Friday, July 30, 2010

Cucumber Salad with Olives, Capers and Herbs

Inspired by a dish at Camino. I don't have anise hyssop in my garden so I used a combo of mint, tarragon, and basil.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mel i Mato

This is one of my favorite Catalan desserts (or breakfast). I made my own "mato" using homemade, unsalted ricotta that I ran through the food processor and molded overnight. I served it with some beautiful acacia honey drizzled on top.

Herbed Lentil Salad with Homemade Ricotta

I cooked the lentils with garlic and then dressed them in olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and chopped basil, thyme, marjoram and rosemary.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hannah Banana Creme Pie

Finally, here is the recipe for my award winning Hannah Banana Creme Pie. You can see more pictures of the process here.

For the crust:
5 oz (half a bag) of chocolate cookies (I use Newman's Own Alphabet Cookies)
1 Tbs butter, melted
1/2 egg white

For the filling:
4 egg yolks
2 1/2 C milk
3/4 C sugar
3 Tbs cornstarch
Vanilla extract
1 Tbs butter
2 bananas

Whipped cream

Start by making your crust. In a food processor, grind the cookies into a fine powder. Remove about one tablespoon and set aside, leaving the rest of the crumbs in the food processor. Add the melted butter and egg white to the food processor to make a dough. Using your fingers, press the mixture into a pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, combine the cornstarch and sugar in a bowl. Scald the milk in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add a quarter cup of the milk to your cornstarch and sugar mixture to make a slurry, and then add it back into the saucepan of milk. Return to the heat and stir constantly until it thickens. Remove from heat again and add the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring constantly. Return to low heat, continuing to stir, for another minute or two. The mixture should be very thick. At this point, you can add a little vanilla to taste and the butter, stirring until it's incorporated completely into the custard.

Slice the bananas and arrange the slices in the bottom of your crust. Pour the warm custard over them and refrigerate until cold (or overnight). When you are ready to serve, top with freshly whipped cream and sprinkle with the reserved cookie crumbs.

Green Chopped Salad

This one was inspired by Jamie Magazine, but I made it my own with a few different ingredients. It is: romaine lettuce, celery, fennel (stalks and fronds), pea shoots, spring onions, English peas, sweet corn, avocado and cojita cheese, dressed with whole grain mustard, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Crunchy and delicious!


For the first time this year we had a bunch of green walnuts on the tree, and I wanted to do something with them before the squirrels got them. I used David Lebovitz's recipe for nocino, and I can't wait to see how it turns out! I'll post again when it's all done...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Minty Peas

Roasted Chicken and Lemon Potatoes

When Erik decides he wants to eat meat, I never hesitate. We roasted a chicken with these fantastic potatoes from River Cafe- you just slice up lemons and toss them with the potatoes, garlic, olive oil and herbs. Delish!

Blackberries and Peaches with Mascarpone Custard

A variation on the recipe we made last week.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Taco Salad

Little gems, homemade pico de gallo (tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño), black beans, lime juice, cotijo cheese, sour cream, and Primavera corn chips.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Beets with Oregano and Chili, Sauteed Broccoli with Garlic and Sea Salt

After last night's visit to the county fair (and my dinner of sausage on fried bread, and sickeningly sweet apricot pie), I wanted to eat a ton of veggies today. Erik and I made our favorite salad with borlotti beans and sweet potatoes for lunch, and for dinner I roasted some beets to go along with the leftover yams, and sauteed some broccoli as well. Yum!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sour Cherry Preserves

Erik's Pancakes with Boysenberries

Erik makes the best buttermilk pancakes. They are so good that I always eat them all without remembering to take any pictures. Today I suggested we put boysenberries in them, and they were the best yet! Yummmmm.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Crab Salad with Fried Green Tomatoes

While I was working in the garden the other day, I accidentally snapped off a tomato vine full of green tomatoes. Naturally, I had to fry them. Erik and I brainstormed about different dishes we could make to compliment the tomatoes, and I remembered a very good crab cake Benedict I'd had years ago at a diner, that used fried green tomatoes as a base. This being our month of salads, I decided to deconstruct the dish. I made a spicy remoulade (with sweet peppers, red onion, fennel, basil, chili, paprika, and mayonnaise) to dress the crab meat, and then I put together a salad of Romaine lettuce, more basil and sliced fennel, and sweet corn. For the tomatoes, I dredged them in flour (seasoned with paprika, Cayenne, salt and pepper), then egg mixed with buttermilk, and finally bread crumbs. I fried them lightly in oil, and I have to say that these were some of the best fried green tomatoes I've ever had! Sorry, South Carolina.

Broccoli Slaw

Inspired by this recipe, and made with buttermilk, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, red onion, dried Montmorency cherries, and chopped Marcona almonds.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Boysenberries with Mascarpone Custard

Another from the River Cafe. We baked the berries with the custard on top until it turned golden. Perfect for a summer evening!

Linguine with Crab and Fennel

I'm repostng this because I finally got a good picture of it. The original post was March 24, and we've made this dish a couple of times since then. It's always delicious!

We found a copy of the second River Cafe cookbook on sale today, and were drooling over this recipe (which originally called for linguine, but we had spaghetti and it worked just fine) when we passed by our local fish market and saw fresh crabs in the window. It was fate! We bought the crabs pre-cooked and cracked and then pulled the meat out ourselves.

1 lb Spaghetti
Crab meat
1 Fennel bulb
1 Garlic clove
1 tbspFennel seeds
2 Dried chillies
1 Lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil

Remove the tough outer part and stalk of the fennel. Slice the bulb as finely as you can across the grain. Keep any of the green tops. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Crush the fennel seeds and crumble the chilli. Grate the zest of the lemon, and squeeze the juice.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a thick-bottomed pan, add the garlic, fennel seeds and chilli, and cook to soften. Add the crab, lemon juice and zest, and season. Stir through, just to heat up the crab.

Cook the linguine in boiling, salted water for five minutes, then add the fennel slices and cook together until al dente. Drain the pasta, keeping a little of the water, and add to the crab mixture. Stir thoroughly to combine, adding a little of the reserved water to loosen the sauce if necessary. Serve with olive oil.

If cooking crab yourself, buy them live and choose one or two large crabs - it will be much easier to pick the meat out from them than from many small ones. Cock crabs (males) have larger claws and a higher proportion of white meat. Spider crabs are very sweet and good for this recipe, though it takes longer to pick out the meat than from the common crab, as the meat-to-shell ratio is lower.

Chopped Salad with Olives, Tomatoes, Basil, Red Onion and Goat's Milk Feta

Erik and I are going to attempt to make (or eat, if we're out) a salad for lunch every day for the next month. This was a very easy and tasty way to start.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Erik's Clafouti

I can't take any credit for this, but it is too pretty not to share!


quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, fleur verte

scrambled eggs, red flannel hash from Rick & Ann's, walnut toast with nectarine jam

Friday, July 9, 2010

Chocolate Nemesis

I see Chocolate Nemesis on a lot of restaurant menus, but usually what you get is not much different than your average flourless chocolate cake. The original Nemesis at the River Cafe is almost mousse-like and not at all cakey, and notoriously difficult to make. But somehow Erik and I (ok, mostly Erik) managed to pull it off! The trick: following the recipe exactly, even when it seemed wrong. Of course in all our excitement we forgot to take pictures of it, so these are by our friends Megan and Jess. Thanks, guys!