Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shout-Out No. Four - BrunchWeekers are Awesome


#BrunchWeek LogoWe're almost to BrunchWeek, a great swap of brunch recipes that was cooked up by Terri from Love and Confections and Christine from Cook the Story.

This event is shaping up to be fabulous. I have cooked and pre-posted six of my seven scheduled offerings. And I'll be joined by 30 others bloggers participating who have over 100 recipes pre-scheduled.

That should give you plenty of inspirational fodder for your Mothers' Day feasts. And it's a great way for me to meet new foodies in the blogosphere; I hope to give a shout-out to all of the bloggers who are cooking and posting for the event. Check out their blogs, but make sure you have a napkin nearby. You might just drool on your keyboard.

Today, I'd like you to meet...Carrie of Poet in the Pantry who mentioned making a margarita for the event.* Allison, the Spontaneous Tomato, is tempting us with her rhubarb-blood orange jam! Katie of Katie's Cucina is teasing us with chocolate waffles. That's a whole lot of yumminess going on. Can't wait to follow along with these creative gals.

*Bear in mind that recipes selections are subject to change. I know I've already swapped out some of what I had planned based on what's in season!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Marigold Carrot Cake


For Jake's birthday party at the beach, I whipped up some carrot cupcakes and zucchini cupcakes. They were devoured before I remembered to take a photo of them, but I did shoot the extra batter that I made into a loaf! Same recipe, different shape.


2 C white whole wheat flour
2 t baking powder
1-1/2 t baking soda
1 t ground cardamom
1 t ground ginger
3 eggs
1-1/2 C organic raw sugar
1 C Greek yogurt
1/2 C olive oil
2 C grated carrots
1 C sliced almonds
1/2 C marigold petals + some for garnish

Preheat oven to 325. Whisk all wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in carrots. Fold in dry ingredients until just moistened. Gently fold the flower petals. Scrape batter into cupcake liners and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely then top with cream cheese frosting and top with more marigold petals for garnish

Cream cheese frosting: 16 oz cream cheese, 1/2 C softened butter, 1 T vanilla extract, 2 C powdered sugar. Blend all of that together in a mixing bowl until smooth and fluffy.

I almost made a Zucchini-Sweet William version, just swapping out the carrots for zucchini and marigolds for Sweet William blossoms. Same proportions.

Pansy Potato Salad

The pansy in this creation is completely gratuitous; it's just pretty. But I liked the way it looked with the purple potatoes, so I went with it. Feel free to exclude the flower...it'll taste just as good!


  • 1 potato per person + 1 extra, scrubbed, dried, and cubed (use a variety of potatoes for the most plate appeal, including red potatoes, Yukon golds, and purple potatoes)
  • kernels of corn from 2 ears
  • 2 T fresh cilantro, rough chopped
  • 2 T butter, room temperature
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • pansies for garnish, optional


Boil the potatoes until they are just fork tender. Blanch the corn kernels. Drain everything and place them in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the butter until it's melted and everything is nicely coated. Toss with lemon juice, salt and pepper to season. Serve warm and garnish with pansies, if desired.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pansy Rhubarb Galette


Rhubarb holds a special place in my boys' - all three of them - hearts. And I haven't seen rhubarb for a month, so when I saw it at Whole Foods last night, I knew it was a sign: Jake's birthday breakfast needed to use rhubarb.

Besides, I had pansies and had been eyeing the Pansy Rhubarb Galette recipe in Cooking with Flowers: Sweet and Savory Recipes with Rose Petals, Lilacs, Lavender, and Other Edible Flowers by Miche Bacher of Mali B Sweets. Perfect timing.

1 batch of sweet Pâte Brisée
4 C sliced rhubarb
3/4 C organic granulated sugar + more for sprinkling
1 T corn starch
ground nutmeg
6 organic pansies

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the rhubarb, sugar, corn starch, nutmeg, and petals from 3 pansies. Preheat the oven to 425.

Roll the chilled Pâte Brisée out between 2 sheets of parchment paper and lay it on your baking stone (or sheet). Spoon the mixture into the center of your crust, leaving about 2" on all sides.

Gently fold the crust up to create a free-form tart. Sprinkle with more granulated sugar and bake for 40-45 minutes - until the crust is firm and lightly golden. Let cool slightly. Garnish with the remaining pansy petals. Serve warm.

Happy birthday, my love!

Sweet Pâte Brisée



Pâte Brisée is a pastry dough/crust that has a rich flavor and a crisp, flaky texture. It is ideal for both sweet and savory pies, tarts, and quiches. Learn to make it. Stat. I whipped up a slightly sweetened batch this morning for a birthday rhubarb tart for my husband.

2-1/2 C all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 C finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour
1/2 C organic powdered sugar
1 C butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6 to 8 T ice water

I don't have a food processor, so I use a pastry blender and do it all by hand. Place the flour, ground almonds, powdered sugar, and cold butter in a large bowl. Use the pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 T at a time, until mixture just begins to clump together. If you squeeze some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and cut again. Note that too much water will make the crust tough. Once the dough comes together into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

Roll out the Pâte Brisée between two pieces of parchment paper.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cheesy Nasturtium-Black Bean Quesadillas


Even though I wrapped up my review of Miche Baker's Cooking with Flowers, I am still relishing adding blossoms to my culinary creations. So, tonight I made some cheesy black bean quesadillas with chicken and nasturtiums for dinner. So fast, so easy, and so tasty.

Lightly butter a large flat-bottom pan. Lay tortilla in the pan. Cover with shredded cheese. Add slices of roasted chicken, cooked black beans, and nasturtium petals. Cover with more cheese. Top with a second tortilla.

Heat until the tortilla is lightly toasted. Flip over and complete toasting the other side. Serve hot with a side of salsa.

BrunchWeek is Coming Up

#BrunchWeek Logo
We're almost to BrunchWeek, a great swap of brunch recipes that was cooked up by Terri from Love and Confections and Christine from Cook the Story.

We have 31 bloggers participating and 116 posts pre-scheduled. That should give you plenty of inspirational fodder for your Mothers' Day feasts. And it's a great way for me to meet new foodies in the blogosphere; I hope to give a shout-out to all of the bloggers who are cooking and posting for the event. Check out their blogs, but make sure you have a napkin nearby. You might just drool on your keyboard.

Today, I'd like you to meet...Aly of Cooking in Stilettos who mentioned making beignets for the event.* Susan, the Girl in the Little Red Kitchen, is tempting us with her strawberry rose sangria - a perfect libation to cap off my cooking with flowers adventure! Lanie of The Vintage Cook is teasing us with Mrs. Lund's Fresh Plum Cake. That's a whole lot of yumminess going on. Can't wait to follow along with these creative gals.


*Bear in mind that recipes selections are subject to change. I know I've already swapped out some of what I had planned based on what's in season!


A Bountiful Bouquet of Inspiration {Book Review}

*Full Disclosure: I received a complimentary, advance copy of this book - Cooking with Flowers by Miche Baker -  from the publishers for the purpose of reviewing it. All opinions are my own.*

The beginning of my fascination with flowers.
At the Keukenhof Garden. 1976.
In another lifetime, I worked as a florist. I loved that job. I created beautiful arrangements, my clothes smelled like flowers, and I never had any empty vases in my house. These days, I only push petals on special occasions but I still love anything to do with flowers.

So, when Eric at Quirk Books asked me if I would be interested in previewing and reviewing Cooking with Flowers by Miche Baker of Mali B Sweets, I couldn't say 'yes' fast enough. As soon as it arrived, excitement washed over me as I giddily tore open the envelope. I thumbed through the pages, enthralled by the dizzying array of Miche's recipes and entranced by photographs by Miuna Jun. I was dazzled; I longed to stick a fork right into the book!


Marigolds on the cutting board.
From Gourmet Sweet Botanicals.
I lined up some apple blossoms, jasmine, roses, and cherry blossoms from my friend's garden - thanks, Jenn! And I ordered nasturtiums, pansies, marigolds, and orchids from Gourmet Sweet Botanicals. Wherever you get your flowers, just double check that they are edible and organically grown.

I ended up making about a dozen of Miche's recipes. Some I made (almost) exactly as she presented them. Others I adapted, using her recipes as a jumping off point.

On the sweet side of things, I made a Kiwi and Rose Cream Trifle and Crêpes with Sweet William Petals. And for my savories, we created a Dandelion Pesto-Dianthus Pizza, Marigold Frittata, and a Spring Salad with Jasmine Blooms.



The recipe that won my flower-loving heart - hands down! - was her Thai Orchid Beef Salad. I made several adaptations. I didn't have any beef in my fridge, but I had a few salmon filets. So, I went with those. I lined the plates with Little Gems lettuce leaves. It almost looked like the picture in the book...the dendrobium orchids are ridiculously photogenic. This was delightful and I will be making it again soon.


Thai Orchid Salmon Salad
inspired by Miche Baker's Thai Orchid Beef Salad

salmon filets for as many people as you are serving
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
splash of olive oil
soy sauce
Little Gems lettuce leaves
1/2 C fresh, chopped cilantro
3 chives, chopped
6-8 dendrobium orchids

Dressing:
3 T fermented fish sauce
3 T Meyer lemon juice
1 T organic honey
1/2 t Thai chili paste

Saute the onions in a large, flat bottom pan that will be able to accommodate all of your salmon. Once the onions are softened, but not browned, lay your salmon filets in the pan. Cook until they are opaque half-way up from the pan. Drizzle with soy sauce and continue to cook - until the fish is firm to the touch.

To serve - lay the lettuce leaves on the plate, top with salmon, garnish with cilantro, chives, and dendrobium petals. Sprinkle with chopped chives and drizzle with dressing.

As a florist, I looked to make bouquets that had interesting elements. I gravitated towards a variety of colors and textures. Think fuzzy kangaroo paws and voluptuous, frilly peonies.

As a cook, I look at my dishes and plates the same way, creating and plating in a way that is tantalizing to both the palate and the eye. Miche's book is inspiring and will be used often in my kitchen. In fact, I plan to make a coconut rice pudding with micro orchids for dessert tonight...after we have nasturtium, corn, and black bean quesadillas for dinner!

If you want to learn more about creating delectable dishes with edible flowers, Cooking with Flowers by Miche Baker is a must. It's a bountiful bouquet of culinary inspiration!

Taste and Create: Three Sides of Crazy

This is my second month participating in Taste and Create and I completely goofed on the deadline. I'm sorry! I was assigned to Three Sides of Crazy - "but counting down to normal." I only hope that I cooked from the correct blog because when I selected my recipe, it took me to a completely different one: Always Eat on the Good China. Fingers crossed...

I picked the recipe for - Homemade Sloppy Joes - because, like meatballs, my boys cannot get enough. They will try every single variation we find.

A quick story about Sloppy Joes...I pack my kids' lunches...and mine...and my husband's. But I quickly realized that ordering hot lunch at school was something the boys wanted to do for the social (versus culinary) aspect. They felt that they were the only ones who never got to pick up a tray, wait in line, and get food from the cafeteria. While I am fully cognizant that my two are not the only ones whose moms pack their lunches everyday, I still agreed that once a month they could choose a hot lunch.

Back when Riley was in 2nd grade, he had never heard of - or had - a Sloppy Joe. But I told him that he would like it. It had meat and tomatoes, two of his favorites. And he did. He loved it!


The next month, while perusing the menu to make his selection he hollered, "Mommy, what's the name of the sandwich that I like? You know...'messy'?! Jack??!" Triumphantly he announced, "That's it: Messy Jacks!" We all laughed and it became a running family joke. So, we make them - at home - with different recipes and we were thrilled to try this one. Click on the title below the photo for the original recipe.

  Riley's Messy Jacks

splash of olive oil
1 pound 96/4 beef
1 large onion, diced
2 shallots, diced
2 bell pepper (I used red and orange, you could use green or whatever you like), diced
3/4 C organic ketchup
1/2 C water
1/2 t chili powder, more or less to taste
freshly ground salt
Montreal Steak Seasoning (I didn't have Montreal Steak Seasoning, so I added the ingredients below)
Worchestershire sauce (I didn't have Worchestershire sauce either)
Liquid smoke (I didn't have Liquid smoke either)
1 t fresh squeezed lime juice
1 t blackstrap molasses
1 t raw honey
splash of Thai fish sauce
splash of soy sauce
splash of pear vinegar

Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, shallots, and bell peppers. Cook until softened. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain as much of the fat as you can. Add the ketchup, dry mustard, water and Worcestershire sauce, Montreal Steak Seasoning, and Liquid smoke substitute ingredients. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve on pretzel rolls or kaiser rolls. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thai Orchid Salmon Salad



This hearty, exotic salad was inspired by the Thai Orchid Beef Salad recipe in Cooking with Flowers: Sweet and Savory Recipes with Rose Petals, Lilacs, Lavender, and Other Edible Flowers by Miche Bacher of Mali B Sweets. I made several adaptations. I didn't have any beef in my fridge, but I had a few salmon filets. So, I went with those. I lined the plates with Little Gems lettuce leaves. It almost looks like the picture...the dendrobium orchids are ridiculously photogenic.

salmon filets for as many people as you are serving
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
splash of olive oil
soy sauce
Little Gems lettuce leaves
1/2 C fresh, chopped cilantro
3 chives, chopped
6-8 dendrobium orchids

Dressing:
3 T fermented fish sauce
3 T Meyer lemon juice
1 T organic honey
1/2 t Thai chili paste

Saute the onions in a large, flat bottom pan that will be able to accommodate all of your salmon. Once the onions are softened, but not browned, lay your salmon filets in the pan. Cook until they are opaque half-way up from the pan. Drizzle with soy sauce and continue to cook - until the fish is firm to the touch.

To serve - lay the lettuce leaves on the plate, top with salmon, garnish with cilantro, chives, and dendrobium petals. Sprinkle with chopped chives and drizzle with dressing.

Marigold Frittata



I was inspired by Miche Bacher's Calendula Quiche in Cooking with Flowers: Sweet and Savory Recipes with Rose Petals, Lilacs, Lavender, and Other Edible Flowers. But I didn't have calendula and I have never liked the designation of a 'crustless quiche.' To me, a crust makes it a quiche. I call this a frittata and decided to use my organic marigolds.





1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 bunch chard, chiffonaded
6 eggs, beaten
fromage blanc
petals from 6 organic marigolds
freshly ground salt
freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter your baking dish and set aside.

In a large saucepan, quickly saute the leeks and chard until just beginning to wilt. You don't want them soggy. Spoon them into your baking dish, sprinkle them 1/3 of your marigold petals, and cover them with beaten egg. Dot the dish with as many dollops of fromage blanc as you want. I used a sheep's milk fromage blanc from Garden Variety Cheese at the Monkeyflower Ranch in Royal Oaks. Use another third of the petals to top the entire dish. Grind fresh salt and pepper over the top, cover with foil, and bake for 50 minutes. Remove the cover and return to the oven for another 10 minutes - or until the top is beginning to brown slightly. Serve with a final dusting of marigold petals.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring Greens with Jasmine Blooms


I sprinkled dianthus blossoms on top of a dandelion pesto-smeared pizza for our first course. For the second, I topped a salad with jasmine blooms from Jenn's garden.

organic wild arugula
organic micro greens
romaine lettuce hearts
cubes of Danish feta
sliced almonds
jasmine blooms for garnish
freshly ground pepper
Meyer lemon vinaigrette*

*white ambrosia vinegar, Meyer lemon juice and zest, olive oil, freshly ground sea salt and pepper

If you know nothing else about vinaigrettes, remember this: the magic ratio of oil to vinegar/acid is 3 to 1. As long as you know that, you won't need to consult a vinaigrette recipe ever again. Just remember three parts oil to one part vinegar/acid and you'll be all right. If you get them backwards and do three parts vinegar to one part oil, your puckered mouth will ensure you don't make that mistake a second time!  So, I did 3 parts olive oil, 2/3 part white ambrosia vinegar, 1/3 part lemon juice.  I put that all into a mason jar and shook, shook, shook, and shook some more to make a temporary emulsion.

In a large mixing bowl, toss your greens with the Meyer lemon vinaigrette. Turn the greens onto a plate. Arrange the top with roasted beets and feta cubes. Garnish with sliced almonds and jasmine blooms. Finish with freshly ground pepper.

Dandelion Pesto-Dianthus Pizza


When I saw the bunch of dandelions in my WE Cooperative CSA box from Fogline Farm, I decided to make dandelion pesto and smear it on a pizza crust. Dinner!


When I plan ahead - way ahead - my favorite pizza crust is Mark Bittman's "No Work Mostly Whole Wheat Pizza Dough." This is the easiest pizza dough I have ever made! But it does require lots of lead time. The recipe suggests letting the dough ferment for six to twelve hours and that the longer you let it ferment, the more complex the flavor.

2 C whole wheat flour
1 C white flour
1/2 t active dry yeast
1 t fennel pollen
1 t pink Himalaya salt
freshly ground pepper
2 T olive oil
1-1/2 C warm water

Mix everything together in a large bowl. The texture will be a wet, sticky dough. Cover and let ferment for as long as you can - between six and twelve hours. At the end of that, use the dough as you would use any pizza dough.

When I'm pressed for time, as I was tonight, this dough works fine.

1 T active dry yeast
1 T organic granulated sugar
1 C warm water
1-1/2 C white whole wheat flour
1 C chestnut flour
2 T olive oil
1 t pink Himalaya salt

In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.

I was inspired by a nasturtium pizza recipe in Cooking with Flowers: Sweet and Savory Recipes with Rose Petals, Lilacs, Lavender, and Other Edible Flowers by Miche Bacher of Mali B Sweets. I smeared my crust with dandelion pesto, baked it, then topped it with a sheep's milk fromage blanc from Garden Variety Cheese at the Monkeyflower Ranch in Royal Oaks.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Turn whichever dough you make onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round that fits your baking stone.


Smear with dandelion pesto and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crust is lightly golden.

Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before topping with small dollops of fromage blanc and more pesto. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and dianthus petals . Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and drizzle with olive oil.


*Update 6/7/2013: Linked this post to Katherine Martinelli's Pizza Linky Party*

Dandelion Pesto



Pesto is a sauce that originated in the Ligurian region of northern Italy. Pesto genovese, from Genoa, traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and pine nuts blended with olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano The name derives from the Italian verb pestare which means to pound or to crush, referring to the original way of preparing it - with a mortar and pestle. The ingredients in a traditional pesto are ground with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar. Now I use a blender. 


And because pesto isn't one of Jake's favorites, I don't make it very often. But when I saw a bunch in my WE Cooperative CSA box from Fogline Farm, I decided to make a definitively non-traditional dandelion pesto, using dandelion greens and almonds instead of basil and pine nuts.

1 bunch dandelion greens
1 T crushed garlic
1/2 C sliced almonds
1/2 C shredded parmesan

Place all of the ingredients into the blender. Pulse a few times, drizzle in olive oil, and resume pulsing.  Pulse. Oil. Pulse. Oil.

If you want a smoother, sauce-like pesto, add more olive oil and blend longer; if you want a chunkier pesto, use less oil and blend for less time.  So simple. So fresh. So fragrant.

You can use these in pesto-filled potatoes or tossed into pasta. You'll see this batch smeared onto pizza.

Sweet William Crêpes

My foray into cooking with flowers continues. This is the perfect Springtime kitchen project. This morning - before the boys headed off for school - I whipped up some crêpes sprinkled with Sweet William petals.


1-1/2 C white whole wheat flour
3 eggs
2 C organic whole milk
dash of cardamom
splash of vanilla
organic Sweet William blossoms

Whisk all of the ingredients - except the flowers -  together until lump-free. Let sit for at least 20 minutes. Heat a large flat-bottom pan and rub the bottom with butter. Pour the batter in the middle of the pan and quickly make a tilting motion to distribute the batter all over the pan. The goal: have as thin a batter layer as possible. Gently press a few petals into the batter.

Cook until the crêpes is a bit stiff and flip over, cooking for another minute The pancake should be lightly browned on both sides. Repeat till all the batter is used; I made 10 crêpes with the amount listed.

I served these with smears of carrot marmalade, light dusting of powdered sugar, and a few more Sweet William petals.

Olive Oil-Fennel Pollen Muffins


When the kids start standardized testing, the emails begin to circulate for parents to volunteer to bring snacks. They don't want the kids starving during the tests. Makes sense to me. I always sign up for multiple days because I know that when my boys are hungry, they do not function well at all. So, this morning, I sent in bowls of clementines and apples and a tray full of these muffins. So easy...and I got to use these cute little party cups I've had forever. This makes 2 dozen.


8 eggs
1-1/2 C organic granulated sugar
1-1/3 C olive oil (use a good quality, extra virgin olive oil)
2 T fennel pollen
3-1/2 C white whole wheat flour

2 T baking powder

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your muffin tins with liners or use mini cups.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is frothy.  Continue beating and drizzle in the olive oil slowly.  Gently fold in the fennel pollen, flour, and baking powder. Don’t overmix, or the muffins will be dry and tough.

Pour batter into pan(s) and bake 45 minutes. Eat warm or at room temperature.  As this doesn't keep well, you'll want to eat it the day you make it or the next day. It's a good thing I have 25 hungry 5th graders helping me out.

Cooking is a Process


I wrote this for the WE Cooperative CSA members, but thought I'd share it with my own readers. It's a good reminder...

When I learned to cook in Italy, the woman who taught me insisted that she would teach me how to cook…but not by sharing recipes. She would show me processes. What she meant by that was – if she showed me what to do with dandelion greens, I could use that same process for chicory, spinach, or whatever greens I had. So, I’m going to pass on that sentiment to you: cooking is a process.

If you find a recipe you want to try, don’t stress out if you don’t have all of the ingredients listed.

Here’s an example, if you find a recipe that lists kale but you only have chard in your fridge, use the chard. If a recipe calls for leeks but you only have shallots or onions, use those. 

Substitute, swap, and breathe easy!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Kiwi and Rose Cream Trifle


My friend Jenn brought me some roses from her garden this weekend. Gorgeous, organic roses. Inspired by Miche Bacher's Fig and Rose Cream Trifle recipe in her new cookbook Cooking with Flowers: Sweet and Savory Recipes with Rose Petals, Lilacs, Lavender, and Other Edible FlowersI made a rose-infused cream and layered it into a trifle with some fresh kiwi and rose petals. The cake is scented with saffron, elevating the entire dessert to an exotic, sensual treat.

1 C organic butter
pinch of saffron
3/4 C milk
2 eggs
1-1/2 C organic granulated sugar
1-3/4 C white whole wheat
2 t baking powder
splash of pure vanilla extract
6 fresh kiwis
3 C rose petal whipped cream
rose petals for garnishing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter and saffron in a saucepan. Add the milk and let stand. In a large mixing bowl, blend the eggs and sugar until opaque and beginning to plump in volume. Stir in the flour and baking powder until completely combined. Pour in the saffron-infused butter and milk mixture and blend gently until a smooth batter is formed. Bake for 45-50 minutes until firm to the touch. Let cook for at least 30 minutes, then cut into cubes.

In a trifle bowl, layer rose petals, rose petal whipped cream, cubes of cake, and slices of kiwi. Repeat until your bowl is full. Garnish the top with more kiwi and more petals.


*5/10/2013: Added to Katherine Martinelli's Mothers' Day Linky Party*
* 10/24/2013: Added to Carole's Chatter Kiwi Linky Party*

Rose Petal Whipped Cream


Thanks to the bounty of my friend Jenn's garden, I have some organic, voluptuous roses to make some rose petal whipped cream. You'll see this on top of a dessert tonight. Recipe adapted from Cooking with Flowers: Sweet and Savory Recipes with Rose Petals, Lilacs, Lavender, and Other Edible Flowers by Miche Bacher of Mali B Sweets.

2 C organic heavy whipping cream
2 handfuls of organic rose petals
splash of pure vanilla extract
1/4 C organic powdered sugar

Place the powdered sugar in a large bowl. Pour in the whipping cream and whisk until smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract. Gently submerge the rose petals in the cream mixture. Let infuse for at least 30 minutes. The longer it steeps, the stronger the rose flavor.

Stay tuned for my rose-scented sweet creation...


SRC Reveal: Kate's Kitchen {Orphan Rescue}

I'm on Orphan-detail again today for the Secret Recipe Club and I am very excited about having been introduced to Kate at Kate's Kitchen. Kate succinctly writes about why we all learned to cook. Probably. At least it's true for me, too: I live to eat and because I love to eat, I've learned to cook.

Looking through Kate's blog, I settled on her Bacon Sage Pasta Sauce because I can never say no to something with bacon. Then she added sage. What a winning combination!

 Bacon Sage Pasta Sauce
Adapted from Kate's Kitchen


2 T olive oil
3 T butter
36 fresh sage leaves
6 slices bacon
2/3 C wine oak-aged beer
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large zucchini or 2 small, diced
1/2 lb pasta with ridges (I used radiatore)
1/2 c coarsely grated parmesan reggiano
freshly ground sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Bring your water to a boil, then keep on a simmer while you make the sauce. Gently heat about 12 sage leaves in the olive oil - just to infuse the oil, not to fry the leaves. Dice the bacon and add it to your pan. Just as it's starting to get brown, add about two dozen more sage leaves.

Put the chopped zucchini and crushed garlic into the pan and saute until softened. Pour in the beer. Allow the liquid to reduce a bit.  While the liquid is reducing, bring the water to a boil again and cook your pasta to al dente.  Add in the butter to the sauce.  Toss the pasta into the sauce until nicely coated and glossy.




Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spring Jubilee Menu

Most of the time, my posts are about things that I have cooked. But I wanted to share the menu, and some shots of the luscious food, that Chef Sarah LaCasse presented at the ISM Foundation Spring Jubilee tonight at Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley. While the focus was on raising much-needed funds for the boys' school, you know me: I'm all about the food!

Still, since I was running around like a crazy woman without a head, I didn't get to (1) take photos of all the gorgeous food or (2) really eat anything. I heard it was all yummy.

Vegetable Crudité

Assortment of Cheeses with sliced baguettes, crackers, grapes and strawberries


 Olive tapenade crostini with figs and feta

Open-face Cucumber Sandwiches with curry mayonnaise

You can tell where I stopped eating and began working madly...

Sizzling lime and garlic-marinated Shrimp with Tomatillo Salsa

Beef Sliders with ketchup and mustard

Miniature Sausages with sauerkraut and grainy mustard on rolls

Chicken and Black Bean Quesadillas with guacamole and sour cream drizzle

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Third Round of Shout-Outs for BrunchWeek

#BrunchWeek Logo

Thirty-one bloggers have scheduled over 116 recipes for Food Blogger #BrunchWeek at the beginning of May. This is a great recipe swap cooked up by Terri from Love and Confections and Christine from Cook the Story.

Up until the kick-off, I plan to give a shout-out to all of the bloggers who are cooking and posting for the event. Peruse the blogs on a full stomach...or you might try to eat your computer screen.

Today, I'd like you to meet...Carroll of Vanilla Lemonade who mentioned making Seared Tuna with Plum, Goat Cheese and Duck Fat Marcona Almond Brittle Greens Salad.* That is a whole lotta deliciousness in one dish. Suzanne of Kokocooks plans to post her hollandaise sauce. That's a must on a brunch table as far as I'm concerned. Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic is teasing us with 'Turtles French Toast.' I can't even begin to image what that is. Can't wait...

*Bear in mind that recipes selections are subject to change. I know I've already swapped out some of what I had planned based on what's in season!

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