. But there was one problem. I had no ricotta, no ground meats, no beautiful vegetable purées with which to fill my pasta. But there was a fresh carton of plain, whole-milk greek yogurt. Why couldn't that be a filling for tortellini or ravioli? Friends. Friends! It can be a filling for tortellini. A gorgeous, silky, tart filling. When both my husband and my son (he of long months of entrenched mistrust of all things pasta) devoured it and asked for more, I knew I had a winner on my hands.

And so my husband and I put together this wee (ok, "wee" is a bit misleading, since this thing clocks in at 20 minutes) video tutorial illustrating from start to finish how to make the semolina pasta dough I used (no eggs!), the filling (eggs here!), and the classic tortellini shape. This was our first crack at making a video. I hope you guys like it. But be forewarned. There is a fair amount of 1) me talking and 2) my ghostly pale skin throughout this video; only the brave should venture forward:

Click here for the recipe and video:

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Saving Supper

Sometimes I (ahem) forget to post when my projects don't quite work out. And so it could seem to the uninformed observed that I have some kind of Martha perfection complex. But, really? I really, really don't. Honest. Here's what I do have: a belief when things go wrong that I'm smart enough to fix them or flexible enough to reset my expectations, redefine the goal when fixing is out of reach.*

Let's work backwards, shall we?

Yummy, non? Chicken, greens, potatoes...what's not to love?

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Pumpkin Spice Muffins

© 2009 Cameron Blazer // Cottage Industrialist

I accept the coming of Fall only reluctantly. Though my ancestors all hailed from rainy, gloomy, Northern climes, I was born for sun and heat and Summer. Still, even I can acknowledge that fall does have its charms. Leaves changing colors. Glorious, glowing harvest moons. The incomparable coziness of the first sweater of the season. Those are nice. But, let's face it, for me to get excited about the Fall I have to focus on the food.

Sunday afternoon was crisp and cool and sunny. While le kid took an increasingly rare nap, I was gripped--gripped, I tell you!--by the need to make pumpkin muffins. There were a couple of reasons for this. One? Pumpkin + spice + cake-y, muffin-y goodness? You really need another reason? Well, alright then. See, I was feeling guilty because for most of the past week I had been sending the kiddo off to school with nothing more than a crummy pop-tart (organic! non-frosted! he calls them "pastries!") in his belly. By Friday I was feeling guilty, and I made eggs and bacon before leaving for work. Realistically, though, eggs and bacon just aren't going to be a regular week-day occurence in our house. Did you know that the sauté pan does not magically clean itself while the rest of the world toils away? Enter my new friend, pumpkin muffin.

I reasoned that if I enriched pumpkin (practically a superfood, no?) with whole wheat, I could feel really good (bordering on smug) about my food-based parenting skills. But everytime I've ever made muffins with whole wheat flour they've come out leaden and sawdusty. What to do? After some tinkering, I came up with a recipe that is very heavy on pumpkin and combines whole wheat flour with white cake flour (compromise, people!). The result is, if I may say, gloriously moist, light, and chockablock with pumpkin. I also used a mixture of white and brown sugars. The little bit of molasses from the brown sugar, combined with the ginger/cardamom/cinnamon gives these a gingerbread-y taste, too, of which I am very fond. Also? They come together easy-peasy and make a minimal mess. I'd say these are a keeper.

© 2009 Cameron Blazer // Cottage Industrialist

If you'd like to download and print the recipe, I've made it (as well as three blank recipe cards) available as a printable PDF.

Also? I cannot guarantee my accuracy (as my calculations are based on information gathered from calorie counters all over the Internet), but I think the nutrition info for these muffins breaks down like so: 220 Calories • 3.6 g protein • 6 g fat • 2 g protein.


Do you have a favorite autumnal recipe? Are you looking for something you can't quite put your finger on? Head over to the new discussion board (!) to share. Triumphs and failures welcome!