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Showing posts from June, 2011

Sugared Sweet Potato Biscotti

I had some left over roasted sweet potatoes from dinner last night. I decided to make a sweet treat with them. 1/3 C melted butter 1 C organic granulated sugar 3 eggs 1/4 C agave syrup 1 C sweet potato puree 3-1/2 C white whole wheat flour 1 T baking powder 1 1/2 T ground ginger 3/4 T ground cinnamon 1/2 T ground cloves 1/4 t ground nutmeg Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet. In a large bowl, mix together melted butter, sugar, eggs, sweet potato puree, and agave syrup. In another bowl, combine flours, baking powder, and spices; mix into egg mixture to form a stiff dough. Divide dough in half, and shape each half into a roll the length of the cookie sheet. Place rolls on cookie sheet, and pat down to flatten the dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Sprinkle the top with a sugar-cinnamon mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325. When cool enough to touch, cut into 1/2 inch t

Braised Wild Boar Soft Tacos

Brian - "the best killer in the family" according to Dylan - hunts wild boar in south Monterey County on a regular basis. So, we get boar meat from him every so often. This weekend he gave me a chunk of leg which I braised in a red wine-tomato sauce with fresh oregano and sweet vidalia onions. We feasted on it for dinner last night with steamed broccoli and roasted sweet potatoes. For lunch today, I revamped the boar for a quick, easy lunch: soft tacos. shredded meat small flour or corn tortillas cheese tomatillo salsa avocado fresh cilantro Heat the tortillas quickly on a skillet, layering it with cheese and meat. Once the cheese is melted and the meat warmed through, top with cubes of avocados. Generously spoon on tomatillo salsa and sprinkle with fresh cilantro.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

Ever wonder what to do with leftover BBQ chicken and veggies? Thanks to my grillmaster husband, we've had lots of leftover grilled goodies recently. My answer: a quick, easy pasta salad that's brimming with flavor. grilled chicken grilled red and yellow bell peppers fresh spinach minced garlic olive oil fresh oregano sea salt lead-free balsamic vinegar While the pasta is cooking, I wilt the spinach with garlic in a splash of olive oil. In a large mixing bowl I toss the wilted spinach with the chicken and peppers, sliced into bite-sized pieces; when the pasta is cooked, I add that to the bowl. Season with salt, oregano, balsamic vinegar, and finish off with a splash of olive oil...just enough to make it all shine! I love that this is on the table in the time it takes to cook the pasta plus five minutes. Perfect for those summer evenings when you've been on the beach till too late.

No Whole Wheat, What a Treat!

So, for Jake's Fathers' Day breakfast treat, I refrained from using my typical whole wheat flour for some fresh strawberry coffee cake. He was happier than he should have been! 3 C all-purpose flour 2 t baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 C butter, room temperature 1-1/2 C organic granulated sugar 3 eggs 2 t pure vanilla extract 1 C organic plain yogurt 1 C unsweetened applesauce 1 cup fresh strawberries 1/2 C organic brown sugar 1 T ground cinnamon 1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9" x 13" baking pan. 2.In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the yogurt, applesauce, and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Fold in the strawberries. 3.Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle half of this mixture over the batter in th

Speedy Omelettes

Taking full advantage of summer break and later bedtimes, paired with the fact that Jake was working late tonight, I took the boys out for a 4-mile jaunt through Point Lobos before dinner. And though they munched on peaches on the way home, they were ravenous by the time we pulled into the driveway. Sliced green onions from our CSA box, feta cheese, fresh oregano, and fresh thyme all gently folded into beaten eggs equaled my usual speedy dinner: omelettes. I blanched the orange cauliflower, drizzling it with olive oil, and hulled the strawberries, also from our High Ground Organics CSA, and called it good.  Dinner in less than twenty minutes. Pronto al tavolo! What's your favorite dinner-in-less-than twenty minutes?

(Squat) Lobster Pot Pie for National Lobster Day

To make my life easier, I started with the same filling for the pot pie as the base for the lobster bisque . While I was making the filling, I made the crust. The greatest challenge is a flaky, buttery crust. Here's my recipe... 5 T cold water 1/2 C butter 2 1/2 C flour 1/2 t salt Mix the salt and flour together with a whisk. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until you have a coarse, nearly uniform mixture. Make a well in the center and add the ice water. Mix with a fork until it comes together into a dough ball. Knead a few times, only until the dough is smooth. Extra kneading will make the crust tough instead of crumbly. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough into two balls - one for the top and one for the bottom. Roll the bottom dough to about 1/8 inch thick and form the crust. Prebake the crust for 20 minutes before filling it and baking the pot pie. fennel, sliced leeks, sliced garlic, minced 2 pounds langostino, cooked and

(Squat) Lobster Bisque for National Lobster Day

Despite my tirade about national food holidays, I decided that I would participate in celebrating National Lobster Day today. But not having the amount of money in my food budget for four pounds of lobster meat, I opted for langostino - squat lobster - and whipped up a lobster bisque and a lobster pot pie. I paired those with a bottle of 2005 Carmel Chardonnay. Thanks for the wine, Greg. To make my life even easier, I started with the same filling or base for both dishes. And thanks to Belle and Randy for the bounty from their garden I had some delicious, fresh fennel to add to it all. fennel, sliced leeks, sliced garlic, minced 2 pounds langostino, cooked and peeled (or lobster meat) carrots sliced butter flour clam juice chicken stock milk fresh oregano fresh thyme sea salt organic heavy cream I cooked the fennel, leek, and garlic in a large soup pot till softened and beginning to brown. Then I added the cooked langostino tails and carrots. In a separate pot I mad

National Food Holidays

National Food Holidays. I would love to have been in the room when some of these "holidays" were decided. I read somewhere that today is National Lobster Day. Only in America. Seriously. That little factoid sent me on a search...and after typing in "national food holidays" and clicking SEARCH this is what I found: an entire year's worth of days dedicated to celebrating food. And not good food. Here's the lineup for January. January January 2 National Buffet Day January 2 National Cream Puff Day January 3 National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day January 4 National Spaghetti Day January 5 National Whipped Cream Day January 6 National Shortbread Day January 7 National Tempura Day January 8 National English Toffee Day January 9 National Apricot Day January 10 National Bittersweet Chocolate Day January 12 National Marzipan Day January 13 National Peach Melba Day January 14 National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day January 15 National Strawberry Ice Cream

Drizzled with Olive Oil

As a mothers' day present to myself, I bought a few bottles of olive oil from Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley. It's organic, estate-grown and bottled from Holman Ranch's one hundred Tuscan varietal olive trees. And it is tasty!  Truth be told, I actually bought three bottles, fully intending to keep one and give the other two as gifts. Buuuuuuuut, well, let's just say, I selfishly decided to keep all three bottles for myself. I use olive oil in everything. I cook with it. I bake with it. I make salad dressings with it. And with especially tasty olive oils such as this one, I drizzle it on barely steamed vegetables sprinkled with a little bit of sea salt. Tonight, my cooked veggie of choice was broccoli. Che squisito! If you're interested in getting some Holman Ranch olive oil for yourself, email them: . They'll set you up.

Fennel Fried Rice

Whenever I have lunch with my friend Belle, she always brings me some goodies from her garden. Today she brought me some crisp fennel and fresh lettuce. I used one of the fennel bulbs tonight, as I would use onions: as a way to season fried rice. In a pat of butter with a splash of olive oil, I browned sliced fennel with cubes of chicken. Once the chicken was cooked through, I added beaten eggs and cooked those completely. Then I added already cooked brown rice and another pat of butter. Then I seasoned the rice with some soy sauce.  With protein and a carb together in this dish, all I needed to round out the dinner plate was a cooked veggie and a raw one. Visually this is all very neutral in color. If I had them, I would have sprinkled this with black sesame seeds. Instead I added a splash of color on my plate with steamed broccoli and a sunomo-style salad of sliced carrots, turnips, and radishes.

Summer Salad II

This salad isn't so much "summery" in its ingredients, but it is refreshingly crisp and cool.  Slice radishes, Tokyo market turnips, and carrots into thin coins. 1 C rice vinegar 1 C water 2 T organic raw sugar Whisk all ingredients together. Pour over thinly sliced veggies. Sprinkle with pink Himalaya salt. Let soak for at least 30 minutes.

Coconut Chicken Soup

In most parts of the country, summertime means barbeques and ice cream. But in the early summer on the Monterey peninsula, it means June gloom. Sixty degrees, if we're lucky, and a constant blanket of fog. Lovely. Today I decided to beat the gloom with a citrusy, spicy coconut-chicken soup. Fennel bulb, sliced garlic, minced chicken, cubed carrots chard spinach coconut milk water ground ginger ground cardamom lemon juice brown rice soy sauce organic bean sprouts Cook brown rice. In a large soup pot, sauté the fennel and garlic till they begin to soften. Add the chicken and brown meat until completely cooked. Add carrots, chard, spinach, brown rice, coconut milk, and water. Season with spices, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Simmer till all vegetables are cooked through.

Mocha Yogurt Cookies

After seeing all of the chocolate cookbooks on my table, Jake asked, "so, are you baking anything tonight?" No, hadn't planned on it. But, since you mention it, I can whip something up. Wanting something slightly healthier, I substituted half the butter with plain yogurt. 1/2 C butter, softened 1/2 C plain yogurt 1-1/2 C organic raw sugar 2 eggs 2 t almond extract 3 C white whole wheat flour 1 t baking soda 2 T cold coffee 1/2 t pink Himalaya salt 2 C white chocolate chips dark chocolate chunks Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the almond extract. Stir in flour, baking soda, and white chocolate chips. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans and press a dark chocolate chunk into the top of each cookie. Bake for about 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve with a glass of milk.

Carpaccio, Pretty as a Painting

To celebrate the end of the school year, Jake and I took our new 2nd grader and 4th grader to Cantinetta Luca in Carmel. And despite the fact that they seriously need some Italian lessons (bread is pane - with one 'n' - not panne ; grapes are uve , the word they use is not any word I've ever seen, ever; bruschetta is pronounced brews-ketta, not brew-shetta) I thoroughly enjoy the food. Plus, how can you beat pizza or pasta and gelato for five dollars for the boys? The carpaccio appetizer is as gorgeous as it is delicious. Bresaola , air-dried beef, is served with arugula, shaved pecorino, and drizzled with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. From the two accounts I can find for the name of this dish, both reference a painting. Venetians claim that carpaccio was invented at Harry's Bar when, in the 1950s, a countess was told that she should only eat raw meat. The owner, Cipriani, named the dish - raw, sliced beef with a mustard sauce - after painter Vittorio Carpacc

Strawberry-Cranberry Cupcakes

"The answer can be 'no'," said my friend as she flagged me down on campus, but with me, it's usually 'yes'. And she knows it! So, they were planning a party for the last day of school and thought that my muffins would be a healthier option than cupcakes in a clamshell. Would I? Could I? Of course I would bake two dozen cupcakes for her... 2 C white whole wheat flour 2 t baking powder 1-1/2 t baking soda 1 t ground cardamom 1 t ground ginger 4 eggs 2 C organic raw sugar 1 C unsweetened applesauce 1/2 C olive oil 2 C sliced strawberries 1 C dried cranberries Preheat oven to 350. Whisk all wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in strawberries. Fold in dry ingredients until just moistened. Scrape batter into cupcake liners, sprinkle with raw sugar, and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Lemon Yogurt Cupcakes

What's the difference between a muffin and a cupcake?!? They are shaped exactly the same; they are made with the same ingredients. are some of my favorite answers for the difference: "Cupcakes have frostings. Muffins are naked." "If you throw a cupcake against a wall you get a sound like "poof"; if you throw a muffin against a wall you get a sound like "thud." "Muffins are simply ugly cupcakes." "Muffins are to bread what cupcakes are to cakes." Whatever you want to call these, they are delicious - and gluten-free. I started with a recipe on the Gluten-Free Goddess blog by Karina Allrich  and tweaked a bit. 1 C blanched almond flour 1/2 C oat flour 1/2 C chestnut flour 1/2 t baking powder 1/2 t baking soda Pinch of pink Himalaya salt 1 C organic raw sugar 5 medium free-range organic eggs 4 oz. light cream cheese, softened 1/2 C organic plain yogurt 2 T fresh lemon juice Lemon zest from 1 lemon

Summer Salad I

Even though our weather is not cooperating, i.e. , it does not feel very summery, I have been whipping up some quick, less-than-six-ingredient summer salads for dinner. Last night I rubbed some lamb steaks with sea salt and fresh oregano, so I mirrored those flavors in our salad. chopped heirloom tomatoes chopped Persian cucumbers crumbled feta cheese sea salt fresh oregano olive oil Chop. Toss. Devour.

Applesauce-Anise Seed Muffins

I love that this is all mixed in one bowl. Perfect for a hectic get-'em-out-the-door-for-school morning. 1-1/2 C white whole wheat flour 1/2 C chestnut flour 2 t baking powder 1-1/2 t baking soda 1 t ground cardamom 1 t ground ginger 4 eggs 2 C organic raw sugar 1 C unsweetened applesauce 1/2 C olive oil 1 C chopped pecans 1 T anise seeds Preheat oven to 350. Whisk all wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Fold in dry ingredients until just moistened. Scrape batter into cupcake liners and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Beer-Braised Mahi Mahi

I sauteed sliced turnips and fennel in a splash of olive oil and seasoned it with fresh oregano and sea salt. I placed mahi mahi filets in the pan and topped it with beer, braising till done. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the fish and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. I served the mahi with gallo pinto and honeyed turnip salad. .

Gallo Pinto

After eating g allo pinto - black beans and rice, Costa Rican-style - at a welcome brunch in Costa Rica, I muddled through a stilted conversation with Marta, the cook, maid, and general go-to gal for the hotel in which we stayed, and figured out what I need to buy at the market to make it. And, like most traditional recipes, I'm certain that everyone has their own version. Many other countries have their own version of this dish: Cubans make  Moros y Cristianos;  in El Salvador it's called casamiento;  and in Peru they use kidney beans and call it tacu tacu. Whatever you want to call it, with the beans and rice it's a complete protein if you do not feel like making anything else for dinner! This Costa Rican-inspired version has become a Mann family favorite. Marta told me to buy: black beans, white rice, boullion, chili powder, and garlic. Getting the 'garlic' portion of that recipe was comical. I was standing in the doorway of her kitchen and she smiled at me,

Honeyed Turnip Salad

I received a bunch of Tokyo market turnips in my CSA box this week and decided to make a chilled salad with it. Jake said, "I don't think I've ever liked turnips, but this is really good." I agree! And I love how easy it is. 1 C rice vinegar 1 C water 2 T honey Whisk all ingredients together. Pour over thinly sliced Tokyo market turnips. Sprinkle with pink Himalaya salt. Let soak for at least 30 minutes.

Chicken Salad with Fennel and Cranberries

In this mayhem that is the last week of school, I put some time into making salads that I could toss between slices of bread or on crackers for the small ones and scoop on top of greens for the tall ones throughout the week. This is a super easy, but super tasty chicken salad. Boiled or roasted chicken, chopped fennel, chopped dried cranberries pecans, chopped minced garlic mayonaise stone ground mustard pink Himalaya salt fresh oregano splash of olive oil Use within two days.

Octopus and Orzo Salad

I used to love finding baby octopus at the market in Rome. Polpi . I would blanch them, then marinate them in olive oil with chopped garlic and oregano. I would keep them in the fridge, then use them for a few days to top salads and pastas. So when I came across a package of octopus salad at WholeFoods, I swooped it up and made an octopus and orzo salad. Cook orzo according to package, drain, and toss with olive oil. Mix in raw, grated carrots, grated cheese, fresh minced oregano, and whole black olives. Season with pink Himalaya salt to taste. Top with octopus salad. Pronto al tavolo!

Roasted Sweet Potato-Coconut Coffee Cake

I walked into my kitchen this morning, trying to figure out something to feed the three hungry Manns. I opened up the fridge, saw two leftover roasted sweet potatoes from dinner last night and thought: Eureka! I'll make a breakfast cake with that! This is so easy and somewhat healthier than plain ol' coffee cake. 2 C white whole wheat flour 2 t baking powder 1-1/2 t baking soda 4 eggs 2 C organic raw sugar 1 C unsweetened applesauce 1/2 C olive oil 2 C roasted and peeled sweet potatoes Preheat oven to 350. Whisk all wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in mashed sweet potatoes. Fold in dry ingredients until just moistened. Scrape batter into buttered baking dish and top with shredded coconut, chopped pecans, and a sprinkling of raw sugar. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Carrot Cupcakes

2 C white whole wheat flour 2 t baking powder 1-1/2 t baking soda 1 t ground cardamom 1 t ground ginger 4 eggs 2 C organic raw sugar 1 C unsweetened applesauce 1/2 C olive oil 2 C grated carrots 1 C dried cranberries Preheat oven to 325. Whisk all wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in carrots. Fold in dry ingredients until just moistened. 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 chopped pecans. Cream cheese frosting: 16 oz cream cheese, 1/2 C softened butter, 1 T vanilla extract, 4 C powdered sugar.

Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

Treats for Riley's birthday celebration at school. This is my solution for kids in the class who are gluten-free and nut-free: flourless chocolate cupcakes. 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped 1 C butter, cubed 1 C raw sugar 6 eggs 1 C unsweetened cocoa powder 1 T organic whipping cream 1 T honey 1/4 t pure vanilla extract Preheat oven to 375°F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Place chocolate and butter in a bowl over a medium saucepan of water. Over medium low heat, stirring often, melt chocolate with butter until completely blended. Add sugar and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Stir in whipping cream, honey, and vanilla extract. Sift cocoa into bowl and stir until just blended. Pour batter into prepared hollows and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cupcakes have risen and top has formed a thin crust. The cupcakes should be just firm in the center when done. When cooled completel