Thursday, March 22, 2018

Spring Veggie Crudités with Fresh Pea Hummus #EasterWeek #EasterRecipes

This year Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures has rallied a group of bloggers to share recipes to inspire your Easter menus. So, if your menu still isn't set, we posted recipes three days this week.

Friday Easter Recipes

Spring Veggie Crudités with Fresh Pea Hummus
Pea hummus is the perfect addition to a table of starters alongside lots of cheese, charcuterie, nuts, and veggie crudités.

Thank goodness my Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf is a shelling machine! He shelled four pounds of English shelling peas all by himself.


  • 2 C fresh shelled peas
  • 1/4 C fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 C fresh parsley
  • 4 T tahini
  • 4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t freshly ground salt or fleur de sel (opted for the latter)
  • Veggie Crudités for serving

Place peas in pan and cover with water. Bring the pan to a boil. Cook until tender, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Drain.

Peel and press your garlic cloves. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, pulse peas, cilantro, parsley, tahini, lemon juice, pressed garlic, and ground cumin until desired consistency. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

A CHEESEy Love Story Set in Cork #FoodieReads

When I started clearing out my bookshelf to make room for new books, I found a bunch of books that I hadn't read because they were hidden behind other books. Yes, I'm Camilla and I am addicted to reading...oh, and cheese. I'm pretty addicted to cheese, too. This - Blessed Are the Cheesemakers by Sarah-Kate Lynch* - was one of the books I unearthed.

On the Page
Three stories collide on a dairy farm in Cork County, Ireland. First, there's Corrie and Fee, elderly cheesemakers, who are desperate to come up with a succession plan. Their cheese operation includes milkmaids who are all pregnant, vegetarian, and sing tunes from the Sound of Music while they work; all of the cows are named Maria. Next, there's Abbey lives on Pacific Island with an unfaithful husband who has fathered many children with many women. Then, there's Kit (Christopher) who is a disgraced stockbroker from New York whose assistant shipped him off to Ireland to get sober.

I won't ruin too much of the story, but needless to say where I was just complaining about interwoven stories as an overused and rarely well-executed literary device, Lynch nails it. The story is silly, verging on soap operaish, but it kept my interest because she has a wonderful way with words.

"...the magic of the cheesemaking began in earnest. Before their very eyes, the milk disappeared and the cheese began to emerge. ...As the minutes ticked by, the thick creamy milk dissipated into a watery whey, leaving a shiny, solid, beautiful mass floating in its wake. This was the curd. And the curd was their gold.  ...The curd. The first taste of what was to come. An inkling of the cheese it would one day be. The promise of perfection. The secret potential of every cheese was locked up in the warm, soft curd and it smelled glorious" (pg. 104).

"The kitchen smelled of sunshine and cinnamon, that was the first thing Abbey noticed. An ancient coal-burning oven built into a brick wall at the far end of the room was half-covered in dried lemon and orange skins, and she could sense the citrus lingering invisibly in the air" (p. 174).

On the Plate
I didn't make anything for this post, but all the talk of cheese had me running to make a cheese board. Here are some tips on Building the Perfect Cheese Board

One thing I didn't write in there: make friends with your local cheese monger. Seriously.

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

Here's what everyone else read in March 2018: here.

The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf's Pastiera (Italian Wheat Pie) with a Twist

Four years ago, D was a huge fan of Cake Boss and heard them talk about Italian Wheat Pie; we made a version back then. I hadn't heard him mention it for years. But, in the past two weeks, he's been bugging to me to make a pastiera. As it's Spring Break, we have fewer commitments and he has more free time. So, I suggested he had time to do it. I helped...a little bit. When he decided to add a layer of frangipane to the bottom of the pie, I was excited. What a great twist!


Crust makes top and bottom 
  • 2-1/2 C flour
  • 1 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1 C butter (2 sticks), chilled and cubed
  • 1 t pure lemon extract
  • 1/2 C cold milk
  • 2 C whole milk ricotta
  • 2 C cooked wheat grains (we used farro)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C organic brown sugar
  • 1 C frangipane (recipe below)
  • 1 t pure lemon extract
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 C ground almonds
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 t pure lemon extract
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract


In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar. Add the butter cubes and pulse until chunks the size of small peas form. Pour in lemon extract and 1/4 cup of cold milk and pulse. Pour in another 1/4 cup of cold milk till the dough comes together in a ball. Turn out the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and knead 2 to 3 times. Divide the dough into 2/3 and 1/3 - the larger ball will be the bottom crust, the smaller the top. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, approximately 1 hour.

Roll larger dough into bottom crust between two pieces of parchment paper. Transfer to your pie pan. Roll smaller dough into top crust and set aside. 

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, or use a large bowl and a handheld mixer. Process until a thick paste forms. Reserve 1/4 C frangipane and spread the rest into the bottom of your pie crust.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, sugar, eggs, 1/4 C frangipane, and extracts. Fold in the cooked grains until completely incorporated, then spoon into your crust. Place your top crust over the filling.

Crimp the edges together to seal the crust. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place pie in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The top should be raised slightly and the crust nicely browned.

Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Rabbit Stew with Salt and Pepper Dumplings #FoodieReads

So, I guess someone who reads my kitchen blog strenuously objects to me sharing a rabbit recipe for Easter (Braised Rabbit with Fennel and Salsa Verde). I thought it was funny - and so did my boys. Besides, it was delicious. I didn't suggest she serve it and tell her kids it was the Easter Bunny. 

But it did make me realize that I hadn't blogged some other rabbit recipes that we really, really enjoyed. So, here we go. This is from one of the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf's favorite cookbooks: Heritage by Sean Brock.*

On the Page
Years ago, D became familiar with Brock through season two of Mind of a Chef. Have I mentioned how much I love my kids' choice of things to stream on Netflix? So, for his birthday one year, I ordered him this cookbook. Brock's manifesto resonates with me and with everything I want my boys to embrace about cooking and eating.

  • Cook with soul - but first, get to know your soul.
  • Be proud of your roots, be proud of your home, be proud of your family and its culture. That's your inspiration.
  • ...Respect ingredients and the people who produce them.
  • ...Buy the best that you can afford.
  • Grow your own - even if it's just a rosemary bush. You'll taste the difference.
  • Cook in the moment. Cook the way you're feeling, cook to suit the weather, cook with the mood, or to change your mood.
  • ...Listen to your tongue. It's smart.
  • ...Never stop researching and seeking knowledge in the kitchen.
  • Cooking should make you happy. ...

Not only do I love his philosophy, but his recipes are delicious and his presentation beautiful.  Think charred beef short ribs with glazed carrots, beer-battered soft shell crabs, butter bean chowchow, and cornbread and buttermilk soup. Our Low-Country Boil is Brock-inspired!

On the Plate
Whenever D wants to make something "Southern", he peruses the pages of this book. One day, D excitedly asked if we could make rabbit stew for dinner. We used Brock's recipe as a starting point, opting to make drop buttermilk biscuits instead of pre-baking them. But we were duly inspired by the stew in Heritage.


  • 1-1/2 to 2 pound rabbit
  • olive oil
  • 2 C celery, chopped
  • 2 C onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 C carrots, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sprig of fresh thyme
  • water and/or chicken stock
  • 1/2 C red wine
  • chopped parsley for garnish
  • 2 C flour
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 1 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1 t freshly ground salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 1/4 C butter, melted

Brown the rabbit in a splash of olive oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven. Cook it for 2 minutes on each side to get a nice brown color. Add in the rest of the ingredients, except the parsley, and bring it to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 2 hours. 

Remove the rabbit from the liquid and let it cool enough that you can handle it. Pull the meat from the bone and reserve the bones for making stock. Return the shredded meat to the pot and bring it back to a simmer. In the meantime, make the dumpling batter.

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Combine eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter in a medium mixing bowl. Fold liquid ingredients into dry ingredients to form a stiff batter. Drop batte3r by the tablespoon into simmering stew. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley.

  *This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

Here's what everyone else read in March 2018: here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Braised Rabbit with Fennel and Salsa Verde #EasterWeek #EasterRecipes

This year Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures has rallied a group of bloggers to share recipes to inspire your Easter menus. So, if your menu still isn't set, check back with us throughout the week. We posted on Monday; today is Wednesday, and we'll be posting on Friday of this week.

Wednesday Easter Recipes

I have served rabbit for our Easter brunch in years past. No, not that rabbit! Okay, so this shows my slightly twisted sense of humor. Yes, I have one! Don't believe those rumors. 

We actually really enjoy using rabbit when we can find it. Usually I can find it at Whole Foods, but if not there, I order it from D'Artagnan Foods. They are also my source for quail, venison, and wild boar when I'm not lucky enough to be able to get some from my hunting friends.

Braised Rabbit with Fennel and Salsa Verde

Ingredients serves 6
Braised Rabbit
  • 3 boneless rabbit loin
  • freshly ground salt
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 large organic fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced (approximately 3 C)
  • 1 large organic white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 C fresh shelled peas
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 C dry white wine
  • 1 C stock (I used chicken stock)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Salsa Verde
  • 2 C organic fresh parsley
  • 2/3 C olive oil
  • 1/4 C capers, drained
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • zest and juice from 2 organic lemons
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 T)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Salsa Verde
Place all of the ingredients - except for the salt and pepper - in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until parsley is well chopped, approximately ten to twelve 1-second pulses. If you like the salsa less rustic, process for longer. Season salsa verde to taste with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to use.

Braised Rabbit
In a large, lidded pot - such as a Dutch oven - melt butter in olive oil. Carefully brown the rabbit you see some nice, golden areas develop. Move to a plate.

Place fennel and onion in the pot and cook until the onion is beginning to soften. Add in the fresh peas and stir to combine. Place the browned rabbit pieces on top of the vegetables and lay fresh herbs on the meat. Smear each loin with 1 t salsa verde and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Pour in the wine and stock. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and cook until the meat is tender, approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours.

To Serve
Ladle sauce and braised rabbit onto individual serving plates. Garnish with more salsa verde on top. Serve immediately.

Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Pudding) #FantasticalFoodFight

I love the Fantastical Food Fight coordinated by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. For more information about the event, click here.

This month, we were given the challenge of making a recipe inspired by carrot cake. So. Many. Possibilities. I have made many a carrot cake: D made a Spicy Carrot Cake one Easter; Morotskaka is a Swedish carrot cake; I even folded petals in a Marigold Carrot Cake.

But I really wanted to do something different. I toyed with a savory carrot cake with turmeric and a feta cheese "frosting," but I'll save that for another time. In the end, I opted to make an unusual Indian dessert that's made with grated carrots, milk, nuts, and spices. But, first, here's the rest of the crew's offerings...

Gajar Ka Halwa
(Carrot Pudding)

This isn't wholly traditional as I used what we had. I wanted to use rainbow carrots - I had orange, yellow, and purple ones - but D insisted that we use only the orange ones for this. And since he was the one doing all the grating, I went with it!

  • 4 C organic carrots, grated 
  • 2 C whole milk
  • 5 T organic dark brown sugar
  • 2 T butter (traditionally, ghee is used)
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground cardamom
  • 1/4 t ground allspice
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 14 ounces condensed milk
  • 1 C whole roasted, unsalted cashews + more for garnish

In a large, flat-bottom pan, add the carrots, brown sugar, and 1 C milk. Heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rest of the milk. Once the milk boils, reduce the heat to a simmer then cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk is absorbed completely and the carrots are soft.

Add in the cashews, the butter, and the spices. Pour in the condensed milk. Continue cooking until the liquid is incorporated into the carrots and you have a thick pudding. Spoon into individual serving bowls and garnish with a cashew.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Oven Fries with Miso Mayonnaise #KitchenMatrixCookingProject

Another week, another recipe for the Kitchen Matrix Project, named after Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix cookbook. You can read about it: here. This month, I picked the recipes for the month am I'm very excited about the dishes and the bloggers who are joining me. And I am thrilled with how simple these recipes are to make. 

This week, I picked 'Miso+ 4 Ways' for the group. If you don't have the cookbook, Bittman's miso recipes are available online at the New York Times: here.

I had a tough time deciding because I was intrigued by the Miso Spice, Miso Butter, and - especially - the Miso Butterscotch! But I ran out of time this weekend, so those will be for another day. Stay tuned.

More Miso

slight adapted from Bittman because it was just "to mayo-y" according to my trio

Miso Mayo
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise
  • 1 T miso
  • 1 t soy sauce
  • 1/2 t sesame oil
Oven Fries
  • 4 to 5 organic potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 T flour
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground salt

Miso Mayo
Whisk everything together in a small mixing bowl until well-combined. Set aside.

Oven Fries
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Cut the potatoes into thick wedges, approximately 6 to 8 wedges per potato. Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add in the flour and shake the bowl to coat potatoes as evenly as possible. Turn the potatoes out onto the baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 30 minutes until crisped on one side. Turn the potatoes over and return them to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve hot with miso mayo.

Artificial Colors, Kitchen Dyed Easter Eggs, and Compromise #GreenEnough #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with Leah Segedie's book release.
This page may contain affiliate links.
image courtesy Rodale Books

When my blogging friend Leah Segedie excitedly shared that her book - Green Enough: Eat Better, Live Cleaner, Be Happier (All Without Driving Your Family Crazy!)* - was on its way, I was thrilled. Though I haven't gotten mine yet (it is available tomorrow, March 20th!!), I was able to take part in a sneak preview event on Twitter as a panelist, connect with others who are helping celebrate the release, and got to take a look at a few excerpts. As soon as I get my hands on the actual book, I'll do a full review, but I wanted to share this information as soon as possible. 

I love the concept of this book. Yes, we all know we need to be more vigilant about what we put in our mouths; we all know we need to reduce plastics and chemicals in our households. I love that this book, while soap-boxy (and I use that as a compliment, not a critque), isn't about guilt. Segedie encourages slow, gradual change. "Think of it like flexitarian, but less regimented—more flex, less tarian," she writes. 

It doesn't have to be all or nothing. It's about the changes you can make in your own life that will make a difference in the long run. That is a soap-box I can stand on!

In case you don't know Leah Segedie, she's the blogger behind Mamavation. You can connect to her on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, on Pinterest, and on Google+.

Artificial Colors
Artificial food dyes are found in beverages, ice cream and various frozen desserts, cake and candy, macaroni and cheese, and medicines (I’m point-ing at you, Pedialyte Powder in Fruit Punch flavor). Bear in mind that artificial color can crop up where you wouldn’t tend to expect it. For example, in a chocolate cake with white frosting, the cake will often con-tain a combination of dyes used to create a nice chocolaty brown (espe-cially if the ingredients don’t involve much in the way of real chocolate or cocoa in), and blue dye can be used to make white icing appear bright."

Reprinted from Green Enough by Leah Segedie. Copyright ©2018 by Leah Segedie. By permission of Rodale Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Available wherever books are sold.

Kitchen Dyed Easter Eggs

For the most part, I already avoid artificial colors. But have you ever wondered why we dye Easter eggs? Oddly, I never have.

As a parent, every Easter, I would purchase one of those dying kits - with its plastic buckets, wire dippers, magical tablets that dissolve in water and vinegar - lay out newspaper, clad the boys in already stained clothing, and create a dozen or so eggs dyed in hues not normally seen in nature.

But I never asked "what's the story behind the dyed eggs?" Why do we do this every year? We don't hide these eggs; these are the ones we dye - just for the experience of dying them - we refrigerate then for a day or two, and then make them into a boatload of egg salad for sandwiches.

I decided two things this year: (1) I wanted to know why we dye eggs at Easter and (2) I was done buying those kits. I remember my mom dying eggs with natural foods. So, I looked up different foods that are used to naturally dye fabrics. That launched me down this culinary adventure - dying our Easter eggs with things found in my kitchen.

From my research, the tradition of dying eggs predates Christianity and, thus, Easter. Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Persians dyed eggs to celebrate Spring; green was commonly used to represent the new foliage emerging after the long winter. The tradition, originally pagan, was absorbed by early Christians who dyed their eggs red as a symbol of Christ's blood.

For a pot I whisked 1/4 cup of turmeric with water. Then I placed the raw eggs gently into the pot and added water till they were completely submerged. I brought the liquid and eggs to a boil, letting them boil for 10 minutes. Then I cooled them completely in the liquid.

I did the same with a hibiscus tea, hoping for pink eggs. The resulting eggs were more taupe, a tan color with a pinkish hue. Still pretty, but not what I wanted.

I simmered eggs in cold espresso for an earthy brown. But my favorite kitchen-dyed egg resulted from eggs cooked in leftover wine. Regal syrah colored eggs. Gorgeous.

Being a parent requires compromise. I've learned this over the years. And one of the things I've learned to do so that my kids aren't completely sheltered from Easter candies such as PEEPs: we buy them, but we don't eat them!

We have incorporated PEEPs into our Easter centerpieces...

And they make fantastic bases for placecards!

Baby steps. Are there steps you've made to green your life? If you need a nudge, Segedie's book is a great place to start.

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

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