This weeks dinner menu at the Brown Barn Cafe
Pear and fennel salad 6 – Brace’s orchard still has plenty of pears. The sharpness
of the fennel makes a nice contrast with the sweet subtleness of the pears. A few
shavings of asiago cheese add a salty bite. This one is vegan friendly without the
asiago. I have a vegan substitute that works nicely.
Pistachio, grape, “craisin” and blue cheese salad 8 – One of John’s favorites; it
is simple, elegant and full of wonderful flavor combinations. It will have a place
on the menu for awhile.
Cheese plate 8 – Also a simple thing to prepare. But a lot of care goes into the
pairing of the cheeses. And I love cheese. Still.
Cauliflower and asiago dip with flat bread 6 – Who knew that a failed effort to
make some naan would lead to the favorite dinner bread at the cafe? It isn’t naan.
It isn’t pita. It is entirely it’s own thing. It goes great with anything that naan
or pita goes with too.
Chicken Makhani 18 – This slow cooked chicken and butter dish is some serious
comfort food. Mildly spicy, full of flavor and served over a bed of basmati rice it
is filling, delicious and satisfying.
Cherry Chipotle Short Ribs 19 – another long cooking dish. I special ordered the
ribs from Trovato’s in Clarks Summit, my favorite butcher. The last time I made
them it was high summer and fresh cherries were in season. The original recipie
called for canned cherries, but I figured why not use fresh if they are in season?
Well, I’m still not going to used canned cherries. I bought lots of dried cherries.
The original recipe also wanted Guiness stout. I had the beer in my hand, ready to
buy, when I saw Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat. I put the Guiness back and picked up the Wheat. The dried cherries are getting a soak in the beer over night, then the
cherries and soaking beer are going into the pot with the ribs tomorrow.
Roasted pumpkin and forbidden rice salad 16- The original recipe called for plain
rice and acorn squash. Ho-hum. The last time I made a rice salad with black rice it
was gorgeous with red-yellow nectarines and bright green snap peas. So I decided to go with roasted chunks of pumpkin and plenty of fresh parsley – almost like a
tabouleh there is so much parsley. The original dressing didn’t seem sparky enough
either so I made one with allspice, cardamom, cinamon, cayenne and caraway seeds and plenty of lemon juice and olive oil. I soaked the roasted pumpkin chunks in the dressing and then tossed everything together. The pumpkin is from Miller’s farm in Clarks Summit. The parsley was from Hopkins farm. They had huge bunches of curly parsley on sale today, It looked and smelled wonderful, and that’s what decided me on making this dish more like a tabouleh than the original. It was a good idea. I think.
I’m going to top each serving with toasted pumpkin seeds. I soaked them in a brine
for about 40 minutes while the pumpkin was roasting, and then threw them in the
oven for the last 10 minutes of the pumpkin roast time. They are wonderfully
crunchy and just a bit salty – not overly salty like the ones you buy in a bag at
the store. This is a vegan friendly dish.
Broccoli-Basil Mac and Cheese 16 – This is Heidi Swanson’s (of 101 cookbooks)
recipe. I stuck to it faithfully with the exception of mini penne instead of elbows. Maybe next time I’ll play with it a little, but it is pretty wild all on its own. This mac and cheese is much too good for children. Oh sure, you’d like your own kids to like this – it’s got basil and
broccoli and butternut squash in it – and real cheese! But, after you try it you’ll
want it all for yourself. It is that good. Ovo-lacto vegetarian friendly
Collards with ham – One of the vendors at the Scranton Farmer’s Market – and I’m
ashamed I don’t remember which farm it was – had absolutely fantastic collard
greens today. They were selling them as whole plants. No roots or anything, but the whole brasica cut at the base of the stem. Huge bright green leaves in a fabulous head. It was positively floral. I just had to buy it. I wasn’t planning on having collards on the menu this week, but I just had to have these collards. And what good are collards without some smoked pork product (stop that hissing, vegan
friends! liquid smoke just isn’t the same – although I’m making a bunch of them
without the pork products so you can enjoy them too!) with which to cook them? The Mountain Road Farm smokes the hams from the pigs they raise. They had no hocks, but a ham works for me.
Mountain Road also makes hot dogs, which go in their smoker too. I’m not really a
hot dog person, but these – well, John and I eat them for breakfast at the cafe –
If that’s wrong then I don’t want to be right. I just can’t quit them. Anyway, The
collards bumped whatever it was I had in mind off the menu for a side this week.
Even if what I had in mind was a better fit with the entrees. It is so far bumped
that I can’t even remember what it was. Oh well. The vegetarian version will go
great with the Pumpkin. Both versions will go great with the pumpkin, actually. I
just can’t imagine a carnivore ordering the pumpkin salad when there are short ribs
on the menu too.
Ginger, orange and honey carrots – Sorry again my vegan friends. I tried with agave
syrup and it just didn’t work right. The flavor of Honey is too unique. Anyway,
Hopkins farm had simply fabulous carrots at thier booth today, which is good,
because this was a side that I thought would pair well with any of the entrees;
probably best with the Makhani, but it will work with any of them. Fresh grated
ginger, plenty of clover honey, and juice from Valencia oranges. OK, so they aren’t
local! Not everything can be local. I made spinach with toasted coconut a couple of
weeks ago. The spinach was local, the coconuts were from Costa Rica. Nobody grows them here. When they do, I’ll buy them local. They are Pennsylvania Carrots though, and that’s the important thing. Vegetarian Friendly
Braised red cabbage with apples – I haven’t bought the apples yet. I’ll get them
fresh on the way in to the cafe in the morning. So I don’t know what variety I’ll
be using yet. The red cabbage was from another vendor at the farmers market. It was another impulse buy. It was so red, and so dense. I couldn’t resist it. It will go
great with the short ribs, or the mac and cheese. Vegan Friendly.