The weather can’t quite decide if it is clearing up or staying dreary. The lunch, however, was bright: baby bok choy (from the farmers market!) fried in grapeseed oil, a tablespoon of mirin and tamari, a bed of fresh grated carrots, and some of the bean salad from yesterday. Fantastic!
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Bean, chickpea and carrot salad (makes 2 servings)
- 1/2 cup red kidney beans (sodium reduced)
- 1/2 cup black navy beans (sodium reduced)
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 large carrot, peeled, grated
- 1.5 TB mirin
- 1/2 TB roasted sesame oil
- 1/2 TB organic tamari
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Spaghetti with artichokes, cannellini beans, mushroom and thyme
- 2 oz cooked spaghetti
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup of frozen artichokes
- 1/2 cup cooked cannellini beans
- 1/8 cup white wine
- 1 ts olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 anchovy filet (or 1/4 ts anchovy paste)
- salt, pepper to taste
- a few springs of fresh thyme
- a few grates of parmesan
- 3-4 baby portabello mushroom
In a separate pan, dry-fry the mushroom in a separate pan, and serve on top of the pasta.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
How is your long weekend? After much socializing and catching up yesterday, I took it easy today, and baked a fabulous bundt cake: with a fruity olive oil, lemon zest (and extract) and some quinoa flour and almond milk. If it would not be for the eggs, it would be vegan. It is wonderfully light and flavorful, perfect for a potluck or picnic at the beach.
Lemon olive oil bundt cake
Ingredients (small cake, 6 cup pan)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup quinoa flour
- 1 ts baking powder
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil (like an Arbequina olive oil)
- 1/2 ts pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 ts lemon extract
- 3 free-range large eggs
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- Zest of 1 lemon
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray the pan(s). Combine the flours and baking powder. Set aside.
Using a standmixer with the paddle attachment, beat the olive oil, cane sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon zest in a large bowl until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, for ca 2 min for each egg. Add the almond milk.
Add half of the flour mixture and beat at low speed just until blended. Add the remaining flour, and mix in. Use a silicon spatula and scrape the batter into the pan(s).
Bake the tiny cake for ca 30min, and the small bundt cake for 1 hour, until cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan(s) on a rack for about 15 minutes. Then turn the cake right side up on a rack to cool completely.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Lentil, quinoa and chive salad:
- 1/2 cup dried beluga lentils,
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 ts olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 israeli couscous (or harvest grains from TJ)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 ts butter
- 1 TB roasted sesame oil
- 2 TB mirin (sweetened rice wine vinegar)
- 1 ts sea salt
- 1 red bell pepper, small dice
- 1/2 cup shelled edamame
- handful of chives with flowers
Cool all ingredients, and mix with the sesame oil, mirin and salt. Add the bell pepper and edamame. Chop the chives, and preserve the flowers. Mix in about 2/3 and use the remaining for decor. Serve!
These days I have a small obsession with Wallis and Edward. I caught a glimpse of the preview of W/E on one of the DVDs from netflix, but did not get the movie’s name and started googling for Edward and Wallis. I ended up with the (well-known) story of Wallis Simpson, and the king that abdicated for her. I put W/E in my DVD list, and the Edward & Mrs Simpson 1978 British TV mini series on my instant play list. I have a thing for beautifully filmed British movies that play between 1850 and 1945 in England. It seems such a tranquil, beautiful, understated time (well, if you are rich).
Today is a gray, cool day; the week has been full and arduous, and I felt I wanted to get away and have fun. Portland. But once the clock moved passed 12pm, my desires turned into a pumpkin. The trade-off between a 4h drive and browsing the isles at Wholefoods, lingering in downtown Portland, and fun/but unnecessary shopping seemed to tip towards a ‘too much of a drive”. I talked myself out of it. Instead, I am sitting on my couch, an amorous Chanelle No 1 next to me, and W/E in the DVD player. The combination is not too bad. Take me away, to different places, different times, different lives.
Something is cooking, too. Quinoa. Israeli couscous. Beluga lentils.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Are you gearing up for the holiday weekend? It always puts me in a good mood to think about a long weekend, especially in the summer. Hikes, lobsters, ocean. Yesterday, I browsed through an old Gourmet Magazine, and found the image below. Doesn’t it capture a great summer hangout in a place like Maine or Montana perfectly?
Now, I only hope that Marc Zuckerberg uses his new billions to revive the Gourmet mag.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Most vinaigrettes use a ratio of 2/3s olive oil and 1/3 vinegar. This makes sense if the vinegar is extremely tart, like red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, however it does not apply (in my opinion) for really good, aged, sweet (expensive) balsamic vinegar. So, when I make my balsamic vinaigrette, I use a ration of 7/8 balsamic vinegar and 1/8 olive oil. The flavor is in the balsamic vinegar afterall.
- 1 cup very good, smooth, at least 8 year aged balsamic vinegar (I use Fini or Fiore's Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar)
- 1-2 TB excellent extra-virgin olive oil (currently, I used a price-winning Australian olive oil I got at Wholefoods)
- 1 TB grainy mustard (Maille recommended)
- 1 TB honey
- 1 garlic clove, microplaned
Oxymoron? Smiley face (fiddleheads are a northeastern thing). But it is a great way to prepare them since most recipes I know are rather bland, but this one is not at all. It is more the Eva Mendes form of fiddleheads.
Start with spicy olive oil (I bought a fiery hot harissa olive oil at Fiore), add some spicy chili flakes (1/2 tablespoon), some fresh grated or granulated garlic, and heat up. Add the kernels of a fresh chucked ear of corn, and a pinch of salt. Saute for ca. 3 min. Add precooked fiddleheads, and heat through (2min). Serve! It is a great side to any steak or hamburger. Great also with a cup of cooked quinoa.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Over at Bea’s, she left us with a small marbled cake recipe before she travelled to Fance. Love her style of taking silicone molds with her on vacation to bake cakes. This time, she used it to make a small marbled cake, similar to my hazelnut cake a few weeks ago, but small, for the small family or the small occasion. Instead of a whole stick of butter, I only used a half stick and added instead a 1/2 cup of pre-cooked cannellini beans. You would never taste the difference. There was enough dough to make the small cake and 2 tiny individual cakes.
Small GF marbled cake with cannellinis:
- 1/2 stick (55 g) unsalted butter, soft
- 1/2 cup cooked cannellini beans (best home-cooked from dry w/o salt)
- 3/4 cup (100 g) millet flour
- 1/2 cup (60 g) quinoa flour
- 2 TB flax meal
- 1/2 cup (60 g) almond meal
- 1/2 TB baking powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup (100 g) blond cane sugar
- 3 large organic free-range eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 TB vanilla extract
- 1 TB strohrum
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) buttermilk
- 1.5 tablespoons sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a small cake or cake mold or muffin pan. I use a small silicone mold (needs no spraying).
In a food processor, chop the butter and the beans to a soft mousse. Add to the bowl of a standmixer with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar, and whisk until both are well combined. Add 1 egg at a time, and mix in. Add the vanilla extract and the rum and buttermilk, and whisk well.
In a separate bowl, combine the flours, flax meal, almond meal, baking powder and salt, and mix through. Slowly add to the wet ingredients until well combined. Remove about 1/3 of the dough and mix with the cocoa powder. Fill 1/3 of the ‘white’ dough in the mold, add the chocolate dough and top with the remaining “white” dough. Bake for ca. 40min. Cool for 15 min and remove from mold. Eat!
Sunday, May 20, 2012
The weather is wonderfully warm again but today was a quiet day with running errands around the house, buying cat food and red wine. The essentials. Refilling the vegetable drawer. Checking out the deals at Old Navy. Watching “The descendents”. Dinner came together with pre-cooked quinoa and fiddleheads and fresh kale, all sauteed in harissa flavored olive oil with chili flakes, fresh garlic, and rosemary, salt and pepper. Sundried tomatoes would have been good, too.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
So I could not leave, until we were all snuggled out after 1h. He decided he needed a little nap in the shade. And I moved on to the hill and the hike. After that, the obligatory (shopping/browsing) walk in Bar Harbor. Next time I have to get on that schooner at the Bar Harbor Inn!
Friday, May 18, 2012
Another nice sunny day and I finally had the courage to move my indoor plants outside for the summer, and add some more lawn furniture. Another adventure? Finally try out my small cute Bodum charcoal grill that I bought last summer. I have never use charcoal grills before so it was more or less an experiment. I bought charcoals with lighter fluid built-in, built a little pyramid in the grill, lit it and had a glass of wine. It burnt brightly but something went wrong, not all the charcoals were really white-hot, some still half dark. So, I guess I did something wrong.
Nevertheless, I threw on some mini bell peppers on the grill and closed the lid. More wine. More patience. I realized another seasonal occurrence: mosquitos interested in the orange grill adventure and me. Compared to a gas grill, a not very well light small charcoal grill seems to take forever to cook vegetables. Next time: more charcoal. However, it is a nice little portable grill for picnics. More adventures to come.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Nature has started with its orchestra of blooms.Some people are great conductors of the blooming in their gardens with an ever changing reign of beautiful matching flowers throughout spring and summer. I slowly get aware of the ever changing wave of blooms and their order. Currently, the fruit trees blossom, the cherry trees, apples, peach trees, and the dandelion adds a yellow blanket to the green lawns. Soon, it will be the time of rhododendron and peonies. Spring has finally begun.
It is a sleepy day around here due to gray skies and cold temperatures. BC did not even blink an eye when I took a series of photos of her. Fortunately, I don’t feel quite as sleepy.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
It is rainy, then warm and the lawn, like usually in May with all the rain, needs to be mowed every week now. Free exercise and fresh air, right? I planted round zucchini this year, grown from seeds, peas and lacinato kale. The perennial herbs have come back, the sage, thyme, oregano, chives and I am looking forward to cook with them, especially fresh thyme. I also grew several seedlings of kuri squash from the seeds of a squash I had bought last fall; they are doing so well I might have to give some away since I don’t have the space for all of them.
Lunch salad were the leftovers in the fridge: radicchio with balsamic vinaigrette, sauteed kale with yellow bell pepper, fresh squeeze orange juice and white wine and a 1/2 hot pepper, topped with goat cheese and strawberries.
Monday, May 14, 2012
I had plans for the remaining cooked fiddleheads: a pasta dish – spaghetti with vegan pesto. Then I found a Thai curry with fern recipe in the Saveur Magazine. I think I might have to buy some more…..
Vegan Pesto Spaghetti with Fiddleheads
Vegan Pesto (makes several servings).
- 1 cup packed basil leaves
- 1 cup packed mache (or any other ‘filler’ leaves like baby spinach)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 T white miso (I use sodium reduced white mellow miso)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- fresh ground pepper
- 1/8 cup water (more or less depending on desired consistency)
- juice of 1/2 lemon (prevents that the pesto turns brown)
- optionally (for non-vegan version): 1 oz of sheep's milk feta
Pack all ingredients in a food processor and start with about half of the water. Add tablespoon wise for desire consistency. Chill or use right away.
Vegan Pesto Spaghetti with Fiddleheads (1 servings):
- 2 oz spaghetti, cooked according to instructions
- 2 TB vegan pesto
- 1/2 ts butter
- 1/2 ts chili flakes
- 1 small garlic cloves
- 1 cup cooked fiddleheads
Heat the butter with the garlic and chili flakes until butter is lightly browned and garlic sauteed (ca. 1 min). Add the fiddleheads, and saute in the spiced butter, mix until all the butter is absorbed. Add the spaghetti, 3 TB cooking water and 2 TB pesto to the pan. Mix all ingredients and heat through for about 1 min. Serve!
Sunday, May 13, 2012
The other day I picked up something new at Trader Joes: goat milk yogurt. Hmmmm?
I love soft goat cheese so I was curious about how yogurt would taste. Then, when I tasted it I immediately disliked it: it definitely tasted like goat cheese and I could not think of combining it with anything sweet or fruits. So, it sat there in the fridge.
Yesterday at the farmers market I tasted a new product at the Olde Oak Creamery that was similar to the goat milk yogurt, just thicker, with olive olive and herbs mixed in, more like a spread than a crumbly goat cheese. The Aha! moment happened. Strained goat milk yogurt! So, I put the goat milk yogurt in the trusty strainer for about 36h, and it became thick and creamy, similar to Greek yogurt, much more the consistency of a cheese than a yogurt.
I mixed it with a tablespoon of pesto, some salt, finely chopped chives and fresh thyme, and served it as a spread on toasted bread with olive oil. Superb! A step closer to make your own goat cheese. Even with out adopting one of the adorable baby goats.
In a skilled heated a teaspoon of butter with a thinly sliced dried hot pepper and a small grated garlic clove, and let the butter brown for 2 min. Adding the fiddleheads and mixing it through, with some salt and pepper, some baby kale, white wine… served with goat cheese --- delicious.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
It was a beautiful day today and since I’d been just to the coast it would be a nice day staying put. Farmers market, petting 3 week old super cute, mellow, sunbathing twin baby goats, sampling goat cheese, buying fiddleheads. In the afternoon, I got a tan, plenty of exercise, and fresh air….. and my deck railing got a new white coat.