Posts Tagged ‘Original Recipes’


Last night, I got all Top Chef on this soup recipe.

I made it a bunch of times last year, and it is so delicious.  However, in a stunning act of stupidity, I somehow managed to break my hand blender and I haven’t replaced it.  So, no soup for me!

Instead, I deconstructed it and baked it.  All the ingredients, just wrapped up in a pie crust (the crouton!).  Delicious.

Butternut Squash and Apple Galette

Approximately 5 cups cubed butternut squash
2 apples, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
2 shallots (I’m sure some onion would work too)
4 ounces shredded smoked cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Olive oil, salt & pepper
1 pie crust (I use Martha Stewart’s pate brisee – you just need half this recipe)

Preheat the oven to 400.  Place the butternut squash in a baking dish and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, until it just starts to soften and brown.  When it’s done, take it out and turn the heat down to 350.

Meanwhile, saute the shallots or onion in a tablespoon or so of olive oil on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until soft.  Add the apples and saute for another 5 minutes or so.  Add a pat of butter and some salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Roll out the pie shell to about a 12 inch circle or so, and sprinkle the center with half of the grated cheese, leaving a 2-3 inch or so border all the way around it.  The nice thing about galettes is that no precision is required…think rustic-chic. 

Spread the apple-shallot mixture on top of the cheese.

Toss the butternut squash with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  Then spread the squash down on the gallete.  Finish with the rest of the cheese.

Wrap up the sides and seal everything in.  Gently beat an egg and brush it over the pastry dough.  Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350.



My experiment paid off.  It really did taste like the soup.  It might be a little neater to eat if the squash was mashed up and spread out, but it was good with the chunks.  I think a bit of sage tossed in during the roasting stage would have also been nice, as would replacing some of the squash with parsnip.  In any event, a delicious dinner and would make a lovely vegetarian main course.


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If this was where you bought tomatoes, wouldn’t you be addicted?

farm stand

I rounded up another bag full of dry farmed Early Girls and made tomato confit again.  This time, I piled them on a pizza spread with marjoram-olive pesto.  So delicious.

Marjoram Olive Pesto
Adapted from Deborah Madison

2 tablespoons aged red wine vinegar
1 garlic love
3 tablespoons pitted olives
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup marjoram leaves
1 tablespoon drained capers
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Add garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a few grinds of pepper, marjoram, capers, pine nuts, parsley, cheese, and olives to a food processor.  Pulse to combine.  Add the vinegar and olive oil and pulse until the pesto is well mixed.  Add more salt if needed.  Toss over pasta or pizza.  The original recipe, found here, recommends serving it over beets.

Pizza Directions
To make the pizza, I rolled out some pizza dough, spread it with a couple tablespoons of the pesto, topped with 1.5 pounds of roasted tomatoes, 3 ounces of chevre, and some salt and pepper.  Into the oven at 425 for 15 minutes and you have a really spectacular pizza.  The pesto is briny from the olives and capers and floral from the marjoram.  With the sweet tomatoes and tangy goat cheese, you will not be able to stop eating it.

Pizza one

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I recently came across sorrel at the farmers market.  I had heard of it before, but had never seen it.  So when I saw a pile of it there, I asked the vendor if I could try a leaf.

It’s weird.  In a good way.  It tastes like a lemon.  Not at all what you’d expect from a little green leaf.

I bought a bunch and made pesto with it.  So delicious.  It’s much tangier than regular basil pesto.  I will definitely buy this stuff again.

Sorrel Pesto

All measures are approximate.  I didn’t really measure anything, just went with what looked good.  Or, if you don’t trust me, just follow your favorite pesto recipe, and substitute sorrel for basil.

1 bunch sorrel, stems removed (approximately 2-3 cups)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste


Put the sorrel, cheese, pine nuts, and salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Slowly add the olive oil and mix until combined.  Add additional salt if necessary.

I served it on tortellini, sprinkled with a handful of extra pine nuts.  It was also great on bread and sandwiches.  It’ll keep in the fridge for at least a week.


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I went to the farmers’ market over the weekend and went on a greens binge.  Among other things, I got my beloved arugula and a bunch of dandelion leaves.   I’ve never cooked dandelion before, but the bunch was only a dollar so I couldn’t resist.  I thought the bittery, peppery flavors of these greens would work well in a risotto dish.

The recipe is my own creation.  I just worked off of the basic risotto technique and incorporated flavors I knew would work well together.  Bacon and bitter greens has always been a heavenly combo for me, particularly when there’s cheese involved, so I’m happy to have created another vessel to enjoy that.

If you can find both dandelion and arugula, I would strongly recommend using both.   I think dandelion on its own might be a little strong, but mixed in with the other ingredients, it gives an unexpected kick to the dish.  Arugula on its own would be delicious too, or mix it with a milder green like spinach if you aren’t a big fan of bitter, pungent greens.

1 cup arborio rice
4-5 cups broth or water  (I use half water and half broth, it helps control the salt)
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 strips of bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 shallot, finely minced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
3 cups (approximately) of coursely chopped arugula (and dandelion if you can find it)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1-2 tablespoons butter


In a sauce pan, bring the water or chicken broth to a simmer.  While that is warming, cook sliced bacon in a large, heavy pan.  Over medium heat, add shallots and garlic and saute lightly until golden.

Add the arborio rice to the bacon mixture and stir for about 2 minutes, until the rice is coated in oil and starts to turn translucent.  Add the wine and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring occassionally.

Using a ladle, slowly add the water or broth to the rice.  Add 1-2 ladles at a time, stirring occassionally.  When the liquid is just about absorbed, repeat until all the liquid is gone or until rice is soft but not too gummy. 

When all the liquid has been added and the rice is cooked, turn the heat down to low and add the greens, one cup or so at a time, followed by a stir.  This will lightly wilt the greens but keep them from turning too mushy.  Once the greens have all been added, stir in a pat of butter and the parmesan cheese.  Stir until the butter has melted and the cheese has been absorbed.

Season with salt and pepper and serve!


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Welcome to the new place!  I decided to switch over because I liked the design options in WordPress better, and the site has more interesting tools to manage and monitor my posts.  I’ve still got a few kinks to work out (like the tag/categories feature), but I think this should be a better home. 

Now, on to the fun stuff.

Months ago, the spice counter at Oxbow Market in Napa had hibiscus powder on display.  The color was gorgeous, so I couldn’t resist buying a bit.  I had no idea what I would do with it, but who doesn’t want bright pink spice in their spice rack?


At some point, the idea came to me that hibiscus powder would make an excellent meringue flavoring, as the egg whites seemed like a great canvas.  Alone, the powder is quite sour and not at all floral, so I knew I needed to add other stuff.  It being Valentine’s Day, pink became my guiding theme, and these meringues were born.

If you ever happen to come across hibiscus powder, I recommend picking it up.  These meringue cookies are delicious.  They are very tart and bright, and nothing like the more delicate meringues you usually see.  To make this recipe, I just looked at a few different meringue recipes in Joy of Cooking and on the internet and adjusted them to fit my needs.  So, this is mostly an original recipe.  I hope you enjoy it!

Hibiscus Meringue Cookies with Pomegranate and Blood Orange


2 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon hibiscus powder
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
zest of one blood orange, finely grated
1 teaspoon juice from the blood orange
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, pulse together the sugar, hibiscus, vanilla seeds, and orange zest until completely mixed together.


In a stand mixer, add the egg whites and cream of tartar and mix on high speed for about 3-4 minutes or until the whites are fluffy.

Slow the mixer down to medium speed, and slowly add half of the sugar mixture, a tablespoon or two at a time, until incorporated.  Add the orange juice.

Slowly and gently mix in the remainder of the sugar and the molasses by hand.

Spoon out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or fill a pastry bag with the mixture and pipe out in desired shape.


 Place tray in oven and turn off heat.  Leave in the oven for at least one hour for a soft, chewy inside, longer if you’d like them crunchy all the way through.


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I think I may actually be getting a handle on this photo thing.

See what I mean? I’m not going to quit my day job, but I think this is an improvement.

So, on to the dish. We’ve gotten basil in every CSA box this summer and have made pesto a few times, but this time I wanted to try something different. Pesto is one of those things that is pretty hard to screw up, so I figured I could just throw some stuff in a food processor and cross my fingers.

Thankfully, my plan worked. So, here’s my new spin on pesto.


* All measurements are approximate
2 cups of basil – I used leaves and stems. Jaime Oliver says stems are fine, and I trust him.
1/4 cup parmegian cheese
1/4 cup shelled pistachios (if they are salted, just be careful when you actually do add salt)
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/3 cup of olive oil (or some of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes)
Salt and pepper to taste

– Toss the basil, parmesian, and half of the pistachios and sun dried tomatoes in to a food processer and pulse until coarsely chopped. (If you want very smooth pesto, add all the pistachios and sun dried tomatoes.)

– Slowly add the olive oil, salt and pepper, and the extra pistachios and sun dried tomatoes. You may need to stop the food processor to scrap down the sides once or twice.

– Puree until you have reached your desired consistency.

To serve, I tossed a few spoonfuls over some pasta, chopped fresh cherry tomatoes, and fresh mozzerella. Yum.

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So, my camera sucks.

Until I learn how to take lovely pictures of food, I will have to resort to posting my mediocre pictures. I apologize in advance, but I am practicing and hopefully things will get better.

Now, on to my couscous.

We’ve gotten tomatoes, zucchini, and basil in every CSA box so far this summer, and here’s a recipe I invented to use some of them up. It actually makes zucchini taste interesting. The measurements aren’t exact, and really, if you don’t have an ingredient, you can probably skip it (except, obviously, the couscous). Just use what you’ve got.


Zucchini – two small, or one large, diced
Tomatoes – any kind…1 big one, two small, a handful of cherry tomotoes, whatever
Couscous – I love the pearl kind (also called Israeli)… I used two cups
Broth and/or water – however much the package calls for, minus a little bit, like 1/4 cup since the vegetables give off a lot
Olive oil – 1 -2 tablespoons
Red pepper flakes – a tiny pinch or so
Pine nuts
Basil, other herbs, or a spoonful of pesto
Garlic – as much or as little as you like
Salt and pepper
Parmigian cheese


– Heat olive oil in a heavy pan. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and the chopped garlic. Saute for a minute or two.

– Add the pine nuts and stir until they are lightly toasted.

– Add the diced zucchini and some salt and pepper. Saute for a few minutes until the zucchini starts to soften. Don’t cook it too long or it will be soggy when the dish is finally done.

– Add the water or broth, and bring to a boil.

– When the water starts boiling, stir in the fresh chopped tomatoes and the herbs, then add the couscous.

– Cover the pot and cook according to the package’s directions.

– When it’s all cooked, stir in some parmigian cheese, and some extra basil, if you’d like.

And there you have it.

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