On Sour Milk
Buttermilk makes another strong showing in the CSA this week. Depending on the type of buttermilk you grew up with, you might read this with either a wince (“what am I going to do with MORE buttermilk?”) or a quick fist pull to the waist (“YES! Woo-Hoo!”). For the uninitiated, or the ones who grew up with that thin, pallid liquid version buried deep in your grocer’s refrigerated section, you may wonder what the allure is of this fresh dairy staple. But to those who’ve had the pleasure of tasting the fresh, thick, creamy buttermilk that comes from happy Jersey cows, you know the delight that comes from drinking it straight from the jug. It coats your top lip and you can practically taste the emerald grass those cows lazed about in.
This is the kind of buttermilk in your CSA. And we promise you can taste the difference.
In The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook (2013, Andrews McNeel) by Diane St. Clair, the author offers a wealth of recipes that employ the use of this liquid, from a variety of cultures: Indian, South African, Macedonian, Iranian, and Nordic. Buttermilk breaks the language barrier as it plays an integral role in lassi, filmjolk, surmelk, tykmaelk, and doogh. The powerful lactic acid tames the heat of spicy food, softens the toughest of cuts of meat, and leavens mere flour to become an ethereal biscuit. Reading on, St. Clair says it seems there is almost nothing buttermilk cannot do: from soothing colitis or oral thrush, to healing canker sores and killing off stubborn parasites. She also suggests adding four cups buttermilk to a warm bath with a little lavender oil for a smoothing sensory experience. And a cold buttermilk compress has been known to take the sting out of many an unwanted sunburn.
We hope you feel inspired to try something new with your buttermilk share this week. If you are still in need of inspiration, try the following St. Clair’s recipe.
Harissa Buttermilk Dressing
(makes ¾ cup dressing).
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup good mayonnaise
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- season to taste with salt and pepper
Looking for something sweet? Try your hand at this recipe from Angie Mosier (as found in the Buttermilk Short Stack, volume 4, All Day Press, 2013).
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 4 cups (about 1.5 pounds) peeled and sliced peaches
- grated zest of one lemon
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- ½ cup sugar, divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tbsp. sugar
Preheat oven to 375*F. Rub the 2 tablespoons softened butter into an 8-inch-square baking dish.
In a mixing bowl, combine the peaches, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, cornstarch and ¼ cup of the sugar, tossing with your hands until the peaches are coated evenly. Pour the peach mixture into the baking dish.
In another bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and buttermilk and stir together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just incorporated. Pour the batter over the peaches, covering them and allowing the batter to drip down into the crevices. Drizzle the 3 tablespoons of melted butter over the batter, then sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Serve immediately (the cobbler taste best when it’s still hot). A scoop of ice cream on top would be an excellent idea.
WHAT'S IN THE BAG
A complete list of the contents of the CSA share this week
- Hothouse Cucumbers - Greenleaf Nursery / Joppa, Alabama
- English Peas - Habersham Farms / Mentone, Alabama
- Fingerling Potatoes - Habersham Farms / Mentone, Alabama
- Shallots - Habersham Farms / Mentone, Alabama
- Cured Vidalia Onions - Valdosta, Georgia
- Strawberries - Mountain View Orchards / Jemison, Alabama
- Early Flavor Rich Peaches - Penton Farms / Chilton County, Alabama
From Stone Hollow
- Baby Carrots
- Flat Leaf Parsley
- Cow's Milk Yogurt
- Tokyo Bekana Greens
- Nasturtium Flowers
- Herbs (garlic chives, chocolate mint, thyme)
- Assorted Radishes
- Hen Eggs
- Goat Cheese
- Stone Hollow Farmstead / Harpersville, Alabama
Cheese and/or Yogurt
- 12 mo. Manchego - Gran Valle de Montecelo / la Mancha, Spain
- Bells of Ireland
- Wild Bergamot
- Queen Anne's Lace
- Various Mint
Recipes We Love From People We Trust
In honor of Highlands Bar and Grill's James Beard Award last night for Nation's Most Outstanding Restaurant, we want to share a recipe from Frank Stitt's Southern Table (2004, Artisan).
(makes about 1 cup)
- 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- ½ small shallot, finely minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp. sour cream
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, and salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Roasted Fingerling Potato Crisps w/ Shallots + Rosemary - or try w/ thyme and/or chives