Friday, July 23, 2010

raspberry + dark chocolate muffins

I love this recipe because the muffins are only slightly sweet. These taste like muffins should taste, which in my opinion, is not like cupcakes. I use strawberries, raspberries or a mixture. And I use more berries than the recipe calls for. We often sprinkle little bits of dark chocolate and berries on the tops and if we're really getting fancy (pretty much all the time), a little bit of turbinado (raw cane sugar) to make them have a bit of a crunch. Sugar sprinkling is a coveted job around here. Rollin did the honors this morning.

Photobucket raspberry & chocolate

Photobucket strawberry & chocolate

Muffins à la Framboise, Eclats de Fève de Cacao

- 4 Tbsp (75 g) butter
- 2 C (230 g) all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
- 1/2 C (100 g) sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 C (125 ml) plain yogurt
- 1/2 C (125 ml) buttermilk / fermented milk / kefir
- 1 C raspberries (or more!)
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate pieces

Yield : 12 muffins

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and grease (or line with paper cups or leave alone if they are silicon) a set of muffin tins.

Melt the butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan, and set aside to cool. In a small bowl, combine the cacao nibs and brown sugar. Set aside.

In a medium mixing-bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and stir to mix. In another medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients (butter, egg, yogurt and buttermilk). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients, and stir with a spatula until just combined. Do not overmix. The mixture will be lumpy, that's okay. Fold in the berries and dark chocolate bits.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tins and into the oven to bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until risen and golden. Turn out on a rack to cool, and wait for 10-15 minutes before removing from the tins. Serve warm or completely cooled.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Warm Red Cabbage Pasta

I am absolutely in love with this salad from 101cookbooks but after I had it the first time I realized that it could easily become a main course. The second time I made the salad I served it over a large bed of spinach leaves and added Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette to the salad. It was amazing!! I also made a simple pasta (angel hair with garlic olive oil and Parmesan) to go with it. This was so good that I thought why not serve it over the pasta. So, the next time I made it I served the warm red cabbage over angel hair, adding finely chopped kale to the sauteing onions, and garnished the pasta with Brianna's dressing and grated Parmesan cheese. Perfection!

We absolutely love it as a salad served over spinach leaves or as a pasta dish served over angel hair or Fusilli. I like the lightness of the angel hair but I think in the end I prefer a tubular pasta because it grabs the cabbage, nuts and dried fruit better.

The Ever Evolving Warm Red Cabbage Pasta or Salad

1/2 cups of nuts (I use walnuts)
1 teaspoon natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
fine grain sea salt

3/4- 1Lb. Pasta (Fusilli or Angel Hair) or Fresh Spinach Leaves

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
4 medium cloves of garlic, minced

1 pound head of red cabbage, quartered and cut into thin ribbons

1 t. fresh rosemary, minced
2 ounces craisins, raisins, or other plump, chopped dried fruit
1 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled

Grated Parmesan cheese and Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette, to garnish

Roast the nuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown. Sprinkle on the sugar and couple of pinches of salt. Stir until the sugar melts and coats the nuts. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

Cook pasta according to package directions or if making the Spinach salad version, wash and dry spinach leaves.

Heat olive oil in large skillet and saute the onion for a minute or two with a couple of pinches of salt. Stir in the garlic, and the cabbage, and a few more pinches of salt. Stir and cook for just a minute or so, or until the cabbage softens up JUST A TOUCH. Then stir in rosemary, raisins, and the vinegar. Fold in the feta cheese and nuts. Pour cabbage mixture over pasta or spinach leaves and drizzle with Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

old-fashioned strawberry shortcake

For the past 8 years, we've headed to the strawberry patches each spring to pick (and eat) those incredible sun-ripened berries. There is nothing like a fresh, perfectly-ripe strawberry. One of the things I first loved about springtime in Washington was the abundance of berries! We get them all...strawberries in June, followed by raspberries (both golden and red) and blueberries in July, and blackberries in August. The kids also pick wild salmon berries along the trails when we are mountain biking or hiking.
This year, instead of traveling to a strawberry farm, we simply had to cross the yard to our garden to harvest pounds and pounds of luscious, juicy strawberries! I won't lie, it's been heaven!

With an unusually warm winter and cooler than average spring, the rest of the garden and fruit trees are seriously confused and floundering a bit. But the berries exploded. We've canned nearly 30 jars of jam and have almost filled the freezer full of gallon sized bags of frozen strawberries. We can pick and pick and pick and still not finish. We have the ever-bearing strawberries which produce all summer, so this certainly won't be the last strawberry recipe I share, but it might be the best!

I found this recipe in the Edible Seattle Magazine May/June issue. I love that magazine! The instructions are quite detailed, and you could make the biscuits, whip the cream, slice the berries and assemble and it would be fine, but after reading the article which devoted an entire page discussing the way to turn an ordinary shortcake into a memorable one, I decided to follow the recipe exactly and slice, macerate, and smash the berries. The author pointed out that you need lots of juices to make the best shortcake, and after trying it this way, I totally agree. These were heavenly. I made them for breakfast for the kids and their friends who had spent the night. They all licked their bowls clean, surprise surprise.

Jon Rowley's Super Sumptious Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake with Drop Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour (I'm sure you could use whole wheat pastry or spelt)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon bakign powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (one stick) butter, chilled
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons cream

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.
Put all the dry ingredients together in a food processor. Pulse. Chop a stick of butter into small cubes. Add them to the flour and pulse till the mixture resembles rough meal. Add the milk and pulse until the dough starts to pull away from the bowl. DO NOT OVERMIX!

Spoon the dough in six equal portions onto the baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with cream. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

3 pints of ripe strawberries (they need to be juicy!)
1-4 tablespoons of sugar

Hull and slice 1/3 of the strawberries into large, irregular chunks. Cut any small berries in half vertically. Add a tablespoon or two of sugar and let the berries macerate for an hour.

10-15 minutes before you're ready to eat the shortcakes, tear 1/3 of the berries. Hold a small handful of berries in one hand, place your other hand on top and gently apply pressure while twisting over a bowl, this motion pulls the fruit apart into soft pieces without crushing their structure. Add a small amoutn of sugar to taste.

Slice and add the remaining 1/3 of your fresh berries. Combine all berries and add sugar to taste. Reserve some smaller whole berries to garnish.

Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 tablespoons sugar or to taste

Using electric mixture or wire wisk, whip the cream and sugar until it forms soft, but slightly firm peaks.

Slice a biscuit in half. Place bottom half on a plate. Top with a moderate pile of berries, a little extra juice and a big spoonful of whipping cream. Cover with the top half of the biscuit, anothe rlayer of berries and c ream in slightly smaller quantities than the first layer. For the final touch, drizzle a tablespoon of juice over the top and garnish with a small, whole strawberry.

Mmmm, mmmm, good! A big mosquito bite on the cheek and strawberry shortcake in the mouth, that's about as summer as it gets!

red wheat berry cereal

I'm always on the lookout for tasty whole-grain breakfasts. Here is one our family loves!


1 cup red wheat berries
honey, nutmeg, cinnamon
Berries, apples, walnuts, raisins, craisins...whatever topping suits you
Yogurt topping (plain yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla extract)

Soak wheat berries overnight. (My friend eats them in the morning without boiling them. I did not notice much of a difference after having boiled them for about 30 minutes. So, you decide!)

I did not measure for the yogurt, just made it according to taste. When the wheat berries are done squeeze two or so teaspoons of honey, then sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Add your toppings and enjoy.

My favorite version of this was made with apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey and walnuts. The options are endless.

beet soup

There are two vegetables that I really don't care for but have always tried to eat anyway, beets and yams. So I'm always very excited when I find a recipe that looks delicious and involves either one of these nutritionally dense beauties. Ironically, two of my all-time favorite recipes involve yams.


Beet Soup
Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights: Recipes for Every Season, Mood, and Appetite

6 med sized beets, washed but not peeled
5 scallions, white parts only
Olive oil
6 cups of chicken stock (I am loyal to "Organic Better than Buillon" Chicken Base. To me it makes up the best tasting chicken broth I've had.)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 T. creme fraiche, plus extra for serving
salt and pepper
A good handful of chopped fresh dill
Chopped hard-boiled egg, to serve (optional)

Wash and trim the stalky bits from the beets. Sweat scallions in a pan with some olive oil on low heat until they are translucent. Then add the stock to the scallions and leave on low heat to warm.

In another pan, cover the beets with water, bring to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 min. or until the beets are tender. Drain, and when cool enough to handle peel off the skins and cut into rough chunks.

Put beets into blender with scallion stock and puree until smooth. Add the lemon juice and creme fraiche, season and give the mixture a whizz in the blender. You can serve warm or cold. Garnish with creme fraiche, dill and chopped hard-boiled egg... which, by the way, sinks to the bottom but makes the soup really yummy.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

asian noodle salad + fried tofu

My sister, Erin, and I both love to cook, so naturally we also like to talk about food a lot. Seldom do we have a phone conversation where one of us doesn't mention something we've made, something we want to try, and even recent "flops" (kale chips anyone?) Whether it's meal planning, new recipes, food ruts, new healthy treats we've tried, and not so healthy ones, or our not so little dream of opening a healthy "fast food" restaurant, we just love to share our findings with each other.

(Miss you, Erin!)

One of our recent conversations revolved around finding meal-type salad recipes that we can make up ahead of time and keep in the fridge for several days and nibble on. Obviously these aren't of the green tossed salad variety as they wouldn't keep. Since I'm currently working my way back through a lot of Cynthia Lair's recipes, I made the Asian Noodle Salad with Fried Tofu this weekend. Great simple recipe!

Unfortunately, not a bit made it to the refrigerator for the intended purpose of having leftovers. I had a very little bit of it before running Sela off to her tennis match. I returned to the big serving bowl completely empty and sitting in the sink with just a few drops of dressing left :( Turns out both Zig and Rollin liked the salad, a lot. I was both bummed and happy at the same time. This salad had kale, red cabbage, carrots, red & yellow bell pepper, zucchini, cilantro, sesame seeds, radishes, and TOFU! Rollin apparently had a huge bowl and and a second helping. So I couldn't be too dissappointed, but I was hungry.

Just the veggies. pretty huh?

Now back to the tofu. None of us are fans of tofu, especially the kids, but I gave it another try and prepared the marinated pan fried tofu and it was delicious. For real. This is definitely the way I will prepare tofu in the future. Sometimes chicken just sounds so gross and fish doesn't work in the recipe so it's really nice to be able to have a way to use tofu. And the tofu is lightly fried in coconut oil, need I say more?! (Plus, if you have little kitchen helpers around, tofu is really fun to cut up into little squares.)


I made the salad again the following day because we had lots of veggies and because I wanted more than two bites. When I make this salad, I loosely follow the recipe, I don't measure anything, and I add lots more veggies than are listed in the recipe, but I know it's also great just exactly as written. Since I doubled the recipe, kind of, I needed a little extra dressing at the end so instead of making another round of dressing, I just used a little soyaki that we had in the fridge, and that worked just fine. We've been eating if for the past few days, took some on a day trip to San Juan Island, and I'm pleased to report, this salad keeps very well. Add that to the list, Erin!

And here it is, Asian Noodle Salad with Fried Tofu.


bi bop breakfast

Yesterday, Zig got up with Evan and made the both of them breakfast. So what's a sane mother to do when the early bird is occupied? Sleep in, of course. But I can never really go back to sleep in the morning so I walked a couple steps to my computer and visited one of my favorite cooking sites. I can't rave enough about Cynthia Lair, but suffice it to say she's the real deal. I've seen her lecture, been in a class of hers at Bastyr, attended her cooking classes, and own her cookbooks. She's fantastic.

But anyway, after just a few minutes browsing her breakfast recipes, I was totally inspired to try this new breakfast called Be Bop Breakfast. And it did not disappoint. It's a take on a Korean dish that I love as well. In fact I had to run find Zig out in the yard afterwards and tell him about the awesome breakfast I was going to make for him the next day. We eat eggs and kale a lot in the mornings, but this recipe had rice and the condiments really make it sing, especially the Thai Chili sauce. A definite new favorite. In fact, I just made it again!


carrot soup with lemon & ginger

Here is the recipe for a wonderfully healthy spring soup I made at a cooking class this week. I didn't have time to take pictures the night of as I was busy trying to make 6 dishes in 1 1/2 hours, but the kids had some leftovers for lunch the next day. They loved it, especially the color.

Carrot Soup with Lemon and Ginger
Bon Appétit June 1997

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/4 pounds medium carrots, peeled, chopped (about 3 cups)
2 tomatoes, seeded, chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3 cups (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons sour cream
1 small carrot, peeled, grated
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add chopped carrots, tomatoes and lemon peel; sauté 1 minute. Add 3 cups stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree soup in batches in blender. Return soup to pot. Mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Bring soup to simmer, thinning with more stock, if desired. Ladle into bowls. Top each with sour cream and grated carrot.

wild rice sour cherry soup

Here is the recipe for the soup I mentioned in the previous post (thanks Lisa!) The last time I made the soup, I added shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken (just a little bit) and some white wine to add some depth, but it's delicious even without those additions.


Wild Rice-Sour Cherry Soup

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 or 2 carrots, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
1/2 cup dried sour cherries (or cranberries)
1 cup milk or hald and half
*shredded chicken
*1/3 cup dry white wine

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until hte carrot is tender, about 8 minutes. Add hte flour and stir until smooth. Gradually add the stock, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Increase the heat to medium-high and stir until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and dried sour cherries. Reduce the heat;cover and simmer stirring occasionally, until the cherries are softened and plumped, about 15 minutes. Stir in all the remaining ingredients. Stir occasionally until warmed through. Season with satl and pepper to taste.

white bean & kale soup

Tonight I tried a new soup to go along with the cabbage salad that I am now addicted to. This recipe was found on I served it with the salad and naan bread. We gobbled it up. The soup is easy and a definite keeper. If anyone lives close and wants kale and sage, we still have quite a bit in the garden.

White Bean Kale Soup

2 cups kale, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic
3 cups cooked cannelloni beans
2 1/2 cups stock (I used homemade chicken stock)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt
black pepper, freshly ground
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
pecorino cheese, freshly grated

Wash kale, remove stems from leaves. Roll up leaves and cut in thin ribbons. Set aside. In a soup pot, heat olive oil and briefly sauté garlic. Add about half the cooked beans and part of the stock. Purée remainder of beans and stock in blender, along with tomato paste and sage. Stir puréed beans into soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix kale into soup and simmer until kale has wilted (10 to 15 minutes). Add lemon juice and enough water to give soup the desired consistency. Season to taste. Serve topped with grated pecorino cheese.

Preparation: 30 minutes

caribbean ginger salmon + cucumber relish + rice pilaf

We revisited an old favorite this week, a simple meal we all love. Very healthy and fresh. Instead of using quinoa today I made a middle eastern flavored rice pilaf and it was delicious! It looks a bit involved at first glance but it's not. You make a simple marinade for the salmon, another simple one for the cucumbers and the rice is basically just stir frying rice with a couple veggie and spices. The whole combination is fantastic.

Caribbean Ginger Salmon

* 1 tablespoon tamari or shoyu
* 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
* 3 tablespoons lime juice
* 1 teaspoon agave nectar (or sugar)
* 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 pound salmon fillet

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put tamari, 2 tablespoons of oil, gingerroot, lime juice, agave, and garlic in a small mixing bowl; whisk together. Place fish in a shallow pan and pour marinade over the top. Marinate 1/2-1 hour in the refrigerator.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Place fish in pan skin side up, saute one minute, then turn and saute second side one minute. Leave fish in the skillet and place in oven. Bake until fish is almost cooked through (7-10 minutes). Remove skillet from oven and place on stove. Add remaining marinade and deglaze the pan, letting the liquid reduce some before serving.

Cucumber Relish

* 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
* 1 serrano or jalapeno chile, minced
* 1 scallion, minced
* 1/4 white onion, diced
* 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
* 1 tablespoon lime juice
* 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
* 1 teaspoon sea salt
* 2 tablespoons sugar

Place all ingredients in a bowl. Gently stir until salt and sugar have dissolved. Allow mixture to marinate at least 20 minutes. Can be made in advance and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. (I didn't have a jalapeno today so I just put a few drops of the green Tabasco sauce I had.)

Rice Pilaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch ground cinnamon
1/4 cup dried currants
3 cups basmati rice, cooked
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice; more to taste

Saute onion in olive oil and butter. Add spices and saute a bit more. Add cooked rice (I keep my rice on the very moist side for this dish), and currants. Mix. Finish by adding the mint (optional), almonds, and lemon juice.

dark chocolate beet cupcakes

I love beets. And chocolate. And I've always loved the idea of Red Velvet Cupcakes for Valentine's, but I know I couldn't bring myself to dump that much red dye into a cake for my family or anyone else I might be feeding. So when I came across this recipe earlier in the week, I was almost giddy with excitement. And curious. Beet cupcakes. We keep getting beets in our CSA box so I had plenty on hand. And this recipe has a significant amount of beets...2 cups! Whether you love beets or not, there is no denying they are a gorgeous color! The batter was just lovely, a deep dark burgundy red.

The result? Amazing. I promise. So super moist. And beautiful to look at. I think I have a new Valentine's tradition. And no, I'm not kidding myself into thinking these are health food. There is way more sugar than I'm typically comfortable with, but it is Valentine's Day so no guilt here :)

p.s. Geoff Davis, I'm sending you a virtual beet cupcake...enjoy!

Chocolate-Beet Cupcakes
These make for the perfect Valentine treat, something decadent, something surprising and something seasonal (you can find fresh beets at most February farmer's markets).

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup water
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry)
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa (I used dark chocolate)
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 cups beet puree*

*To make beet puree, I peeled and trimmed 5 medium-sized beets and simmered them, covered in water, for just under an hour. Once cooled, I pureed them until very smooth in the food processor (a blender or food mill would probably work as well).

Preheat oven to 325F.
Fill 24 muffin tins with liners.

Combine melted butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla and water until smooth. Sift flour with cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet in small batches. Fold in beets.

Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Bake cupcakes for 20-30 minutes, checking for doneness with a knife. Allow to cool in tins.

For the indulgent, these would be great with frosting (cream cheese? ganache?), but we chose to simply dust them with powdered sugar. We placed paper hearts on each one for a stencil and shook the sugar through a sieve.