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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Yotam's Sprouts Salad, Part Two

Most often I find myself planning meals around the vegetables that I have just purchased or plucked from our home garden. A few years ago it was all about the protein. Not making a big deal about this same subject has also served me well. When we are all together as a family I try to serve several different sides and small plates. Learning about other cuisines has been life changing for us as well.

Just received a copy of Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, "Plenty More" and have not looked back. It is reading books like this that you discover different ingredients and spices and the best ways to prepare them. The book is organized into chapters of similar cooking techniques like tossed, steamed, blanched, fried etc. The photography is beautiful and many recipes come with a short story.

The first recipe I chose was this “sprout salad, part two” that is a revised version of another sprout salad. The salad has a light crunch and is bursting with flavor. There is no leafy greens involved, just veggies, avocados, sprouts and nuts. The dressing is the biggest surprise with pickled plum puree as the base.



3 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons sliced roasted almonds
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 large bunch radishes (sliced thinly)
1 small kohlrabi (peeled and cut into thin strips)
1 medium carrot (peeled and cut into thin matchsticks)
1 1/4 cups mung bean sprouts
2 avocados (peeled, pitted and cut into small cubes)
1 cup cilantro leaves (chopped)


1 1/2 teaspoon umeboshi puree (pickled plums)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon low salt soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons superfine sugar
1 small shallot (minced)
3 tablespoons canola oil

To prepare:

Start by preparing dressing, in a food processor add all ingredients. Pulse until well mixed.

Next, in a medium saucepan of water, bring to a boil, add edamame, bring back to a boil. Immediately remove from heat, drain and then refresh with cold water. Shake well to dry, then add to a large serving bowl. Add radishes, kohlrabi, carrot, sprouts, avocados, cilantro, sunflower seeds and almonds to the edamame. Pour the dressing over the salad, mix to combine and serve.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from "Plenty More", by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Grilled Butternut Squash Bruschetta

Caring about what we eat and where it comes from has changed my perception about many things. It also brings me around to some great farmers markets. Even when we are out of town I love to experience the foods that are grown locally. In my own kitchen; I've noticed that there are a few vegetables that I prepare the same way. As an example; butternut squash is most often roasted.

This week at the farmers market we sampled grilled butternut squash bruschetta. The samples were made by Chrysa Robertson the chef and owner of the Rancho Pinot Grill. I have written about her restaurant here before. She also receives her veggies from the same farmer and was showcasing his veggies along with her culinary talents. The squash was tossed with a red wine vinegar mixture and then left to marinade. I was intrigued as this is something that I have never tried before. Then to add even more flavor garlic is roasted and then mashed into ricotta cheese with fresh herbs and lemon juice. The end result was very flavorful.

*Be sure and leave yourself enough time to marinade the squash; 2 to 8 hours recommended*


Garlic-lemon ricotta spread:

1 head garlic
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoons chopped chives
2 cups ricotta cheese
Olive oil to drizzle
Salt and pepper to taste

Marinated butternut squash:

1 medium large butternut squash (peeled and seeded, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon garlic chopped
Salt and pepper

1 baguette or small loaf crusty bread
Handfull of chopped walnuts for garnish

To prepare:

Combine olive oil, vinegar, honey, rosemary and garlic, toss with sliced squash, marinade 2 to 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Peel and discard most of the papery outer layers of the whole garlic bulb. Cut top about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top of the cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Place the garlic heads in a small baking dish, cut side up. Drizzle olive oil over each head and then using your fingers, rub oil over entire bulb.

Cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, until cloves feel soft.

This is what they should look like.

Next prepare the garlic-lemon ricotta spread by squeezing the garlic out of their skins; add to a medium sized bowl and mash with a fork. Add garlic, lemon zest, juice and herbs together with the ricotta cheese. Taste, season with salt and pepper, taste and season again if necessary.

Remove squash from marinade and season with salt and pepper, grill on both sides turning frequently until fork tender.

Remove from grill and cut into small pieces. Next grill bread slices lightly, both sides.

For assembly:

Spread lemon-ricotta bead on grilled bread, top with butternut squash, garnish with parsley and walnuts. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from Chef Chrysa Robertson of the Rancho Pinot Grill.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sharlotka, A Russian Apple Cake

A sharlotka is really a Russian apple cake. In this particular recipe there are very few ingredients involved and no butter used in the batter. When I first saw the picture of this little cake in Food and Wine magazine, I knew instantly that I would be making it right away. In fact, I made it the same day. I used 5 small Granny Smith apples initially thinking that this was way too many apples. Had no idea they would cook down so much. Next time I will even use a few extra. Also, I was worried the apples would be too tart, but after baking they were sweet and delicious and melted in your mouth.

At one point in the recipe the instructions call for mixing the eggs, almond extract and sugar together on medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes until thick and pale yellow. When batter is the right consistency a ribbon should form. This part was quite baffling to me but after referencing a few baking cookbooks I did exactly as directed.

The end result was a thin crisp like topping that cracks when you cut into it and a soft moist light interior with layers of sweet apple slices at the bottom. This is the kind of cake that could be shared anytime of day. Enjoy!

This recipe has been slightly adapted from Food and Wine magazine, contributed by Chef Matt Danko.


5 small Granny Smith apples (next time will add 2 more)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan with parchment paper. Then butter the paper and the sides of the pan.

Peel, cut in half, core and then thinly slice apples, add to medium sized bowl with lemon juice and two tablespoons of the sugar. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together, set aside.

Using stand or hand mixer, beat eggs, almond extract and rest of sugar at medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow and a ribbon forms when the beater are lifted about 8 to 10 minutes. ***To test the batter for the correct consistency lift beaters up and the batter should fall off in a flat ribbon-like pattern.**** Gently fold in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.

Drain apples, then spread in bottom of prepared pan in an even layer. Pour batter evenly over apples and let stand 5 minutes to allow batter to sink in.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until it is golden on top and until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let rest for 15 minutes, then unmold. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Ready to serve.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Creamy Parsnip Soup with Pear and Walnuts

Well, we are back in Phoenix, the trip from Oregon to Arizona can sometimes be exhausting. The biggest problem is that I carry too many things from one house to the other. I always bring my favorite knives even though I have knives at each house, and I always cart all my spices to and from in a large Tupperware tub. Sadly this is only the beginning of the things I bring, my husband is a patient man.....

The first 10 days after arriving I spent time with 2 extraordinary young boys; (my grandsons) and was too exhausted to write, post or comment. I marvel how so many of you can juggle kids, work and post all at the same time. Anyway, we had so much fun, we baked pizzas, went to museums, many parks and the zoo.

In the meantime and at the same time the season is changing. Love this time of year! After pursuing through my November issue of the Food and Wine magazine I spied this soup. This recipe is from from Marcus Samuelson's new cookbook, "Marcus Off Duty".  Here I used Yukon potatoes instead of sunchokes and cut back on the cream.


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds parsnips (peeled and chopped)
2 medium Yukon potatoes (peeled and chopped) (recipe uses sunchokes)
4 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped)
4 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups water
3 cups chicken or veggie stock
1/2 cup heavy cream (recipe uses 1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the toppings:

Chopped walnuts
Drizzle of walnut oil
Fresh pear slices

To prepare:

In a large soup pot on medium heat, add olive oil, then parsnips, potatoes and garlic, stirring until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in garam masala, cumin, turmeric and salt. Cook, stirring until fragrant about 2 minutes. Add water and stock. Bring to a simmer, cook until veggies are tender, about 25 minutes. Add cream.

Puree soup in batches or with boat motor. Taste, season with salt and pepper.

Add toppings and serve. Enjoy!

Parsnips are all about fall and winter and this particular recipe is special, very special.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cottage Cooking Club September 2014 Two Recipes

We are now in our fifth month of the Cottage Cooking Club; a group of bloggers cooking together and then posting our experiences along with the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's cookbook, "River Cottage Veg". Our group is and has been inspired by our dedicated leader Andrea of the The Kitchen Lioness. I prepared 2 of the 10 recipes chosen and once again was impressed by the simplicity and flavor of the finished dish.


For the first recipe I prepared the green lentil and spinach soup. Made the recipe exactly as written except I substituted the chard since I have tons of this particular veggie in my garden to clean out. If anyone has followed my blog for very long you know that I am a huge fan of lentils and most any kind of soup. This was very simple and delicious.


The next recipe was as easy as can be and titled, Roasted squash". Most any type of squash can be used here and then there are the recommended extras. Roasting veggies is by far my most favorite way to prepare them as this method intensifies the flavor and makes the veggies even more delicious. I know this will be a favorite throughout the upcoming winter months.

Recipes adapted from the "River Cottage Veg" by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, first recipe chapter , Hefty Soups, Green lentil and spinach soup, page 162. Roasted squash, page 346. To see what recipes the other members choose for this month head on over to the LYL post for September on the"CCC"

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sticky Cranberry Gingerbread

Confused is the weather this time of year. One day it is cold with deep dark clouds and morning fog. Next, there is not a cloud in the sky; the wind is blowing and it is chilly enough for a sweater. The sun is setting much earlier too. Even though the light in the day is becoming shorter there is still the same amount of hours in a day. So why do I feel rushed? Makes no sense.

Now this little gingerbread does make sense. As it bakes the cranberries will sink to the bottom of the pan creating a caramelized chewy goodness. The texture is cake like and sticky and has all the spices of fall. The house will smell of cinnamon and molasses. The first night I served this cake with a scoop of ice cream. The next morning plain with a cup of coffee.

This recipe has been adapted from Melissa Clark's cookbook, "Cook This Now".


1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 large eggs, slightly beaten

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 9 inch square baking pan, then line pan with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan on medium heat; combine cranberries, sugar and water. Stir until sugar is combined and the cranberries become soft and the water syrupy, about 20 minutes stirring often.

In a separate saucepan, stir together the butter, brown sugar, milk, molasses and maple syrup over medium heat. Bring it to a slight simmer and then remove it from the heat. Do not let it come to a boil. (Mixture could curdle)

In a large bowl, sift the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and black pepper. Beat in the butter molasses mixture and then the eggs.

Scoop batter into prepared pan. Then spoon cranberries into the batter in a swirly design and then drag a knife through the batter in the same pattern to incorporate. Bake approx 40 to 50 minutes, until the top is firm and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Updated Tuna Casserole

Thought I'd share a picture of the beach right now in the mist of it's transformation. As you can see the grasses are starting to change color. Then there's the path to the sand that is covered with yellowed and crumpled leaves. The brown pelicans form v-formations or lines just above the water's surface to fly to and from their fishing grounds. Everything looks so serene in this picture above but there is a lot going on.

Still working on the tuna cache before we leave. Found this classic in a very large pile of recipes that have been printed from other blogs, (before pinterest) or torn out of magazines. Had to google the name of the recipe to find out where I had found it. Turns out it's from Southern Living magazine and a updated version of one at that. It was delicious, creamy, cheesy, crunchy and full of fresh green beans and tuna. Prepared this exactly as written except did not use as much butter or cream. Would definitely make again.

1 16 ounce package dried ziti pasta
1/2 pound fresh green beans (trimmed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium leeks (thinly sliced)
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms (sliced thinly)
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 tablespoons flour
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup 2% milk
1 cup vegetable broth
2 cups Cheddar cheese (shredded)
6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (divided)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 pound fresh tuna (cooked and cubed)
2 tablespoons fresh chives (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
1/4 cup crushed potato chips (plain)
1/4 cup panko
2 tablespoons melted butter

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 13 x 9 inch baking dish. (I used butter)

Prepare pasta al dente according to package directions. In the meantime blanch green beans in boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain, plunge into ice water to stop cooking.

Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat add leeks and saute 2 minutes, then add mushrooms and saute 5 more minutes until lightly browned. Transfer mixture to a small bowl, wipe skillet clean.

Melt butter over medium-high heat and whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly 2 minutes. Gradually stir in cream, milk and broth. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and whisk in cheddar cheese and 4 tablespoons of Parmesan until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Stir cream mixture into pasta and then add chives and parsley, tuna, green beans and leek and mushroom mixture. Then transfer to baking dish.

In a separate dish add potato chips, panko, melted butter and the rest of the Parmesan, combine, then sprinkle over top of pasta.

Bake at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!