Saturday, December 17, 2011

Black Bean Chili with Skillet Cornbread

I made a big pot of chili for a dinner party the other night, using Anaheim and Pasilla peppers, chipotle in adobo, and a healthy dose of Ancho chile powder for an extra kick. I served it with a dollop of sour cream, some crumbled cotijo cheese, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime, and am enjoying the leftovers as I write this post. I also made sweet potatoes baked in foil (with maple butter), and skillet cornbread from this recipe, which is now officially my go-to cornbread recipe.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fettucine with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Anchovy, Garlic, Chili, and Breadcrumbs

This weekend ended up being a lot more taxing than I expected, so I decided to postpone my cleanse for another, sunnier week. In the meantime, I've been enjoying solid, cooked food, and this simple dish really hit the spot tonight when another friend who's been under the weather stopped by.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I have a confession: I am a closet juicer. I purchased my very own juicer recently and am completely in love with it. It's generally not a great idea to drink too much juice, especially fruit juices or starchy vegetable juices (like carrot or beet) because of the high sugar content, but I have been starting every day with a glass of leafy green juice (I like a combination of kale, celery, romaine lettuce, green apple, ginger, and lemon), and it makes me feel great. The wonderful thing about drinking your vegetables is that it gives your digestive system a break- you get to absorb all the nutrients in the food without having to process any of the roughage.

Although I normally only drink one glass of juice a day, I try to do a juice cleanse for a few days every season. In the past I've ordered juices from Blue Print Cleanse (some other great bottled options are Can Can Cleanse, Juice to You, Juicey Lucy's and Living Greens here in SF, Organic Avenue in NY, or Ritual Cleanse in LA), but the shipping time really depletes the enzymes in the juices that are so nutritionally important, and the cost is a bit prohibitive for regular cleansing, which is why I saved up for my own Super Angel 5500 juicer.

It's important to wean yourself off of most foods before you start juicing, to avoid shocking your body, so I like to spend the week before a cleanse doing just that. On Monday I stopped eating meat, Thursday I stopped eating (most*) refined sugars and white flours and had my last bit of dairy, and tomorrow (Saturday) I will start eating only raw vegetables and fruits so that on Monday my body is adjusted and ready to cleanse! In the past I've made some scheduling mistakes and started cleansing without a much prep time, and the resulting detox was pretty gross. I'm starting my three day cleanse on Monday, so in the interest of this blog being a record of what I eat, I thought I'd share some of the raw foods I'm eating this weekend, and the juices I'll be drinking next week.

Some of the easiest and best things to eat in preparation for a cleanse are raw greens, like arugula. I dress mine in a little bit of mustard and lemon juice, and I like to have some avocado with it for substance. Because I haven't gone completely raw yet, and I do love my fiber, tonight I also had half a roasted sweet potato with some salt and pepper.

*I must admit I was not super strict about this one- today I had some bhatura with lunch- but I won't be having any more grains (even whole ones) for the rest of the week.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chocolate Layer Cake

My mom and I were reminiscing about some of the "special treat" foods we would eat when I was a kid and my father would travel. (When my mother travelled, my dad and I would eat all kinds of hot dog concoctions, among other things.) I specifically remembered eating macaroni and cheese, and Entenmann's chocolate cake- which my mother tells me we only had one time, in a pinch- so we decided to recreate the meal when my father left on a month long trip to Patagonia. We used this recipe from Katie Quinn Davies. We opted to make it square so it would be more reminiscent of the supermarket variety.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

This was a collaboration- we used lamb cooked with onions, yellow beets, herbs, and red wine, and we topped it with potatoes mashed with celeriac and a healthy sprinkling of aged cheddar cheese. This picture is terrible, but I can promise that the result was delicious!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chickpeas, Squash and Purple Kale with Yogurt

Inspired by the master, Yotam Ottolenghi- I cooked the squash with caraway and it was delicious!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hummus with Preserved Lemon

Hummus: chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt. I think it's best when you use dried chickpeas, but canned work if you're in a hurry.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sweet Potato and Lentil Tacos with Goat Cheese and Arugula

This was a quick and easy meal that was super satisfying: sweet potatoes, salty lentils, creamy goat cheese, and fresh greens dressed in lemon juice to add some texture and acidity. I used white sweet potatoes, which is why you can't really see them in this picture.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lentils and Squash

Last week it was summer here in the Bay Area- 80 degrees and sunny- and yesterday it turned cold and cloudy, with even a bit of rain. Although the weather report promises highs in the 70s for the forseeable future, my palate is starting to shift towards cozy foods like this wintertime classic. I probably eat some variation of this dish every day during the colder months, maybe with chickpeas or black beans instead of lentils, or sweet potato instead of squash, or the addition of some hearty greens or even a grain like couscous, farro, or rice. Sometimes I'll add cheese in the form of buffala mozzarella, homemade ricotta, or chevre. But the basics are always the same: roast the squash for about a half hour with spices and olive oil (I like a combination of coriander, clove, nutmeg and chilli), cook the lentils at the same time with herbs (thyme, sage, or even just a bay leaf can be great) and garlic, and combine.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chickpeas, Avocado Toast

Pear Clafoutis

When I was in Paris a couple of years ago, I had the most amazing clafoutis in a tiny wine bar near the Louvre. It wasn't on the menu, but the woman behind the bar brought a slice out for another patron and I pointed and somehow managed to order one myself. This recipe was Julia Child's, and it wasn't quite as custardy as the one in my memory, but it was still a delicious way to use up more of my dad's pears and the perfect finish to a French themed picnic dinner this weekend.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spicy Squash, Black Bean, and Herb Salad with Lime

Black Cod Baked with Tahini, Spicy Roasted Squash, Chickpeas and Spinach, Herb, Orange and Olive Salad

A team effort: three dishes from Moro and one from my imagination. It is still hard to get good lighting at night without some sort of fancy rig. I'm working on it...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Salad with Haloumi

This is the first Ottolenghi recipe I haven't loved. I love all the ingredients individually, but there was something about the combination of the Haloumi (admittedly, the recipe calls for Manouri, but suggests Haloumi as a substitute) and the sunchokes that just didn't work for me. I roasted the sunchokes on a tray instead of in a covered dish as the book recommends- I wanted them to get a little caramelized and I thought that with all the liquid in the dish they would just steam. I think I probably should have just put the tomatoes on that same tray, instead of caramelizing them in a frying pan as the recipe specifies, if only to save dishes.

*Addendum! In my hurry to eat, I completely forgot to add the basil oil, which is supposed to be drizzled over the top of the salad. Not sure if that would have changed my opinion or not...

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemon Grass Creme Fraiche

Another from Plenty. The yams are roasted with ground coriander and olive oil, and the sauce is made of lemongrass, ginger, lime juice and zest, and creme fraiche, and garnished with chillies and cilantro.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Green Couscous

Another one from Plenty; I guess if it weren't for the sections on eggplant and mushrooms, I would just give in and say I'm doing one of those "work your way through the cookbook" projects. But it's hard not to keep going back to the book, when every recipe I've tried has been a winner, including this one. It's couscous with lots of herbs (dill, mint, parsely, cilantro, tarragon), caramelized onion, toasted pistachios, chillies, and arugula.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tagine over Saffron Couscous

Wow. This morning, exhausted and feeling lazy, I decided to soak some chickpeas to have for dinner, without any sort of plan for how I wanted to use them. At some point this afternoon, I pulled out my trusty copy of Plenty and took a peek to see if any new chickpea recipes would inspire me, and discovered this one, which called almost exclusively for ingredients I already had at home (the squash, cilantro and tomatoes came from the garden, and the rest was all in the pantry- I keep harissa and preserved lemons in my fridge at all times), except for parsnips and carrots, which I left out. The dish has a few different components- the chickpeas (which I cooked with the tomatoes, bay leaf, coriander seed, and garlic), the couscous (cooked with saffron, and I added some ghee at the end for extra yumminess), and the squash (which I roasted in a dutch oven with shallots, more bay leaf, cardamom pods, star anise, cinnamon, and a myriad of other recommended spices)- but in the end it is pretty simple, and if you have the patience to let some chickpeas soak and wait 45 minutes for them and your squash/root veg to cook, the rest comes together in no time. And boy oh boy is it good! I am already anticipating the leftovers...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Eggs with Arugula, Yogurt, Fried Sage, and Chillies

Guess where this came from? Yep, Plenty. What can I say? Every recipe looks better than the last, and I don't think there's a single one I'm not dying to make.

Roasted Autumn Fruit with Custard

Our friends from Seattle were in town so Erik and I made this to take to a lovely dinner in their honor. We used two kinds of figs and two kinds of pluots, cooked with a little lemon juice, orange zest, sugar, and vanilla bean.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tarte Tatin with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

I wanted to make something using my dad's current crop of extra tart apples, and as it happens, apple pie is a favorite of the dinner guest I was having over this week. Instead of an American apple pie, I decided to try my hand at the classic French version- tarte tatin. I've made banana tarte tatin, and tomato tarte tatin, but never the traditional apple. I followed Jamie Oliver's recipe, which was very simple, but I got impatient waiting for the liquid from the apples to reduce before adding the puff pastry, and it got a little soggy. When I reheated the tarte for this photo, it got a little close to the broiler, so my apologies for the unsightly burnt edge. Either way (soggy or burnt) it still tasted great, and the ice cream (for which I used David Lebovitz's recipe) was fabulous and the perfect tangy accompaniment to this sweet dessert.

Fig and Basil Salad with Goat Cheese

Inspired by yet another recipe in Plenty, with Genovese and Thai Basil, Arugula, and a pomegranate molasses dressing.

Braised Short Ribs and Rapini over Fresh Corn Polenta

I have been eyeing this recipe for fresh corn "polenta" in Plenty for a while now. The corn was so sweet, I would happily eat it for breakfast any day of the week. Last night I served it with braised short ribs and some sauteed rapini to cut the richness of the beef. I cooked the ribs for about four hours with beef stock, red wine, and lots of aromatics. Yum!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Charentais Melon, Buffala Mozzarella, Basil, Sea Salt, Olive Oil

I guess this is just a fancier version of cantaloupe and cottage cheese, but boy is it good...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash with Lime, Chillies, Cilantro, and Yogurt-Tahini Dressing

Another Ottolenghi recipe (the squash is marinated in cardamom and allspice), made with the first of my homegrown butternut squashes! I am so proud of this little squash- he started as a seed that I saved last year, sprouted in my kitchen, planted and nurtured, and tonight he made a delicious dinner!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Shakshouka is a North African dish. I followed Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe in Plenty, which includes a bit of sugar, and I think next time I'd probably just wing it instead. Either way, it was a delicious breakfast!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fresh Butter Beans with Tuna, Onions, Capers and Chillies

This is a preparation I use a lot for quick pasta dinners (sautee onions until translucent with chilli flakes and capers, add tuna packed in oil to warm through, and toss with pasta), but I had these fresh butter beans from the market, and I thought I'd use them instead. Cannellinis and tuna are a classic combo, and I thought this worked out really well.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tomato Party!

Erik came over and we made this dish from Plenty, which is actually called "Tomato Party." It consists of: couscous, fregola, roasted and fresh tomatoes, garlic, tarragon, mint, and oregano. It was good warm but I think it would be even better as a cold salad for a picnic or barbeque. Also, it made me think of this song.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tomatoes and Chevre with Blistered Padron Peppers

It's time for late summer produce, which means the dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes are back! I can guarantee that I will be eating this for lunch almost every day for the next month.

Fresh Black Eyed Peas and Smashed Sweet Potato

All summer long I have been eagerly anticipating the appearance of this little box tucked away at the back of the market, and yesterday it showed up! These fresh black eyed peas are so good, nutty and sweet, and cook up really quickly with some herbs and a tomato from the garden. I like to eat them with smashed, roasted sweet potatoes, finished with really good olive oil and sea salt.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lentils and Celeriac with Toasted Hazelnuts

Another one from Plenty. I had some celery root that I was planning to use in a salad, but when I saw this recipe I knew I would make it instead. This is my idea of the perfect easy dinner for one, and boy was it good! The hazelnuts and mint together with the tang of the vinegar reminded me a lot of a lamb and rice dish my mom would make when I was little, almonds, mint and lemon. You can buy the ingredients for this any time of year but I feel like this would be especially delicious on a cold winter or autumn day.

Start by putting hazelnuts on a baking sheet in the oven at about 300 degrees for 15 minutes. While they are toasting, put lentils in a pot of water seasoned with a bay leaf and thyme, and start to boil. Start a second pot of salted water boiling for the celeriac. Cut the celeriac into large chunks (or "chips" as Yotam puts it), and add them to the water. Let both pots simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the celeriac is tender and the lentils are al dente. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and coarsely chop the mint and set aside. When the lentils are done, drain them and toss immediately with salt and pepper, a little red wine vinegar, olive oil, and hazelnut oil (about 1.5 parts olive to one part hazelnut). Add the celeriac, mint, and hazelnuts. All told, this shouldn't take more than a half hour and it is well worth every minute. As far as quantities go, I like to make about 1/4 cup of dry lentils per person, and you can portion out the other ingredients accordingly... I think I used about 1/4 cup of whole hazelnuts, a small handful of mint leaves, and one medium celery root (about the size of a baseball), and that was good for two servings. I eyeballed the oil and vinegar but I'd bet I used about a half a tablespoon of each oil and half a tablespoon of vinegar as well.

Green Bean and Pea Salad

This was adapted from Ottolenghi's Plenty. I bought the most beautiful, dark purple beans to use, thinking they'd look stunning next to the traditional green ones, but in the cooking process they lost all their color and this is what I ended up with. They are dressed in toasted mustard seed and coriander, red onion, tarragon, and lemon. I also added some baby beet greens to bring in some color.

Finocchiona, Ricotta, Caramelized Fennel and Olives

It's National Sandwich Month, so I thought I'd use a few of the things in my fridge to make one for lunch today. Finocchiona is one of my favorite salumi, made with fennel seed, so I caramelized some fennel to go with it, added some chopped olives and a little ricotta to temper the saltiness of the meat.