February 19, 2009

Sweet Spoonbread

I've been neglecting my stack of Gourmet, Bon Appetit & Martha Stewart Living for a few months now. So today when thumbing through BA's January issue I ran across this lovely Spoonbread. Although I changed it up a smidge using whole milk instead of cream and yellow cornmeal instead of white; it turned out just as scrumptious!

A curious texture somewhere between pudding, souffle and bread. This recipe is sweet rather than the traditional savory. I pooled with a teaspoon of my own strawberry preserves for more sweetness.

On the savory side, take out the sugar and leave a touch of honey. Fold in a handful of Manchego before baking and finish with a dollop of cilantro lime spiked creme fraiche. Or how about a drizzle of tomato coulis? Sprinkle in fresh basil and an ounce or two of Ricotta and top with quartered grape tomatoes, serve with a mixed green salad and you have lunch. Playing and creating flavor combinations is limitless; let me know what you come up with!

February 15, 2009

A Cause For Celebration!

Travis and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary this weekend with Anniversary Meatballs & Potato Gnocchi. It's quite rare that I get to spend time with Travis in the kitchen, he usually leaves this bit up to me, outside of the mornings that is, he makes scrumptious egg bits (eggs somewhere between fried & scrambled) for breakfast!

We celebrated in the kitchen with potatoes, food mills, pecorino, olive oil, bittersweet Valrhona chocolate, loads of garlic and basilico! I'm sure most of you can tell I adore cooking, it's my passion as well as my livelihood. I also adore Travis, as most of you know, so mix the two together and it's like the first sip of champagne; tart & honey effervescence, cooling & warming, blissful tiny bubbles dancing so delicately on the tongue.

No measurements here, everything is done by feel and scent, so a handful of basil a pinch or two of nutmeg, a scoop of flour. A fitting menu for the two of us, tiny meatballs with handmade potato gnocchi and Valrhona Chocolate Souffles for dessert.

Buon Appetito!

February 13, 2009

Do You Throw Out Kale Stems?

No need for that! Simply strip the leaves off of the stems and thinly slice. Saute the stem slices first to soften up a bit before you add in the leaves. No Waste! Plus you reap all of the benefits of the extra nutrients, vitamins and protein.

This is a quick dish that conjures up memories of evenings spent in Italy. I prefer Lacinato kale as opposed to Curly Kale for this dish. It's easy enough to find this time of year, also known as Tuscan Kale, Black Kale, Cavalo Nero or Dinosaur Kale.

Ceci & Cavalo Nero
Serves 4

evoo for saute
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 small garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of lacinato kale
1 t red pepper chili flakes
1 14-16oz can of chickpeas, drained
1/4 C hot water
handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/3 C feta, crumbled
sprinkling of sea salt & a few turns of freshly ground black pepper

Kale Prep:
Wash bunch, strip leaves from stems, thinly slice stems and coarsely chop leaves.

Heat a bit of evoo in a medium saute pan over a medium flame. Add the onions, garlic and kale stems and chili pepper flakes. Saute until onions are translucent and the kale stems are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the kale leaves, chickpeas, hot water and salt & pepper. Saute until the kale begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the cherry tomatoes and feta and toss, cook for another minute or two.

Eat as is or serve with poached eggs and toasted wholegrain bread.

Buon Appetito!

February 12, 2009

Thinking Outside of The Heart-Shaped Box

I couldn't resist using my new heart cupcake form. So I made Travis' favorite gluten & dairy-free muffins today, Bittersweet Banana Cupcakes. Sorry I cannot share the recipe yet as it's a recipe for my cookbook, but by all means checkout Dorie Greenspan's Cocoa-Nana Bread, it will do, although gluten & dairy are included!

February 11, 2009

Buckwheat Buttermilk Hearts

An offering of whole grain buckwheat hearts for Saint Valentino's month of romance. A fitting shape for love and health.

Incorporating whole grains into your diet may take a little adjustment for your taste buds, but you'll notice a constant flow of energy throughout the day. Rather than the peaks and valleys of a refined white flour diet.

Butter & Sweeten up with pure maple syrup, honey or jam.

To a romantic & healthful Valentine's Day!

Buckwheat Buttermilk Heart Pancakes
Makes 6 Large Hearts

3/4 C buckwheat flour
1/4 C wholewheat pastry flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
1 Large egg
1 1/4 C buttermilk

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F and place an oven-proof platter on the center rack.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and the egg. Stir this buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until smooth.

Pour the batter into a large measuring cup with a spout or bowl with a spout (this makes it easier for pouring free-form hearts).

Heat a medium saute pan with a drizzle of olive oil over medium-low flame.
Pour the batter into the pan forming a heart shape, of course a traditional circle will do!

Tiny bubbles will begin to form, flip over once the tiny bubbles begin to pop, about 1-2 minutes. Cook the other side for a minute or so and then place on the platter in the oven to keep warm before serving.

Serve with pure maple syrup, butter/yogurt & berries!