Archive for the ‘recipes + food’ Category
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 CobranÃ§osa. 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 CobranÃ§osa 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.
March 26, 2012
In my opinion, that is. But I am particularly fond of carrot cake, if that gives me any cred. This is the cake I made for Dashiell’s birthday this year, and the cake we served at our wedding. Awwww. It’s my friend Carol’s recipe, actually her mom’s, and proves that sometimes old fashioned 50′s recipes are maybe the best after all. I first had it when she made it for my dad’s 40th birthday party, 20 years ago. (OMG!) I’ve been slightly obsessed since then.
It’s freakishly easy and pretty much makes itself, which makes you feel a wee bit guilty when accepting the abounding praise you’ll enjoy if you serve this to a group of people. And they will all demand the recipe. So I’ll just say, you’re welcome, and we’ll get on with the how-to.
The Most Delicious Carrot Cake Ever
Preheat oven to 350Â° F. Butter and flour 2-9 inch round pans or 1-9×13 inch pan. Be liberal with the butter. It really does help the cake slide out more easily after baking.
For the cake:
2 c flour
2 T baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
2 c grated carrots (I used more because I cannot help myself)
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 c golden raisins
1 c chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 C butter
1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese
1 t vanilla
1 lb. sifted powdered sugar
Sift together flour, soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Beat eggs with sugar, then add oil and vanilla and blend. Add dry ingredients, mix well. Add remaining ingredients (the fruits and veg) and mix well. Turn into prepared pans and bake 35-40 minutes. Test for doneness with a wooden skewer. Let cake(s) cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool further.
Cream butter, cheese and vanilla. Add sugar gradually beating well. It’s so good.
*For a 9×13 inch cake, make 1 1/2 recipes of frosting, and for 2-9×13 inch cakes, 2 recipes of frosting is enough.
I made two batches of cake and 3 batches of frosting for a layer cake (totally winged it, btw), which also left me with enough for one extra round cake.
One tiny tip my mom shared whilst I was in the middle of muddling my way through my first ever frosted cake… for light frosting on a darker cake, you have to seal the entire thing with a thin coating of frosting first. This layer will be all crumby and messy looking, but then once it’s set (I put mine in the fridge for an hour or so), you can liberally frost the cake again without any ugly crumbs ruining your masterpiece.
Also, if you actually want your cake to look good, I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to trim the top and edges so the entire stack is beautiful and even. I forgot about that. But you know, I’m rustic at heart.
March 8, 2012
Oh, hello. I bet you thought I’d completely disappeared forever. I haven’t! I am here! I am just, I don’t know, unable to get it together to post regularly at the moment. I want to, I really really do. But sometimes life just gets in the way. I think I might start again though. I have a bunch of ideas and photos and things I could share. Just need to make the time.
For now, how about my favorite smoothie? It’s so so delicious you guys. Definitely not a power smoothie… more of a treat. But everyone needs treats sometimes.
It’s a wee bit time intensive since you have to make the almond milk and juice the carrot ginger juice, but if you’re feeling motivated I certainly think it’s worth it.
from Raw Food, Real World
(As per usual, the quantities are loose. Go with your instinct and you can’t go wrong!)
Equal parts homemade almond milk and fresh carrot-ginger juice.
4 dates (no pits, obvs)
pinch of cinnamon
Blend in blender. Drink.
If you’re lucky and have a good market or juice bar near you, you might be able to buy the carrot ginger juice and avoid getting the juicer down if that’s a deal breaker. It sometimes is for me, I have to admit. But I’ve been totally into my juicer recently and it turns out it’s not as annoying to clean as I make it out to be.
This pregnancy I’ve been craving raw vegetables and juices and kale and (as you know) almond milk like crazy. It seems like the opposite that is expected of pregnant ladies, but I’m going with it. I’ve also enjoyed my share of HÃ¤agen Dazs chocolate peanut butter ice cream, so there’s that too. Sigh.
January 20, 2012
Here’s a little secret about making almond milk… you don’t actually need a Vitamix. Some of you commented that making almond milk was a great reason to buy one. It IS. It does make it much easier and fancier. But I’ve been making it for years with a regular old Oster blender and it works fine.
So, that being said, I thought I’d share my recipe. The one thing you do need is a nut milk bag. Some people claim you can use cheesecloth, but don’t bother. You’ll have grainy almond milk and it will be so frustrating to make that you’ll never do it again. So first, order one up online. The one I have right now is my second, and I actually bought it from Vitamix before I had one. I figured they would probably have the best one since you know, they’re Vitamix. The first one I bought years ago from a random raw foods website and it was just okay, and then eventually split open in the middle of the main operation. My new one is big and fabulous and strong and makes the whole process super easy.
Raw Almond Milk
1 cup raw almonds
4 cups filtered water + more for soaking almonds
sweetener of choice – maple syrup, agave, cinnamon, etc
Soak 1 cup of almonds overnight (or all day) in a bowl of filtered water.
Strain and rinse soaked almonds (they are delicious at this point, try one!). Dump them into your blender with the 4 cups of filtered water.
Blend on high for 5 minutes.
Place the nutmilk bag in a bowl (preferably in the sink), and empty the blender into the bag.
Squeeze the milk through the bag into the bowl (kind of like, I assume, milking a cow?). The almond meal will stay in the bag and you’ll be left with just the yummy milk.
Now rinse the blender and the lid. Pour the milk back into the blender and add the sweetener of your choice. I usually add a few tablespoons of maple syrup, maybe a squeeze of agave, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt. Blend again for a minute.
And that’s it. Yummy milk that’s actually better the next day once the foam has settled and the flavors have mixed together. I’ve been adding it to coffee and tea, eating it in cereal, and drinking it by the glassful through the day.
If you DO have a Vitamix of another high capacity blender, you can up the portions of almonds and water so you end up with more milk. I usually use 1 1/2 cups of almonds and 6 cups of water. This fills the Vitamix to capacity, which honestly is a huge plus with this type of blender. So much more space! I used to have to blend the milk in batches, which just made the whole process longer and less streamlined.
You can also use the same formula to make milk from different nuts. I’ve make brazil nut milk before and it was delicious too. Make some this weekend!