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Showing posts from April, 2013

Shout-Out No. Four - BrunchWeekers are Awesome

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 . 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

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 extrac

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'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.

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 cru

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 to

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

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 alo

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 stic

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 on

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

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

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 roasted beets , cubed 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 p

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

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

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 , li

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

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!

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 Flowers ,  I 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 th

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 - jus

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 musta

A Third Round of Shout-Outs for BrunchWeek

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 s