Welcome to our April gathering of the Cottage Cooking Club where we monthly gather to share recipes from the cookbook “River Cottage veg everyday!” the vegetable centric cookbook written by British author and television cooking celebrity, Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall .
Early on in the month, our fearless leader, and talented blogger/photographer, Andrea, of The Kitchen Lioness, notes from a very small German Kitchen, provides a seasonal list of recipe choices from among the books collection. The Cottage Cooking Club, members choose what they plan to prepare before again gathering together late in the month, sharing personal experiences and thoughts on each of the dishes among those recipes they have tried.
First up in April I chose to prepare the Upside-down onion tart. Peeling the outer skin of a few onions cutting them into eighths while keeping the root ends attached, the slices were fanned across a buttered and oiled tart pan whose concentric resembles an apple Tarte Tatin. Sprinkled with salt and pepper, the onions cook about twenty minutes until tender nearly producing that rich brown edged color of caramelizing. The magic flavor transforms in sprinkling the onions all about with Balsamic vinegar, cooking another ten minutes, before placing a shaped round of puff pastry right onto the onions and baking until the pastry is puffed and golden all around. Once inverted onto a platter, well, perhaps you agree, the Upside-down onion tart is quite lovely in its appearance. It’s flavor, I thought, equal to its appearance. I would prepare this dish again though I think I might opt for cutting off the small root pieces while still taking time and care to arrange the onion in its pretty fan shape.
The second dish, well fitted to the bright colors of spring, Pasta with new potatoes, green beans and pesto. Easy to whip up, herbs basil, parsley, and mint took a nice little wiz alongside the other usual pesto suspects, garlic, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and of course, olive oil. With bit of fresh lemon juice bringing it all home, the penne worked nicely with the gracefully slender, fresh haricot verts which I was lucky to get my hands on at the market, as I had a hard time finding them early on in the month. Admittedly, by the time I found them, I had already used my batch of little spring potatoes, initially purchased for such purpose, and these were then not available at the market at the same time, ugh. Not my preference for this dish, but the Idaho russets fit the bill for all practical purposes. Not only did I like this dish for a picnic, but, thought it fit perfectly for after game Tailgating. I do have a pasta/pesto that I have prepared for such occasions but do like the idea combining the green beans and new little potatoes and the stoned green olives.
And finally, for April, I’ve prepared the celery gratin side dish. Once baked, the retained celery liquid is then drained into a measuring cup and combined with cream, seasoned, and poured back into the gratin dish with the roasted celery before being topped off with buttered bread crumbs and cheese. Quite brilliant really. I did indeed enjoy this little gratin heightening the flavor of celery.
A month filled with lots of activities, April definitely induced spring fever, including a start on my edible container garden on the deck, the big vegetable garden readied for planting beneath, there was a 65th Birthday celebration at a winery in Virginia for one of the Dads among our now graduated former field hockey team families, the annual Philly Farm and Food Fest, a few seminar classes at an area university, group gatherings, and even surprise contacts from old friends not seen in years… including one from high school, a long, long, long, time ago. These then precluded the preparation of Chilies stuffed with beans, and a couple of other recipes in our April selections from River Cottage veg everyday, but then, we’ve plenty yet ahead to prepare as we continue gathering together in our very special Cottage Cooking Club.
Too see what other members of the Cottage Cooking Club have prepared this month click here. If you are a food blogger and would like to join our group you are most welcomed by all, lots of fun, food, and friendship, and some laughs sprinkled in there as well! See you in May!