Thursday, January 27, 2011

100 mile dinner in Dallas

 So many lovely memories from this last May forming new friendships with some of the greatest Dallas area chefs and bringing some well deserved recognition to our local foods, farmers and gardens.

I joined Master Chef Sharon Van Meter, Graham Dodds from Bolsa, Times Ten Cellars, Janice Provost from Parigi and Randall Copeland from Restaurant Ava to cook up local ingredients from the likes of Tom Spicer, J.T. Lemley, Windy Meadows, Gnismer Farms, Paula Lambert, Lucky Layla, Neu dairy and others.

The dinner benefited a local community garden and was held at the Filter House at White Rock Lake in Dallas. It was a truly amazing setting and the local band, local wildflower arrangements and locally made art, from the children at the community garden, made it among one of my favorite events to date.

Thanks so much for letting Hannah's be part of your community! We cherish each and every year!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The perfect one

 I love root vegetables, they are of course the best in Winter and their varieties and uses keep expanding, think candy stripe beets for added color in cold weather salads and Jicama in stir fry.

One of the oldest and most common roots is the carrot which gets passed by at your local grocery as merely a component in grander soups, sauces and stews. The lowly carrot takes center stage here at Hannah's as you can imagine. We go through about 50 pounds a week and in addition to our Carrot cake, it becomes our fastest "go to" soup with easy Carrot Ginger Bisque and a great side dish like carrots au gratin for last minute specials.

But my favorite way to eat carrots is to pickle them with a little bit of Jalapeno for a sharp bite. Actually I just love pickled anything. We are kinda known for adding lots of house pickled items to our weekly specials. If something sits still too long, someone in the kitchen is bound to pickle it!

So here is my favorite recipe for pickled carrots which goes great as a side to Winter sandwiches, warm hummus, cheese plates and Charcuterie.

Adapted from  Epicurious
1 pound (450 g) carrots, peeled
1 1/4 cups (310 ml) water
1 cup (280 ml) cider vinegar
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
2 garlic cloves, lightly-crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel or dill seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 bay leaves
1 jalapeno cut in half- seeds left intact

1. Cut the carrots into stick approximately the size of your fourth finger. Bring a medium-sized pot of lightly-salted water to a boil. (Use a non-reactive pot.)
2. When the water boils, drop the carrots in and simmer for one minute. Pour into a colander and rinse under cold water. Drain thoroughly.
3. In the same pot, heat the remaining ingredients. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for two minutes.
4. Remove from heat and add the carrot sticks. Cool until room temperature, then put into jars and chill.
Carrot sticks should be made at least one day in advance, and will keep for up to four weeks in the refrigerator.