Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Vacation: Dinners at Edenfred

I've been in Wisconsin since the Fourth of July weekend, most of the time at the Edenfred artists' retreat, rambling around a Madison mansion with a rotating set of writers, musicians, and visual artists. I've occasionally hovered around the fully-stocked kitchen in the afternoon, making a boysenberry version of my chocolate bread pudding and a a half-gianduja variation on Heidi Swanson's chocolate loaf cake, and last night I joined a few other residents for a late-night trip to David Bacco Chocolats in Madison's Hilldale Mall to sample the surprisingly satisfying Madras, Mayan, and White Violet drinking chocolates. But I mostly spend my days editing (and sometimes cutting) pages by the dozen, emerging from my room just in time to join everyone for dinner. And I've been lucky to share the house with several generous souls and good cooks over the past few weeks. I'll leave it to Edenfred director David Wells to publish his recipes for green-chile pork, roasted-red-pepper tapenade, and mushroom and white bean ragout in the official Edenfred cookbook (or at least on the organization's Facebook page), but I'll reproduce recipes from an ad hoc dinner with some of my fellow residents here.

Indian-Spiced Turkey Burgers
Grilled by Howard Pollack, musicologist and author of six books, including George Gershwin: His Life and Work

Howard explains:
I made the five turkey burgers with 1 and 1/2 pounds ground turkey, half breast, half leg, as suggested by the butcher at Whole Foods. I diced and very slowly sauteed a medium-sized onion in about a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil until cooked but not brown, about 25 minutes, after which I added two minced garlic cloves, and a healthy amount (approx. 1 tablespoon each) of sweet curry, coriander, and cumin, and cooked them another minute or two. While the onion mixture cooled, I mixed the turkey meat with salt, pepper, and probably about a half of a cup or more of some mango chutney (avoiding the mango chunks). Because the burgers looked pretty wet, I added an egg white to help bind the meat, but since they still looked wet, I put them in the fridge to set, and then let them come back to room temperature, which seemed to help. At least the burgers didn't fall apart on the grill, which I greased with olive oil. I cooked the burgers on high heat until done, I think it was about 8 minutes for each side, and served them with toasted whole-wheat buns with slices of red onion, tomato, and mango chutney (or whatever the preferred condiment). After a little research, I discovered that this is actually a simplified version of the "chutney turkey burger" recipe in Joy of Cooking, which does not have the sauteed onion and garlic part, but which has you add Dijon mustard and lemon juice and scallion directly into the mix. I'll have to try that next time. However, the amounts of the spices called for in this recipe -- 1 teaspoon cumin and coriander -- seem on the timid side. The book recommends chopping up the mango slices when you add the chutney, and serving the cooked burgers on sourdough bread. I also recommend, for enhanced effect, serving them on a beautiful, breezy summer Wisconsin night on the portico of a 1916 Georgian mansion.

Elotes (Corn with Awesome Toppings)
Boiled up by Christine Lee, woodworking installation artist whose pieces have been on display at the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design, the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, and the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston

Christine's Instructions:
take boiled corn and add:
-lots of butter
-little spread of mayo
-sprinkled chili powder
-sprinkled cojita cheese*
-lime juice

*(parmesan seems to be an ok substitute)

My Impromptu Two-Bean Salad
This is a much-simplified version of the"Three Bean Salad with Jicama and Orange" recipe in Annie Somerville's Field of Greens cookbook.

Drain and rinse two cans of pink beans and one can of pinto beans. Dice one small-to-medium cucumber and one or two shallots. Chop a handful of garlic mint (or another variety of mint). Whisk together (to taste) one teaspoon of lime zest, half a cup of orange juice, two teaspoons of champagne vinegar, two tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon of ground cumin and a pinch each of salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Toss the beans in the vinaigrette and then pour the dressed beans into a serving dish. Artfully arrange the cucumber, shallot, and mint on top.

I also made a summer squash soup for the first course, borrowing yet another recipe from Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks. I used Greek-style yogurt instead of buttermilk and added several handfuls of ice before serving to bring the soup closer to room temperature. It's equally lovely chilled, topped with snipped chives and a drizzle of citrus-infused oil, and you can also add the leftovers to a rainy-day stew.

Many thanks to Cathy Cofell, author of Tiny Little Crushes and Kamikaze Commotion, for the prep work, the extra pictures and--especially--the kitchen cleanup.


Blogger loringp said...

The flag in that first photo is SO from the Milton 4th of July parade. Woo hoo! Miss you, E!

5:22 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous dining room table said...

Wow! It looks like that you really had a great time at Edefred. The foods that you post are all so yummy. I wish I was there.

2:31 AM GMT-5  

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