Kristina

I’m Kristina - freelance graphic designer, backyard farmer, cookbook reader, project starter, and new mom to a gorgeous little boy.

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Archive for the ‘recipes + food’ Category

August 21, 2012

Quinoa salad with lemon-tahini dressing

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

~Salad~

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!)
Cilantro, chopped
Parsley, chopped (you decide how much of each you like)

~Dressing~
(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
Olive oil
Tahini
Salt

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:

Sunflower seeds
Chopped tomatoes
Oil-cured olives
Avocado
Preserved lemon
Feta
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

The best olive oil

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

Cooking, recently.

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

Weekend things

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

Spring in the garden

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

The best carrot cake recipe

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 350° 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
4 eggs
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

The frosting*:

1/2 C butter
1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese
1 t vanilla
1 lb. sifted powdered sugar

To make:

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.

Frosting:
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

A favorite smoothie

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.

Spicy Bunny
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.
2 bananas
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 Häagen Dazs chocolate peanut butter ice cream, so there’s that too. Sigh.

January 20, 2012

How to make homemade almond milk

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!

January 5, 2012

Broccoli cheddar soup for January

One of the only things left in the garden out back is (actually, was) broccoli. A whole row. Beautiful little crowns. Barely any aphids. To celebrate my first successful broccoli harvest, I wanted to make something pure broccoli. I nearly made Heidi’s Double Broccoli Quinoa (which is very very delicious and I highly recommend it), but once I’d washed and dried and weeded out the very flowering parts of my crop, there wasn’t really enough for broccoli pesto and broccoli in the dish. So plan B… a yummy broccoli soup. Even though it’s be 80 degrees in LA for the past few days. Ugh, winter! I was just settling into you.

This is a combination of Heidi’s broccoli soup and one I found on Epicurious. It turned out rather deliciously, as evidenced by the pitiful little bit left in the fridge this morning. Apologies that there isn’t a better photo of the steamy bowl covered in croutons and cheese. Just imagine it, pls.

And it’s super simple! The most complicated part: whether to use my new immersion blender or my new Vitamix. My life is so hard sometimes. (Immersion blender won in this case, fyi. They are so handy!)

Broccoli Cheddar Soup for January

Croutons

3-ish cups torn rustic bread
a few T olive oil
1 T whole grain mustard
sea salt
pepper

Soup

3 T butter
3 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced

a few springs each of fresh tarragon and thyme, minced or torn or however you like to do it
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
4 cups water or homemade veg stock
4-5 cups broccoli florets and stems, in smallish pieces (maybe more, if you happen to have extra)

1/4 c cream
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (plus more for garnish)
1 T whole grain mustard

sea salt
black pepper

Prep the croutons: whisk whole grain mustard with olive oil and salt, then pour over torn bread in a small bowl until well coated. These only take 10-15 minutes, so you can roast them now at 350°, or wait until you’re ready to serve.

In a large pot, heat olive oil and butter, then add onions, shallots, and a bit of sea salt and black pepper. Saute until soft and yummy smelling. Add garlic, thyme, and tarragon if you have it. Saute a few more minutes until the flavors have mixed. Add potatoes and toss around until well coated and just starting to soften. Add water or stock, and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender. Taste for salt and pepper and add more if you like. You know how salty you like your food! (Salty, if you’re moi.) Add broccoli and cook for a few more minutes until just tender, again. Now remove from heat, add cream, a bit more salt if necessary, and stir.

Using an immersion blender (bonus!) or regular blender, puree the soup until smooth, adding the cheddar cheese and mustard as you go. (Make sure you do this while the soup is still hot so the cheese has a chance to really mix with the rest of the soup. If it’s slightly chunky, I think that would be delicious too.

If you’re not ready to eat it, as I’m normally not since I tend to start dinner around 4 and then leave it until Dashiell is in bed at 7, let it rest and reheat it when you’re ready to eat. Dress with a handful of croutons and a bit of cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper.

It’s really quick and really yummy. My one addition would maybe be like twice the amount of broccoli so it’s REALLY broccoli flavored. But alas that was all I had, so I just went with it. Also, I might just double the entire recipe because we managed to eat nearly all of this in one sitting last night. And leftovers mean no one (ahem, me) has to cook the next night.

November 22, 2011

My current fave lunch: the perfect egg salad

For whatever reason, I’ve been heavily into egg salad sandwiches as of late. I don’t question these things as a rule, especially not at the moment, so I’ve spent the last month perfecting my recipe. It’s so incredibly inappropriate for the week before Thanksgiving, but you know, that’s how it goes these days.

It’s very loose, of course, and the quantities aren’t exact, (are they ever?), but I think as long as the basics are there you can’t go wrong.

Nearly perfect egg salad

4 hard boiled eggs (10 minutes is ideal, I think)
1 big spoonful of greek yogurt
1 small spoonful of mayo
1 small spoonful of whole grain mustard
a bit (or a lot) of minced chives
a bit (or a lot) of mined tarragon
sea salt
a few grinds of black pepper
tiny bit of lemon juice (if you think it needs it)

Roughly mash the eggs and whites with a fork in a small bowl. I take out one yolk of the 4 because I don’t think it needs to be quite so yolky, but you could certainly leave them all in. Add all ingredients except lemon juice to the bowl, and mash/mix until your salad is well-combined and/or looks like egg salad. Taste. Add salt and pepper if necessary. And then maybe the lemon juice. But be careful not to add too much because it CAN make the salad sort of watery. Which is eew.

Serve on toast, (buttered, naturally), with a few leaves of arugula and more salt and pep.

MMM.

We’re heading to the mountains tomorrow morning for a white Thanksgiving with my family. Super excited. I’m making, among many things, this cornbread stuffing recipe from the LA Times. Requested by my dad. Substituting the chorizo with chanterelles. Hopefully there will be some photos next week.

Happy Thanksgiving all!