Big Fat Perogies and Stuffed Peppers

Meal 1: Big Fat Perogies, Beets w/ Hook’s Blue Paradise, and Braised Cabbage w/ Guanciale
• Warm the perogies quickly for 30 seconds in the microwave to get the chill out of them and allow the cooking heat to penetrate the interior of the perogies. Now heat two tablespoons of butter ( or neutral oil, NOT olive ) until it foam subsides and the butter begins to turn brown. Add the perogies and allow them to brown and crisp 2-3 minutes. Turn them and brown the other side similarly. Stand on the back edge to crisp that spot too. Add butter as necessary to cook evenly. Avoid pan toasting them.
• Heat the cabbage in a sauté pan with a splash of water and maybe a knob of butter if you like ( I do !)
• Serve the beets chilled.

Meal 2: Sweet Corn Stuffed Banana Peppers with Black Bean-Tomatillo Sauce and Summer Crisp Salad
• Heat the Peppers and Beans in the oven at 300 for 25 -30 minutes for a single share, up to 40 for 4 shares.
• Dress and serve the salad.

Menu Notes
There was a couple of field irresistibles from the Tree Farm this week. First was banana peppers. Those golden pendant like fruits just calling “Stuff Us!” Well OK. So I picked up some sweet corn from Brookside Gardens here in Mazomanie and added some brown basmati and a little Carr Valley Cheese. I knew I wanted them on a bed of black beans but added some tomatillo to the dish when I found them at the farmer’s market. That is something I love about the job – being able to move on an inspiration or adjust on the fly to incorporate or replace something in a menu depending on what is available or just optimal.
Secondly was the cabbage. I love cabbage. Love it. The plants, the heads, sauerkraut, stuffed cabbage, and perhaps best of all simple braised cabbage. The key to this dish is the melting mouthfeel the leaves take on especially when combined with pork fat. Sorry veggie folks. The cabbage gets braised in the oven first with the lid on to wilt the leaves and then unlidded to brown the leaves and concentrate flavors. Classically it is all braised together – the cabbage and the pork. But for everyone I prepared them separately and added the browned guanciale to the top of the omnivore portions. Just fold it in and enjoy. The guanciale is made from pork jowl that I cure with salt and spices and press down for about a month and then air dry for another month or so. These were made from pork from Karen Laing Lisa Juday at Prairie Fire Farm in Cambridge. They pasture raise their Berkshires which had many desirable attributes especially when dry cured.
The big fat perogies were Kate’s idea and we stuffed them with Tree Farm Yukons, plus kale and chives from the home garden. The dough, like all our doughs starts with organic unbleached flour, plus backyard chicken eggs and some organic Kalona yogurt for tang. Plus butter. Butter is big part of this menu. Stop fearing butter. Good butter and good fat is good for you. Remember it’s the margarine that started killing people. We’ve eaten butter for centuries – millennia really. Our butter is smashing good and it comes from Tom and Sally Murphy of Soldiers Grove. Get their butter at the Madison Market on Saturday or the Greenway Station market in Middleton on Thursday. Tom and Sally are two of my favorites and their hand rolled butter is sublime.
Oh, and Tree Farm beets with Hook’s double cream blue cheese. A heaven made match. Enjoy.

Why do I like the Tree Farm so much?

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