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Showing posts from August, 2011

Molasses Pumpkin Bread

Whenever I happen to have some extra pumpkin puree on hand, I whip up some pumpkin loaves. Thanks to Belle and Randy, I have plenty of puree right now. I love this recipe because you just stir everything to together. Couldn't be more simple... 1-1/2 C white whole wheat flour 1-1/2 C peanut flour 1-1/2 C firmly packed organic raw sugar 1 t cinnamon 1 t nutmeg 1 t cloves 2 t baking soda 1/2 t salt 2 C pumpkin puree 1/3 water 1/2 C organic plain yogurt 1/4 C hazelnut oil 1/4 C unsulphered molasses 2 t vanilla extract 6 large eggs 1 T pure vanilla bee pollen for sprinkling on the top, if desired Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients. Pour into prepared loaf pans or muffin tins. Sprinkle bee pollen over the batter, if desired. Bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.

Green to the Sixth Power Rice

I decided to go all green when I cooked my Lotus Foods organic jade pearl rice . So while the rice steamed in one pot, I sauteed minced garlic, slices of fennel, zucchini coins, and chopped bok choy in a splash of olive oil. When the rice was cooked, I gently incorporated it into my green veggies and seasoned it all with minced fresh dill and fresh tarragon. What a tasty - and green! - sidedish. And because I was always taught to have a minimum of three colors on a plate, I served this with chicken sausages, bright purple kimchi, and roasted golden beets.

Green Rice

Another dinner, another funky grain. I came across this rice at the store and couldn't resist: organic bamboo-infused jade pearl rice. Green rice! Click here to read more about this interesting grain by Lotus Foods. I like that it's high in chlorophyll. If you're local, I picked up my bag at Earthbound Farm's Organic Farmstand.

Caprese-Style Beet Salad

I'm not sure how many changes you can make to a recipe and still have it be called by the original name. Insalata Caprese is traditionally buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, and fresh basil, all dressed simply with olive oil. I had some fresh ciliegia ("cherry") mozzarella and the sweetest cherry tomatoes I've ever had. Then I tossed in some slices of the roasted chioggia beets, baby spinach, and fresh tarragon leaves. I added splashes of white balsamic vinegar and olive oil and sprinkled everything with pink Himalaya salt and freshly ground pepper. Thanks to Belle - and Randy! - for the beets and tomatoes. I have never had tomatoes this sweet least not on this continent. Seriously, these rival the tastiest tomatoes I had in Italy. Squisito!

Candy Cane Beets

Touted by Sunset Magazine as one of the top 10 feel good foods , chioggia beets are my family's favorites. Though the boys gobble up both red and golden beets, what they call "the candy cane beets" are especially beloved. These beauties came to me from my friend's garden. Thanks, Belle! For a colorful salad that's rife with potassium, iron, and folic acid, roast your beets, slice them, then dress them with a splash of olive oil, a dash of balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Pumpkin-Potato Gnocchi

With some leftover pumpkin puree in my fridge and some potatoes from my High Ground Organics CSA box, I decided to make a pumpkin-potato gnocchi for dinner. Most people roll their gnocchi dough into a thick straw and cut the gnocchi; in Italy I was taught to hand-form them, so mine look less uniform. For this batch I used 2 C of pumpkin puree and about 6 small potatoes. Scrub potatoes then towel-dry. Roll them in olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and roast in a 350 degree oven until they are fork-tender. Let cool slightly. I leave the skin on the potatoes, but feel free to peel yours if you don't want the added texture. Using a potato masher, begin to smash the potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Mash the pumpkin into the potato mixture and keep mashing. Add two pats of butter, one beaten egg, and mash until smooth. Then mix in flour, slowly, until you get a medium (not stiff, but not too sticky either) dough. Usually I add about 3/4 C by the time I'm done. Using abo

Farro con Zucca e Zafferano

One of my cooking rules: use what you have. Sure, there are times when I will run out to the store for a specific ingredient, but after a long week of work, I just want to get dinner on the table to join the boys for family fun, scouring the cupboards and making it work. Tonight I had farro in the cabinet, chicken-spinach-feta sausages in the fridge, roasted pumpkin from Belle, zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and thyme from my High Ground Organics CSA box, and, well, I always have garlic and saffron. Maybe I've read one too many Dr. Seuss books, but I dig alliteration. So, I decided to call this risotto-style dish  Farro con Zucco e Zafferano . Farro with Pumpkin and Saffron. I brought water to a boil, removed the pot from the flame, then dropped a few saffron threads to infuse for 10 minutes. Then I brought the saffron-infused water to a boil again and boiled the grains for 10 minutes. When I drained the farro I reserved the saffron cooking water. In the meantime, I sliced


"What's for dinner?" Farro. "What's farro?" A grain. "What kind of grain?" I started buying and cooking farro when I lived in Rome. I have always thought it was barley; it looks like barley. But when Riley asked me what it was tonight, I decided that I should look it up just to be precise. Farro ( Triticum dioccum ) is an ancient wheat while Triticum spelta is spelt. Turns's not barley. Whatever it is, we're calling it dinner.

Sweet Bee Banana Bread

There was no real reason for adding bee pollen a loaf of banana bread. I just saw the bag of pollen in my cupboard and thought it would make an interesting addition. So I threw in some raw honey to stick with the bee theme. 2-1/2 C white whole wheat flour 1 C organic dark brown sugar 1 t sea salt 1 T baking powder 1 t baking soda 1 t ground cinnamon 1/2 t ground cloves 1 C organic soy milk 1/3 C organic heavy cream 2 T raw honey 2 eggs 3 T hazelnut oil 1 T pure vanilla extract 1-1/2 C smashed banana Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together all wet ingredients. Mix all dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened. Spoon into a prepared pan. Bake until golden brown (approximately an hour) and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Cabbage-Phobia Cured!

I sent some cabbage dishes to my previously cabbage-phobic friend with a note that I required photographic evidence that he took at least one bite of each dish. And, as I suspected he would, he posted a well-done video of his foray into cabbage consumption. I just wasn't sure of the verdict. I was very pleased to see him not only take mulitple bites of each - gallo pinto-stuffed cabbage rolls and kimchi - but to declare that it was tasty. Wow. YOU did it!

Fig-Avocado Salad

This salad is the perfect end to a summer's dinner: greens topped with slices of ripe avocado and fresh green figs, sprinkled with pink Himalaya salt and fresh ground pepper. And I love the squeeze-and-go dressing...juice from a clementine and a good olive oil. So easy. So fresh. So delicious.

Caprese Pasta

The combination of a sunny Indian summer evening and some luscious tomatoes from Belle's garden meant one thing for dinner: caprese pasta. This dish reminds me of so many summer dinners at my apartment in Trastevere. I love that the only thing you have to cook is the pasta. While the pasta boiled, I sliced a ball of fresh mozzarella and fresh tomatoes. Then when the pasta was done - al dente! - I tossed it with the cheese, tomatoes, and a handful of arugula leaves. A splash of olive oil to make everything glossy; fresh ground pepper and some grey sea salt for some more flavor. Che squisito! And so, so fast.

Ojibwa-Style Baked Pumpkin

Last year for Thanksgiving, I cooked a Native American feast and called it: How the Other Half Ate. One of the side dishes I made was a baked pumpkin from the Ojibwa tribe in Canada. And since Belle had given me a gorgeous, voluptuous pumpkin yesterday, I baked it last night. Three-quarters of the baked pumpkin I turned into puree for future pumpkin treats. And a quarter of it I put back in the oven this morning for breakfast. Ojibwa-Style Baked Pumpkin... Slice the pumpkin into wedges. Smear a bit of butter on the pumpkin or drizzle it with oil. Sprinkle with brown sugar and spices. This morning I used ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Bake till the pumpkin begins to brown. I served this with some plain yogurt, granola, raspberries, green figs, mint tea and called it breakfast.

Secret Recipe Club

I recently joined the Secret Recipe Club - organized by the amazing Amanda - and received my assignment for next month. Though I am not tipping my hand as to whose blog I have, I have been excitedly perusing her recipes, trying to decide what I'll make. The basic idea: you get a blog assigned to you, you pick one of their recipes, make it, then blog about it on your assigned 'reveal date.' It's a great way to discover other kitchen blogs, experiment with some new recipes, and have some fun. Keep your eyes out for my Secret Recipe Club reveal on September 12th!

Three Helpings!

My fermented cabbage, Korean-style is finally done. So I served it tonight with steamed brown rice and marinated beef. My husband doesn't usually like kimchi. But he actually went back for three helpings this evening. Success.

Gallo-Pinto Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

If you've been following me for awhile, you'll know that one of my missions in life is to challenge people's palettes, specifically, if a friend tells me "I don't eat _____________." _____________ is exactly what I'm going to make for them. So, when a friend told me that cabbage + anything = scary, I decided to make a couple of things for him, with the proviso that he only needs to eat one bite, but that I require photographic evidence of him trying the dish. First up: gallo-pinto stuffed cabbage rolls. I figured that sorma , Serbian cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and sauerkraut, was probably too much cabbage for my cabbage-phobic friend.  To support my effort, another friend donated some bounty from her garden in the form of two heads of cabbage. I had some leftover gallo pinto . I added diced cooked chicken sausages, 2 beaten eggs, and a cup of shredded cheese. Then I blanched some cabbage leaves, stuffed them with the mixture, rolled them into tight

Baked Pumpkin...oh, the possibilities!

When my friend Belle brought me three pumpkins from her garden this afternoon, I was ecstatic. I know, I's only August. But my pumpkin adventures are beginning anew. I took the biggest one and roasted it tonight. Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Place two orange halves in the cavity and fill the pumpkin half-way with water. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Let cool. Now the fun begins. I can scrape the flesh out and make a puree or I can slice it into wedges, drizzle it with ginger syrup and bake it again until the the wedges are brown and caramelized. I haven't quite decided. I do know that I am going to savor every single bite.

Prickly Pear-Green Fig Jam

After buying four prickly pears this afternoon, I was searching for culinary inspiration. But after tasting a bite of them raw, it was clear: these must be sweetened somehow. My mouth is still puckered from that single bite. So I decided on jam; I skipped the lemon juice that I usually add to jam because the prickly pear seemed acidic enough. Because the four fruits yielded surprisingly little - after being peeled and deseeded - I filled in with some fresh green figs that I had in my fridge. Toss a couple of star anise into the mix and I have a distinctive jar of jam to serve on toast this week. Delicious! 2 pounds fruit, rinsed and cubed 1 C organic turbinado sugar 3/4 C water 2 star anise pods Place the fruit, sugar, and water into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to cook, stirring the jam constantly, for about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Hold the jam at a constant simmer, checking frequently to make sure the jam isn’t scorched at the

Prickly Pears

When I stopped at a Mexican market to find a molinillo for the history of chocolate class I'll be teaching later this trimester, I - not surprisingly - wandered excitedly through the produce section before heading to the checkout stand. I found loroco flowers, fresh peppers in every color of the rainbow, but the only thing I grabbed today were prickly pears. I've been curious about them and finally decided to give them a try. These were already "de-spined", but I was still clueless as to how to prepare them. Thankfully I found this useful tutorial: how to cut and prepare prickly pears from   The seeds are vaguely like gravel. Teeth-breaking little buggers. And the fruit itself was very tart. Having never bought prickly pear before, maybe I didn't pick the ripe ones. I peeled, scooped, and chopped and ended up with very little prickly pear. Oh, well. Next time I'll buy more. Then I turned these lovelies into jam. Recipe and photos to fo

Pumpkin-Hazelnut Oil Waffles

Leftover pumpkin + lazy Sunday morning = pumpkin waffles! 2 C white whole wheat flour 2 T organic granulated sugar 1/2 t pink Himalaya salt 2 t baking powder 2 eggs 1-1/2 C soy milk 2 T pumpkin puree 2 T hazelnut oil Place all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients and stir till just moistened. Cook in your waffle-maker according to its directions. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Clam Chowder

When I asked the boys what they wanted for dinner, Dylan suggested clam chowder. Riley asked if we were going to the Wharf; Dylan said, "no, I like Mommy's chowder better." Love it. So, naturally, I made it for them. The potatoes and celery were from our CSA box from High Ground Organics. Typically celery just seems like green water in stalk form, crunchy but tasteless; these were so fragrant! 1 C sliced chicken sausage 1 T minced garlic 2 C chopped celery 2 C cubed potatoes chicken stock 3 cans chopped clams, juice reserved butter flour 2 C clam juice (from chopped clams) organic heavy cream fresh oregano fresh thyme pink Himalaya salt In a large soup kettle or stockpot, cook sausages, celery, and garlic over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook till they beginning to caramelize. Add the clams. In another pot make a roux with the butter and flour. Add the clam juice to make a thick sauce. Transfer the sauce to the larger pot. Stir in chicken stock and cook till desi

Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin-Gingersnap Biscotti

What to do with some leftover gingersnaps from my Snappy S'mores  from last weekend?!? Pumpkin biscotti, of course! Yes, I am lengthening my pumpkin-cooking season. You've been warned. 1/3 C hazelnut oil 1 C organic granulated sugar 3 eggs 1/4 C unsulphered molasses splash of ginger syrup 1 C pumpkin puree 3 C white whole wheat flour 1/2 C chestnut 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 1/4 C crumbled gingersnaps Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet. In a large bowl, mix together oil, sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, molasses and ginger 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. Press crumbled gingersnaps into the top of the loaves. Bake in preh


Gimjang is the traditional process of preparing kimchi. One little post about my fast and loose fermented cabbage spawned a stream of comments from some good friends, one who is half Korean and one who lived in Korea for several years. I thought I'd share what I learned. Thanks for the culinary lessons, guys. I love learning new things! There's a Korean saying: "There are as many types of gimchi as there are holes in the ground." Reason being that that's how gimchi/kimchi is traditionally made. Jess informed me that traditional kimchi is made in fall, left in kimchi pots in the ground for several months during winter, to ferment naturally. Although most Koreans now, she wrote, have special "kimchi refrigerators" - sort of like wine fridges - that keep the kimchi at the right temperature until it's ready in spring. Wow. And Kathey told me that she uses ground apple to cut down on the sugar. If I like this recipe, I'll have to experiment wi

Fermented Cabbage, Korean-Style

I dare not call this kimchi for fear of offending my Korean friends. Let's just call it 'kimchi-style.' I've received several heads of cabbage in my CSA box over the past couple of weeks and was looking for something new to do with them. Last week I made a purple cabbage coleslaw. Tonight I decided to try a fermented cabbage. I started with a kimchi recipe by Gabi Moskowitz , the BrokeAss Gourmet...and immediately made some adjustments based on what I had in my cupboard. I haven't actually gotten to the final stages, or the enjoyment part, but I'll keep you posted on the results. 1/2 C Hawaiian red alaea sea salt enough warm water to submerge all the cabbage 1-1/2 heads cabbage (I used 1 whole green and 1/2 purple) 1 T minced garlic 1/2 C Korean chili paste 1/2 C white balsamic vinegar 3 T honey In a very large mixing bowl dissolve the salt in warm water. Submerge the cabbage into the salt water and weigh it down with a plate, so it stays submerged.

Coconut Milk Banana Bread

Why mess with a good thing? I decided to use the same recipe, or process, substituting ripe smashed bananas for the shredded zucchini to make this moist banana bread. It's just as delicious as it is easy. I did add some molasses for added flavor. 2 C white whole wheat flour 1/2 C chestnut flour 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 t sea salt 1 T baking powder 1 t baking soda 1 t ground cardamom 1 t ground nutmeg 1/2 t ground cloves 1 C coconut milk 1/3 C organic plain yogurt 2 T dark molasses 2 eggs 3 T olive oil 1 T pure vanilla extract 1-1/2 C smashed banana dark chocolate chips Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together all wet ingredients. Mix all dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon into a prepared pan. Bake until golden brown (approximately an hour) and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Coconut Milk Zucchini Bread

I've recently been quite smitten with the tetras of coconut milk at Trader Joe's. I've never been a big milk drinker, but a chilled glass of this stuff is delightful. And, in baking, it imparts an added moistness. 2 C white whole wheat flour 1/2 C chestnut flour 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 t sea salt 1 T baking powder 1 t baking soda 1 t ground cardamom 1 t ground nutmeg 1/2 t ground cloves 1 C coconut milk 1/3 C organic plain yogurt 2 eggs 3 T olive oil 1 T pure vanilla extract 1-1/2 C grated zucchini Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together all wet ingredients. Mix all dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened. Spoon into a prepared loaf pans. Bake until golden brown (approximately an hour) and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Parmesan Crisps

These are so easy and a nice departure from a tortilla chip. I love these with a zippy salsa. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of parmesan cheese onto a parchment lined baking sheet and lightly pat down. Repeat, spacing the spoonfuls about a 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool.

Potato Salad with Caramelized Leeks, Pancetta, and Capers

This is a flavorful sidedish that complements any summer barbeque. I used the potatoes I had just gotten in my CSA box, cubing - skins on - and boiling them till fork-tender. While the potatoes cooked, I caramelized leek coins and pancetta in a splash of olive oil. Then I tossed those two together with capers, mayonnaise, mustard (in this case I had hot and sweet mustard from Trader Joe's) and seasoned it all with pink Himalaya salt and freshy ground pepper. Delicious! Make this the day before you serve it so that the flavors have time to develop.

The Funky Monkey

Because I was stuffed from our dinner, I didn't try all of the s'more combinations. Both Pia and Jenn thoroughly enjoyed the Funky Monkey S'more: graham crackers, roasted marshmallow, dark chocolate, and slices of fresh banana.

Snappy S'mores

Ever the culinary adventurer, I wanted to offer the gang a few s'more flavors that were a bit more exotic than honey graham crackers and plain chocolate. I love the bite of ginger, so here are some Snappy S'mores: roasted marshmallow with a square of dark chocolate and caramel sandwiched between two ginger snaps. Yum!

Tweaking a Favorite

Despite my usual Nazi-esque attitude about my boys eating refined sugar, s'mores are a camping staple in my family. Dylan gets very grumpy if we neglect to make s'mores on a camping trip. So, in planning my 20th high school reunion camping trip, I decided to set up a s'mores bar for our first night around the campfire. I debated: the standard or some gourmet choices. Serendipitously yesterday was National S'mores Day. Click here to read my tirade about American National Food Holidays. I write 'serendipitously' because it meant lots and lots of creative recipes to tweak this camping favorite. I will, of course, offer the plain jane s'mores variety; but there will be ingredients on hand for Snappy S'mores and the Funky Monkey. Recipes and photos to follow.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

I decided the make some zucchini bread for the first day of school. This is so easy and just as tasty cold as it is warm. 2 C white whole wheat flour 1/2 C chestnut flour 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 t sea salt 1 T baking powder 1 t baking soda 1 t ground cinnamon 1 t ground nutmeg 1 t ground cardamom 1/3 C coconut milk 1/3 C organic plain yogurt 1/2 C milk 2 eggs 3 T olive oil 1 T pure vanilla extract 1-1/4 C grated zucchini 1 C semi-sweet chocolate chip Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together all wet ingredients. Mix all dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon into a prepared pan. Bake until golden brown (approximately an hour) and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Blackberry + Cabernet + Chocolate = Gelato Bliss

My favorite gelateria in Rome is owned by a man we lovingly dubbed the Gelato Nazi. Like the infamous Soup Nazi in New York, this man would banish you to the end of the line if the combination of flavors you ordered wasn't up to his liking. Tonight we picked up some pints of Ciao Bella at the grocery store. The Blackberry-Cabernet sorbet paired very well with the Belgian Chocolate gelato. Che squisito! When I make my own's where I start. 2 C whole milk 1 C organic heavy cream 4 egg yolks 1/2 C organic raw sugar 1. In a medium saucepan, mix milk and cream. Warm until foam forms around the edges. Remove from heat. 2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until frothy. Gradually pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture gels slightly and coats the back of the spoon. If small egg lumps begin to show, remove from heat immediately. 3. Pou