Archive for the ‘recipes + food’ Category
December 19, 2013
It really is, you guys. And I’ve had a lot of toffee. Now, I’ve never actually made another recipe so I might be a bit biased, but I’m telling you this one is perfection.
And since there seems to be some interest in the recipe (according to this instagram photo), I thought I would repost the link here so you don’t have to go digging through archives to find it. I actually did a full-on step by step tutorial, which is good. But the photos are a little meh and make me feel like I’m showing off my middle school art project. It’s kind of hilarious that my iPhone photos now are better than my DSLR photos from a few years ago, isn’t it?
I give you…
the best toffee recipe, ever.
Guaranteed crowd pleaser. Promise.
September 27, 2013
Kay so these? If you’re a crazy mom like me and measure your worth by the number of vegetables you can convince your children to eat, these are for you. Beets! In popsicle form! Imagine the vitamins.
Plus they have organic greek yogurt for a nice protein boost. And they’re yummy. In kind of an earthy way. But I swear your kids won’t even notice. That’s the beauty of the popsicle.
Recipe is up on 100 Layer Cakelet!
June 10, 2013
This salad was a pretty happy accident. It’s inspired by one that Melanie showed me how to make years ago, that I’ve been making faithfully every summer since. But I made a few changes to it this time, mostly because I didn’t have everything on hand and sometimes I just cannot bear to get in the car and go to the store. Especially when we have so much growing out back at the moment. You’ll see by the only photo I snapped, we (I) devoured it.
We’ve been trying to have Sunday dinner as a family in the backyard. I love it. But sometimes I don’t start prepping in time and before we know it it’s 5:30 and the kids need to eat and it’s overwhelming to try to feed 4 of us in 1/2 an hour. But I was determined last Sunday. I started prepping early in the day (slicing and salting zucchini, boiling french lentils) and by 5 I was throwing together this salad. The original recipe calls for tomatoes (and squash, basil, and walnuts), but I didn’t have them. And was starting to despair that it wouldn’t be delicious enough to even eat, let alone BLOG.
And then kitchen magic happened. It was a true necessity = invention moment. Be warned, as per my ongoing discussions with Jamie via Instagram, my recipes are loose. But believe in your own approximate measurements! You can always add salt or acid at the end if you need it. And note, you need an hour of resting time for the zucchini before you can move ahead with the salad so plan accordingly. Here goes:
First zucchini of summer salad
(You know, when you’re crazy excited to eat them?)
3-4 zucchini and squash
coarse sea salt
1 big-ish shallot, minced
lemon juice and/or white wine vinegar
pinch of sugar (maybe, I kind of forget)
yummy olive oil
chopped, toasted walnuts
mint, basil, or any other herbs you have around
Thinly slice zucchini and squash, preferably with a mandolin. I do this right into the colander, but if you don’t, set the slices in a colander and then sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Let sit for an hour (or more), preferably in the sink or over a plate to collect the drips. At this point I like to wander off and do something else for a while, especially if I’ve started the squash early enough in the day. But you could just plunge ahead with your prep.
While the zukes are resting, make the dressing. Combine the shallot and vinegar with a hearty pinch of sea salt in a large bowl. How much vinegar? Enough to generously cover the shallots. You’re making enough dressing for the whole salad, so however much you think you need. (Do you hate me? I would.) Now, I normally use lemon juice here. But I didn’t have a lemon so I decided to be brave and try vinegar. It’s possible that this is the key, I’m not sure. But I do encourage you to try the vinegar if you’re up for it. If you prefer lemon, you can go for that too. I usually do.
Let the shallots macerate in the vinegar for 10 minutes or so. Again, longer is fine. I’m mostly sure I added a teeny bit of sugar to the mixture too because I was afraid of the vinegar. Give it a go, I bet it won’t hurt. When the shallots have sufficiently softened, whisk in a few glugs of good quality olive oil. Whisk whisk whisk. Then taste. If it tastes good, time to move on! If it needs a bit more of something, add it.
You’ll probably finish the dressing well before the squash is ready. If so, do something else. Or you could prep the other ingredients so it’s not a mad, messy rush at the end. How novel! One day I will learn about that. Wash and pick through arugula (straight out of the garden is the best, but it comes with caterpillars and dirt and such). Toast the walnuts. Clean and chop the herbs. Or leave them whole if you’re lazy like me.
When you’re ready to move on, rinse the salt from the zucchini. Re-whisk the dressing if it’s been sitting too long. Add the squash to the dressing in the bowl. Mix it up well and taste. Maybe add the herbs too. At this point I left it alone again for a bit. I was making a lentil salad too and setting the table and drinking a beer and such so it wasn’t totally on purpose, but I do think it helped to develop flavor, you know? Kind of like lightly pickling the zuke slices. When you’re nearly ready to eat, add the arugula, avocado, and walnuts. It should be pretty darn tasty at this point. If not, you can always add a bit more salt, some pepper, some lemon juice, some olive oil… whatever you think is missing.
Truthfully I’m not sure why this salad was so darn good. But it just was! I think part of it was the my expectations were reeeeal low, since I was missing the key ingredient. And also (not to be too too annoying about growing food), it makes a huge difference when your veggies and herbs come from the dirt and go straight into the kitchen. Can’t even compare your own bright, fresh squash to the sad ones you find at the grocery store. And don’t even get me started on arugula. It’s a whole different green when you grow it yourself.
That being said, who wants squash? Because they are getting mighty sad on my kitchen counter.
January 14, 2013
I’m not big on new year’s resolutions, I have to admit. But I LOVE the possibility that the start of a new year brings. Magically, with the turn of a page on the calendar, the slate is clean and we can start fresh. Don’t you wish we could be in this mental state more than one time a year?
One thing I’m working on for 2013 is making better family dinners. Meaning dinners that the kids will eat and we will eat, even if we don’t do it together nearly enough. Sara and I were discussing the importance of actually planning meals and ingredients ahead of time, and it has me motivated to put a little more effort into that part of our life again. I know I never wrote the post on what it was (and is) like to become a family of four, but you can probably guess by my lack of posting that it’s been a wee bit challenging. My friend Jessica and I, who have kids who are exactly the same age, call those early days and months “the dark ages”. Need I say more?
But thanks to the new year, we’re having a bit of a Renaissance around our house. Things are brighter, and easier, and more fun. And part of that is knowing what we’re going to eat for dinner, instead of frantically throwing something together 10 minutes before the kids need to eat. The key right now is that I know Dashiell will eat it (mostly), that I can grind it up for Forrest, and that Brock and I will also actually enjoy it once they’re both happily asleep.
Here are some of my go-tos:
Red lentil soup – popularized in our house when Jora made it for lunch at her house a year ago. It’s delicious, flexible, fast, and with very little thought, you can always have the ingredients on hand. I make it a point to keep a jar of tomato paste, dry red lentils and a few onions in stock at all times.
Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce (with pasta) – Again insanely delicious, especially for it’s simplicity and ease to prepare. I always have at least one can of San Marzano tomatoes in the cupboard for just this recipe. We eat it with pasta, a veg and a crunchy kale salad, or just by the spoonful.
Spaghetti Squash casserole – I use the basic recipe from True Food Kitchen, but instead of a can of pureed tomatoes, use Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce! Makes it extra yum. Plus I throw in extra veggies or even tofu, if I want to get crazy. This was actually Forrest’s first non-baby food and he literally scarfed it down. (More on feeding the second baby in a later post. Hopefully?) Last night I made it with bits of kale and since I didn’t have enough mozzarella on hand, I filled it out with cheddar. Flexibility is the key here ’cause I can’t always be driving to the store when I’m missing one measly ingredient.
Taco bar – Which entails a giant pot of homemade beans, corn tortillas, a crispy cabbage salad and whatever toppings we have on hand. Salsa, guac, cheese, and cilantro are actually plenty for a yummy dinner. (This doesn’t work quite as well for Forrest, but he doesn’t mind mashed up beans with some seasoning.)
Melanie’s Tortilla Soup – Easy as pie to prepare, especially if I have left over pinto beans on hand (though canned works fine too). Meets all criteria, especially the kid one. They both love it.
Quinoa Cakes – I make these all the time and it turns out that once you have the basic binding ingredients down, you can use whatever you want to fill it out. I’ve used brown rice when I didn’t have any quinoa ready. I’ve add bits of kale or chard, cooked lentils, different cheeses, kernels of fresh corn, peas… really it’s very flexible. The kids eat them alone (I pick one apart for little Forr, since he doesn’t have any teeth just yet), and we usually eat them with a salad. I like leftovers for lunch with avocado and fresh mint on the side.
Homemade pizza (using Blake’s secret crust recipe) – I probs don’t need to really ‘splain this one much. Pizza = delish for everyone. Except Forrest. Admittedly we haven’t made it in the last month or so since he starting eating real food, but if he’s anything like his brother and my husband, it’s only a matter time.
Now I want to hear what you all make for your families. As you can see, we could use a few more options. Any must-trys? Would love a good enchilada recipe, if anyone has one.
November 19, 2012
I’m not entirely sure what to call these actually. The only thing that’s certain is that I love them and I begged my friend Julie to send me the big pics from her phone so I could share them. Do any of you follow Julie on Instagram? She’s an incredibly creative lady and an exceptionally great home chef, who used to blog but has since forsaken it for IG. We can’t blame her, can we?
She started a little series ages ago making patterns with her spoils from the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. It’s evolved into a really beautiful little piece of the social media megasphere… one that I look forward to every week. (No pressure or anything, Jules!)
Since lots of you like to cook, I thought you might find her creations inspiring. Wouldn’t you love to hang prints of these in your kitchen??? Maybe if we give Julie enough encouragement, she’ll start an etsy shop and sell them to us. Hellooooo super sweet and simple holiday gifts for the chef on your list.
There are soooo many. Here’s a bunch that I love:
Would you buy, or what!?
Thanks so much, Julie!
August 21, 2012
By special request via Instagram… the quinoa salad recipe. So, here’s the thing. Not really a “recipe”, more like throw some things together and call it delicious. But I will share what I have. It’s a knock-off of a salad that Joan’s on Third does, but it’s so obvious you’ll be like, how did I not think of that?
Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing
2 cups quinoa, prepared as usual (Don’t forget to let it drain!). If possible make this at least an hour or so ahead so it has time to cool before you make the salad. I sometimes make it in the morning and just leave it out in a bowl until I’m ready to use it.
1 can chickpeas (or cook your own if you’re awesome and/or don’t have a new baby!)
Parsley, chopped (you decide how much of each you like)
(I use this dressing from a fave Orangette recipe as a guide, and gussy it up a bit.)
1 shallot, minced
Juice of 2 lemons
Grated zest of 1 lemon (do this before you juice one of them)
2 cloves minced garlic
Let’s make the dressing first. Combine the shallots, garlic, lemon juice, zest, and a large pinch of sea salt together in a bowl. Let the shallots and garlic macerate for at least 5 minutes. 10 is maybe better. Whisk in a large blob of tahini. Probably a 1/4 cup? Maybe a little more. You’ll have to trust your cooking skillz here because I didn’t measure, and you need a little more sauce than the Orangette recipe calls for. Whisk til nicely combined. Then add as much olive oil as seems to make sense, plus some more salt. And if you like, a bit of water. Taste it, (it’s probably delish), and then add whatever you think it needs.
I usually add the dressing to the quinoa first, to make sure it’s nice and coated. Then I dump in the rest of the ingredients, mix, and that’s pretty much it. You might need to add a bit more salt (I like me some salt), or olive oil.
This salad is super duper flexible and you can add lots of things to it to make it even more tasty. Like:
All of the above!
It’s generally a crowd pleaser, but also super simple. And makes for a perfect picnic/potluck contribution.
I’m so glad it’s summer.
July 27, 2012
Baker & Olive Cobrançosa. I’m convinced. I’ve been all but drowning my salads in it as of late. It’s grassy and nutty and just all around super yummy. Do you know Baker & Olive? I bet you San Diego peeps do. It’s an awesome little shop in Encinitas that makes you want drop everything and just cook and create and live a delicious life. And also buy everything they sell.
I came home with a few olive oils and, ready, an ESPRESSO BALSAMIC a few months ago. And suddenly the Cobrançosa is the apple of my eye. I think it’s my favorite olive oil I’ve ever tried. And probably the first that I feel like I can’t possibly live without. Which means I’ll be ordering a large bottle soon because I’m almost out.
And the espresso balsamic is divine too. Vanilla Haagen Dazs, strawberries, espresso balsamic. Yep.
June 19, 2012
I’m going to be straight with you all. There hasn’t been a whole lot of cooking going on around these parts as of late. Occasionally something gets made, but mostly not so much. I’ve been inspired to make lots of things, and even buy the ingredients sometimes, but when it gets down to the standing in the kitchen… I usually opt for something else.
However, a few things I can share:
Beautiful apricots from Frog Hollow Farm… visiting at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market for only a few more weeks. Their bing cherries are almost too sweet. I swear. Totally worth whatever they want to charge me. And the apricots are delicious, though I did intend to make apricot-lavender jam with them. Ask me if that’s happened yet.
Roasted tomatoes and yummy lentil salad from new fave, Plenty.
Delicious rhubarb rosewater syrup from 101 Cookbooks, plus salsa verde (of the Italian variety) inspired by An Everlasting Meal. Which is a beautiful book, btw. I haven’t finished it because it seems a waste to read such inspired writing on food when one has no interest in cooking. Maybe towards the end of the summer.
Simple, roasted spring veg… delicious with the salsa verde.
And the last of the fava beans from our garden. Definitely growing them again next year… but for now I’m kind of excited about our first cucumbers and zucchini coming in. And basil. When you haven’t had basil for months, it really is a revelation.
And I’ve been religiously making almond milk, of course. And did manage to make ginger scones this morning.
Looking forward to not being so large.
May 7, 2012
I haven’t done one of these in a while, have I? I was suddenly inspired to take photos this weekend. Let’s see what we did. Or at least what I managed to take pictures of…
Dashie and I hit up the garden with his new tools and cart. We got the cart! Our friend Carol sent it as a belated birthday present. We love it. (Thanks Carol!)
Picked lots of favas.
I started with a little light nesting… which was attempting to remove milk stains for all of Dashiell’s newborn things. Half a day soak in OxyClean and they’re pretty good, for those of you in the same boat.
And went through the little pile of things I’ve collected from various consignment stores and online sales over the last year. And then resisted the urge to buy millions more things because it will be way more fun after we find out who’s coming to meet us.
I love watching my little guy play in his corner by himself.
Made my favorite fava bean puree + salad for a get together at our neighbors’ house on Sunday eve.
Where Dashiell learned all about popping water balloons.
The weeks are speeding up, people. I swear they are.
April 25, 2012
There hasn’t been much in the way of new activity in the garden yet this year. And I’m thinking I might just need to let go of having a bountiful harvest this summer. At this point, standing in the kitchen is pretty much all I can handle, which makes the thought of weeding and tilling and planting seem laughable. HOWEVER, Dashiell and I are going to give it a go this weekend anyway. (I don’t admit defeat easily.) Brock will be out of town so it’s just me and my little buddy, and one of his favorite activities is digging out back.
I even bought him his own little Melissa & Doug trowel and cultivator/rake-thing this week. He’s going to be super excited. Maybe I should have ordered him a garden cart too?
But despite my lack of effort, we do have some delicious spring things happening out back. One of the benefits of landscaping with edibles!
The mint is luscious and full and taking over the planter by our back door. Need to do something fancy with it before the flowers come.
Berries are flowering right on schedule.
Artichokes just keep coming. I’m thinking I might try pickling a few of the bebes. Though I do love the recipe I use from Sunday Suppers a whole lot. For those of you who are still intimidated by their spiny exterior, here’s how to prepare baby artichokes, which I only discovered last year. It’s so easy!
Fava beans are gorgeous and tall and the beans are just starting to be ready to pick. We’ve had them in pasta and salad so far. I’ve yet to make my favorite fava bean puree, but I think that’s coming next.
Grapes are growing like crazy. I trimmed them back for the first time this winter. Makes a huge difference!
And my neighbor’s loquats are just about ripe. They hang over our side of the fence, which makes them fair game, if you ask me. Also, he’s told me I can have all of them because he never touches one. (Same with his lemons, which is brilliant. Haven’t bought a lemon in like 5 years.) I’m going to try making loquat jam this year. Maybe this recipe? Or this one.
So much of spring is just green, isn’t it? I didn’t manage to get peas in the ground, but I *might* try to plant some this weekend just to see what happens. The weather has been so weird that you never know.
How are everyone else’s gardens doing? I can’t wait to retire so I can spend all day growing things.