Sunday, October 30, 2011

Baby Bok Choy with Goat Cheese and Pomegranate

Today on the menu: baby bok choy and baby spinach sauted in chicken broth with goat cheese crumbles and pomegranate seeds.


The last days of Golden October

Today, well, today we have a historic snow storm. Besides the opportunity to photograph red leaved trees with snow cover it might not last very long. Yesterday, people seemed in a frenzy to get the garden ready, a month ahead of schedule, leaves raking and bagging, mulching and the like. Yesterday was a wonderful sunny, golden October fall day, and it was farmers market once again. The ‘table’ has rotated to all types of winter squash, root vegetables and radishes. Even colored radishes.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Turkey Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili

It is fall time, the pumpkin and squashes are prominent on many house steps and inexpensive in the grocery store. A bowl of light spicy chili helps keeping warm in the increasingly chillier (no pun intended) days. There are so many varieties on making chilis, but this is a tasty one!
Turkey Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili (makes 4 servings);
  • 8 oz ground lean turkey
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 hot chili pepper, minced
  • 1 ts olive oil
  • 1/2 TB ground cumin
  • 1 TB oregano
  • 1 1/2 TB chili powder
  • 1/4 ts ground cinnamon
  • 1 ts taco seasoning
  • 1 fresh (or dried) bay leaf
  • 1/2 TB brown organic sugar
  • 1/2 can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 2 chipotles in adobe sauce, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) corn
  • 1/2 cup cubed butternut squash (I always have some frozen for the feta spinach muffins)
  • 1/2 regular sized can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 handful fresh baby spinach
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 ts chicken bouillon
heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet and fry the onions and garlic until lightly browned. Add the ground turkey and break up with a spatula to brown all sides lightly. Add all the spices and herbs, hot chili, the tomatoes, chipotle, corn, butternut squash and water and bouillon. Stir, combin and bring to a simmer. Add the cannellini beans, and simmer the chili on low for 30min. Add the spinach, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, and serve with some sour creme or creme fraiche and crusty bread.
turkey chili

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kale with crocodile

Curly kale sauteed in olive oil, anchovy paste, garlic and white wine. With bbq sauce and feta cheese. Crocodile: Patti Sandberg


Fall came and went

The fall and the foilage in Maine were mixed up this year. At first there were seasonal cold days, then a sudden summer warm weekend; a week later the maple trees took on a red look but also the leaves almost gone instantly with a few days. However, there are still many, many trees with yellow and brown leaves. I miss the red phase.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Easy Italian plum tart

Italian plums are less common in US than in Europe. However, they make for a great, simple,  juicy tart in the fall. Using store-bought pie crust, this tart takes about 10 min to make (+ 30 min baking). Delicious!
Plum tart:
  • 9 1/2 inch tart pan (best with removable bottom)
  • store-bought (or home-made) bake-ready pie crust
  • 1 pound Italian plums, washed, stone removed, quartered
  • 3-4 tablespoon of ground hazelnuts or almonds
  • 2 eggs
  • 150ml millk
  • 1/4 cup fine sugar
  • 1/2 ts vanilla extract
Preheat the oven for 375 F degrees. Lay the tart pan with a layer of pie crust and press it into the corners and rim of the tart pan. Cut off excess dough. Sprinkle the base slightly with ground hazelnuts or almond meal. Cover it with quartered plums. Sprinkle a 1 TB of sugar over the plums. Mix the eggs with the milk, the sugar and vanilla. Pour the mix over the plum tart and bake for 30 minutes. Let it set for about 30 min for the custard to set and firm before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Berbere-Spiced Red Lentils with Chickpeas

Berbere is an Ethopian spice with the aromas of spicy chili and warm cinnamon and nutmeg. It is spicy, aromatic and warming, a perfect spice for the fall. This recipes is simple, red lentils, chickpeas and tomato sauce, cooked in the slow cooker.

Berbere-Spiced Red Lentils: (makes 2 servings)
  • 1/4 cup dried red lentils (available at Indian grocery stores or online)
  • 1/4 cup dried chickpeas (or half can, drain and rinsed)
  • 1 small (8oz) can no-salt added can tomato sauce
  • 1 TB berbere
  • 1 ts olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 TB brown sugar
  • 1 ts vegetable bouillon
Soak the chickpeas for 6h or overnight (or used canned ones).
In a saute pan, heat the oil and sweat the chopped onion until it is translucent. Add the minced garlic and fry for about 1 min (make sure to not burn them). Add the dried red lentil, and the rinsed chickpeas, and stir until all the ingredients are mixed. Turn off stove, and pour the mix in a small slowcooker. Add the tomato sauce, the berbere, refill the empty tomato sauce can with water and add, add the bouillon and the brown sugar. Stir, cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours until the chickpeas are cooked. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

A cookbook I am looking forward to….

La Tartine Gourmande’s cookbook… official out in Feb 2012, but some copies are sold starting October 2011 (here). I have admired her food styling for years, and the recipes from her blog that I’ve cooked came out wonderfully.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vegan Chili Verde with Hominy

It is chili weather, chilly + chili. The Food Network knows this and Giada di Laurentiis was also prepared with a special cooking different chilis, which all looked delicious and off the beaten path. I made the vegan chili verde which is light and quite different from meaty, heavy and beany chilis, but it does not lack the punch and stewy consistency. Tomatillos add a tart and lemony dimension and it works well with the potatoes, hominy and pureed poblanos. 

Vegan Chili Verde with Hominy, skinny-jeans-fied (original source): (makes 4 large servings)

  • 1 TB extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 chopped white onion
  • medium sized Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • medium sized yam (red-skinned sweet potato), peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 3 large cloves garlic, flattened, peeled and microplaned
  • 4 large tomatillos (8 to 9 ounces), husked, rinsed, cored and chopped
  • 2 large poblano chiles (8 to 9 ounces), stemmed, seeded; 1 diced, 1 cut into 4 strips
  • 2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One 15-ounce can hominy with juices (preferably golden)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • One 7-ounce can diced mild green chiles
  • Garnishes, such as crumbled feta cheese, greek yogurt, chopped green onions, sliced avocados, lime wedges and chopped serrano chiles

  • Open the can of mild green chiles  and pour then in a processor. Coarsely chop the raw poblano peppers and add them to the food processor, and puree until smooth. This makes for a nice deep green color of the chili. 

    Heat the oil in a heavy, large pot over low to medium heat. Add the chopped onions, diced potatoes, yams, garlic, and tomatillos. Cover and sweat until the onions are tender. Mix in the oregano, flour, and cumin. Add the hominy with the juices and the broth as well as the chile sauce from the food processor. Bring the chili to a low simmer.
    Cover and simmer the chili 20 minutes, but stir regularly because it tends to stick to the  pot bottom because of the tomatillos. After the first 20min, uncover and simmer until the potatoes and yams are tender and the chili is reduced to desired consistency, stirring often again, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

    Serve with your favorite toppings. I added greek yogurt and avocado slices.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Roasted Figs with Red Wine, Honey and Greek Yogurt

    The last few of the Trader Joes’ mission figs were more than ripe and baking them in red wine with spices and serving them with Greek yogurt sweetened with honey and cinnamon was the last fig recipe for the season. A luxurious, simple ending to the fig season!

    Roasted Figs   (makes 2 servings):
    • ca 10 fresh Mission figs, halved
    • 1/4 cup cabernet sauvignon
    • juice of 1/2 lemon
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • 1 TB super-fine sugar
    • 3 whole star anise
    • 1 small cup Greek yogurt (like Fage)
    • 1 TB + 1 ts honey
    • 1/4 ts cinnamon
    Preheat oven to 400F.

    Arrange the figs in an oven-safe baking dish. In a small bowl, mix the cabernet, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and star anise. Pour over the mission figs, and bake for about 20 min.
    Mix a small cup of Greek yogurt with honey and cinnamon. Serve 10 half mission figs, still warm, on a plate for each portion, and top with a 1/2 cup of the sweetened Greek yogurt, and a drizzle of honey. 


    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Vegan Eats

    Despite a surge of summery temperatures it is undeniably fall. The leaves have turned their color, and it is much chillier on a regular day. That also means I like my vegetables warm again. I am going into my second fall/winter of almost vegan eats, and these are some of my recent lunches, inspired by baby bok choy from Trader Joes, fresh baby spinach, frozen peas, frozen artichoke hearts (also in stock at TJs again) and my favorite, petite brussels sprouts (Wholefoods). For added protein, I made a batch of the tofu spinach mix from my vegan lasagna. The perfect addition.

    VE3 VE2 VE1g

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Fig pizza

    Fresh California mission figs have not much of a shelf life to speak of. I was in a hurry to try out what I actually bought them for: fig pizza. The real deal  of this pizza is with pizza dough made from scratch, proscuitto, gorgonzola, walnuts, sliced figs, baked and then topped with arugula salad with a balsamic reduction drizzle. Since I had made an apple tart from scratch I was in no mood for all the fuzz. So, shortcut to the rescue. I used a frozen small Trader Joes pizza, removed much of the toppings, and added gorgonzola and goat cheese crumbles instead and topped it with fresh figs before baking. 15 min later, warm, baked and smelling heavenly I added thinly sliced radicchio, pecans and balsamic vinaigrette. Elegance with a shortcut.

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Radicchio with goat cheese, mission figs and balsamic vinaigrette

    My fig tree did only produce one fig that never matured, but there is always Trader Joes to the rescue. A whole box of California mission figs! This is a simple salad, with chopped local radicchio from the farmers market, some chinese cabbage, goat cheese crumbles and quartered mission figs with a home-made balsamic vinaigrette.


    Another dose of summer

    There was a 5 day stretch of winter foreboding last week: dark skies, cold temperatures and continuous rain. My body responded as necessary: putting me into a state of winter-ready hibernation. But the sun and even summer temperature came back this weekend. 80s? My body was more than ready to jerk me back into high energy and bright mood, and so I headed to the coast.

    Belfast, ME, is a good coastal destination, nice old red brick houses town center with amazing stores, and one of my favorite restaurant in Maine, Chase’s Daily. The restaurant is housed in basically one large tall room, with tables and chairs in the front, a cordoned area which separates the restaurant kitchen area, a large old-fashioned counter with the tastiest looking tarts and croissants and a lavish cheese counter. The back area of the restaurants is an empty, hardwood floor lined art gallery space in the winter, but in the summer and fall it is an indoor farmers market. Since Chase’s Daily grows most of their produce on their own farm, and the surplus is sold in the back part of the restaurant. So, you can get bread, cheese and veggies, and before you get ready to labor in the kitchen yourself, you can relax with a cappucino and a plum tart, or a Tuscan bean soup and some Geary’s ale as in my case.






    chases_8 chases_9


    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    A very sad day.

    I stepped off my treadmill, and read that Steve Jobs had passed away.

    He leaves us with so much, technology, inspiration, quality, beauty, changing how we do things and he was the mind behind it all. Thank you, Steve Jobs.

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” Jobs said. “Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”


    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Foraging and Chanterelles

    This year, September has been a good month to find plenty of chanterelles in the woods. I have been foraging several times and brought home so many wild mushroom I had to freeze a few pounds of chanterelles. The last loot was, however, prepared right away. Chanterelles with 1 Tb of butter, 1 finely chopped shallot, cleaned and sliced chanterelles, salt, pepper, a 1/2 Tb of creme fraiche and chopped fresh parsley. Fall time fare at its best!




    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Apple Olive Oil Cake

    It is apple picking time again! Maybe not today since it rains, so it is more apple cake baking time. This is one of my favorite apple cake recipe from La tartine gourmande. It is not only elegant and tasty, but also glutenfree.

    Apple Olive Oil Cake a la Tartine Gourmande (makes 2 small cakes or 1 large):

    • 1/2 TB butter
    • 5 smaller apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
    • 1/2 cup blond organic cane sugar + 1 TB for the apples
    • 1/2 TB vanilla extract
    • 1 ts finely chopped lemon thyme
    • 4 organic free-range eggs
    • Pinch of sea salt
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 100 g millet flour & 100g brown rice flours*
    • 65 g almond meal*
    • 40 g quinoa flour*
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder

      *Or 200 g (gluten-free) all-purpose flour replacing all the other flours and almond meal combined

    In a sautee pan, heat 1/2 TB butter over medium heat. When warm, add the diced apples with 1 Tb cane sugar, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the apples are softer. Set aside.

    Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray 2 smaller or 1 larger (i.e.10-inch) mold with baking spray (with butter and flour) and set aside.

    In a bowl, combine the flours and baking powder and lemon thyme. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and a pinch of salt and the vanilla extract. Add the olive oil and mix well. Add the wet mixture to the flours. Fold the apples in the cake batter. Transfer the batter to the molds and bake the cake for 40 minutes for a very small mold and 50 min for a small, but higher mold, or until a sharp knife inserted in the middle comes out dry. Let the cakes cool for 5 minutes before unmolding.