Saturday, June 28, 2014

Today's Crop by Gina

Today's crop.  Best part about summer!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Strawberries and Cream at Wimbledon

Strawberries and Cream at Wimbledon

We are back from two weeks of adventure in Paris and London with my brother and his family, capping it off with two days at Wimbledon to see the early rounds of tennis.  He and I used to dream of going to all of the grand slam events when we were teenagers.  Tennis was really big back then.

Yes, they do eat strawberries and cream at Wimbledon.  And the strawberries were fantastic.  Not sure what the cream adds.

They also served something called Eton Mess, a delicious mix of whipping cream, mangled fruit and broken up bits of meringue.  But, more on that, and other food adventures at a later date.

Yesterday, for our first meal after we got back, Tom made one of his best "go-to" recipes, Orechiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage, while I did the laundry and we worked our way through the mail.

It is great to travel but it is also wonderful to be home.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Grilled Portabella Sandwich

Note from B:  Posted this back in June of 2009, the first year of Feast Everyday.  This is an over-the-top grilled sandwich with many layers of flavors.  

I'd never tried grilling portabella mushrooms before. It's much easier than I expected. Tom was away, and it was a hot day, and I didn't want to use the stove in the house.

I thought I'd experiment with the fixings, too. I think I was worried that just a mushroom would be boring, so I may have gone a little overboard: fresh thyme and sherry for the portabella, an onion to caramelize, a mousse terrine to smear on the Ciabatta roll, smoked provolone and roasted red pepper.

Caramelized an onion, low and slow for about 20 minutes, while I made everything else. I added a pinch of salt and sugar at the beginning.

Doused the mushrooms in sherry and sprinkled them with fresh thyme. FYI - I should have oiled them so they didn't stick to the grill. I cooked them on a preheated grill, on medium, covered for 10 minutes without moving them.

Here's how they came out. The sherry was a little too strong. Maybe sherry vinegar mixed with olive oil would be better next time. Still, they were very good.

While the mushrooms and onions were cooking, I smeared a little mousse on one side of the roll, and put shavings of the smoked provolone on the other side. Not too much. Wanted the mushroom to be the star.
The mousse I chose contained pork, chicken livers and truffles, but there are a variety of these in our store, even a vegan version, if you want your sandwich to be vegetarian. And I had never had smoked provolone before, but it was fantastic!

Added a drained, dried a roasted red pepper from a jar. A big portion of caramelized onions and then the mushroom.

To make a dressing for a side salad, I added olive oil and a dab of mustard to some of the sherry and thyme. Salt and pepper, too. Then I mixed it together and coated the lettuce.

My mouth was watering as I assembled it. It turned out to be a little messy to eat, but oh-soo-good!

I chopped up the leftover veggies and made sort of a cold ratatouille for lunch the next day.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Potage Crecy by Colleen

                                                                                                             Photo by Barbara
Note from B:  Reposting this delicious recipe from Colleen from 2009 in case you never tried it.

Hi Barbara,

Years ago, before we had kids, your parents came to visit. I took your mom to a place in Menlo Park called Allied Artists. It is a lovely group of buildings with Spanish-style architecture that houses all sorts of crafts people (painters, potters, needleworkers, weavers, lampworkers, etc.)

There was a restaurant run by the Women's Auxiliary to support Stanford's Children's Hospital. We had lunch and you could buy little recipe cards in the gift shop for your favorites. We had a wonderful carrot soup called Potage Crecy.

As I have been going through the photos, I've found all sorts of pictures of your mom. I even dreamed about her last night. I rooted around and found the recipe card and decided to make the soup in her honor and because it has been very cold and wet (i.e. soup weather.) It was as good as I remembered:

Potage Crecy

2 Tbs. butter
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
3 cups finely chopped carrot
1 quart chicken stock
3 tsp. tomato paste
2 Tbs. raw rice
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs. butter
Chopped parsley

In a heavy sauce pan, melt 2 tbs. butter. Stir in onions and cook until soft, but not brown. Add carrots, stock, tomato paste, and rice. Simmer gently, uncovered, 45 minutes. Put through a blender (or use an immersion blender). Season and stir in cream. Reheat and stir in remaining butter. Garnish with parsely. 6-8 large servings.

  • I got tomato paste with garlic by accident (type was too small to read at store) and that didn't seem to matter.
  • I also used regular, freshly-ground pepper.
  • I didn't finely chop the veggies - it is easier to just cook a little longer until the bigger pieces are soft.
  •  Plus I added a little olive oil to the onions and butter so they wouldn't burn.
  • The rice really thickens the soup, so I only used 1/4 cup cream and 1/4 cup of milk. You could leave both out entirely. I tasted it before I added the milk/cream and it was delicious.
Next time you come, we should go to Allied Artists. I haven't been in years because it was closed for refurbishments to make it earthquake safe. It is a lovely spot with gardens ( Good for photo-taking).

FYI: Crecy is an area of France, I think. Or maybe a town. My guess is a member of the auxiliary found this soup on her travels and brought it back to the restaurant.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Paris Kitchen Cookbook by David Lebovitz

David Lebovitz's Cookbook:  My Paris Kitchen

At the bookstore, I intended to buy a cookbook for our granddaughter's 7th birthday ---but couldn't find anything appropriate, does anyone have one to recommend? ---  but came home with a gift for myself:  "My Paris Kitchen" by David Lebovitz.

I was not aware of his popular blog "Living the Sweet Life in Paris" but now I am.  Check it out:

He is a expat expert in French/California cooking with some international flavors.  And a baker.

What made me not want to leave the bookstore without his cookbook were three things:

1.  His writing style is fun and engaging.  Not too fussy or rigid in his thinking and approach to food.  I love a cookbook when you can hear the author's voice as you follow along.

2.  Buckwheat --- one of my interests since we live near the buckwheat-growing "capital"--- was in many of the recipes ---which surprised me --- and intrigued me.

3.  And there is a whole section on baking madeleines! Given my recent experience with them,  I am hoping he can teach me how to make them properly.

Oh, and did I say, he also loves chocolate!


Monday, June 9, 2014

"Twister" Grilled Sesame Chicken from Chris

At Wegman's last week, I ran in to friend and blog contributor, Chris S., and asked her about her Sesame Chicken recipe which I ran across when I was looking for the Asian BBQ Chicken recipe I recently posted.

Is it a good recipe?  I couldn't remember it.  She said "yes!"

"Plus I remember when I first made it.  It was for a fund-raiser at Corning Museum of Glass in the old auditorium and we played Twister!"  

(She also said to be sure to marinate it for a long time.)

"Twister" Grilled Sesame Chicken from Chris

So, I decided to make it.  We've had it twice last week.  Unfortunately, we burnt it the first time.

It was a little salty for our taste so I left out the salt the second time.  The sesame oil and the sesame seeds are the dominate flavor ---which I really like.

Love how simple this recipe is. The meat was very moist, too.

Marinated Charcoaled Sesame Chicken
(from Chris S., c. 1989)

Serves 6

1 whole chicken cut up or breasts
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. sesame oil
2 T. minced onion
2 T. sesame seeds
1 T. sugar
1 t. ground ginger
3/4 t. salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 t. red pepper

1. Mix all ingredients except chicken.

2. Pour over chicken.  Marinate for 12 hours.
3. Cook on outside grill.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Killer Oatmeal Cookies

 4 " Killer Oatmeal Cookie

Yesterday, our contractor finished up his work on our foundation and new concrete driveway, so I thought I'd make him cookies to celebrate.  He chose Oatmeal Raisin when I ran down my list of offerings.

I said. "Oh good!  I make a killer oatmeal cookie."

I used to make these a lot, especially for my friends at Pip's, and West End Gallery, and when people were ill as a gift. Now was a good time to make them again.

This is a power packed cookie ---oatmeal, dried cherries, dark chocolate, pecans and hazelnuts -- all of which make them "killer good".

I originally posted this recipe in May 2009.  It is a Cook's Illustrated recipe which I have changed to include hazelnuts and dark chocolate chips.  Be sure to toast the nuts.  It makes a difference.

The Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie
(adapted From Cooking Illustrated, 2005)

Makes Sixteen 4-inch cookies

1 1/4 c. flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 c. pecans, toasted and chopped, and cooled

1/2 c. hazelnut, toasted and chopped, and cooled
1 c. dried sour cherries, chopped coarse
3/4 c. dark chocolate chips
12 T.
(1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla extract

Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, baking powder (be sure to use fresh), baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a second bowl, stir together oats, pecans, cherries and chocolate.

In a standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 1 minute.

Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Scrape down bowl; with mixer running at low speed, add flour, mixture;mix until just combined, about 30 seconds.

With mixer still running on low, gradually add oat/nut mixture; mix until just incorporated.

Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.

Divide dough evenly into 16 portions, each about 1/4 cup. 

Stagger 8 balls on each baking sheet.

Using hands, gently press each dough ball to 1 inch thickness. Bake both baking sheets 12 minutes (but I have learned to only go for 6 minutes), rotate them front to back and top to bottom.

then continue to bake until cookies are medium brown and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will seem underdone and will appear raw, wet and shiny in cracks), 8 to 10 minutes longer (but I have learned to go only 6 to 8 minutes longer, or 12 -14 in total). Do not over bake.

Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire rack 5 minutes; using wide spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature. 

Our contractor said, "Hmmmmm!  These are good!"


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Peanut Sauce from Laddie

Since seeing your recent Feast Everyday post, I wanted to share an awesome peanut sauce recipe that comes from my friend, Marsha.

Every time I serve it I get asked for the recipe!

I most often serve it as a veggie dip and it is "particularly perfect/awesome" with blanched asparagus or fresh mushrooms! And carrots and celery and zucchini and.....


1 bunch cilantro - remove stems

1 C unsalted/natural creamy peanut butter

1/2 C + 1 T soy sauce

2 1/2 T sugar

6 cloves garlic

1 T hot chili garlic sauce (comes in small jar with a rooster on it, I think Vietnam...maybe similar to sirracha?)

1 T rice wine vinegar

1 T sesame oil

Put all in food processor in this order and blend until thoroughly blended!


Hope you get to try it!



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Peanut Dipping Sauce

Peanut Dipping Sauce

This delicious dipping sauce can be served with carrots or other fresh veggies.  Or as a dipping sauce for Honey Coriander BBQ Chicken or Panko Chicken Fingers.

Hot Sweet-and-Sour Peanut Sauce
(Gourmet, March 1989)

Makes 2/3 cup

4 T. peanut butter
4 T. soy sauce
2-3 T. fresh lemon juice (1 whole lemon, squeezed)
1 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 t. cayenne or to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients.

It takes a while to get it smooth -- so keep whisking.

Taste and adjust.

I added more lemon juice to make the sauce smoother and brighter.  Tom wanted more cayenne because he likes it hot.

This is the bottled dipping sauce we have been buying.  The homemade version is better -- if you have time and energy to make it.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Coriander Honey BBQ Chicken

Coriander Honey BBQ Chicken

I remembered an Asian chicken BBQ recipe I used to make and dug it out of my recipe files to see if it was a good as I remembered.

The chicken stays very moist, and the coriander adds a mysterious floral flavor, which is hard to detect but makes it a nice change to standard BBQ chicken.

Tom grilled it (hence, the charcoaled crust due to the honey which can burn easily) but it can be done under the broiler, too.  He grilled asparagus alongside.

The peanut dipping sauce makes an excellent accompaniment.

Coriander Honey BBQ Chicken
(adapted from Gourmet March 1989)

Chicken parts -- your choice -- we used chicken legs
6 T. soy sauce
1 T. honey
1 T. ground coriander
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 t. finely grated fresh ginger root
1/4 t. cayenne, or to taste

Into a resealable plastic bag, add the ingredients for the marinade:  soy sauce, honey, coriander, garlic, ginger, and cayenne.

Pat the chicken dry and then add it to the bag.  Reseal the bag, then massage the marinade into the chicken.

Place in the refrigerator.  Marinade for 2 hours, turning it to re-coat the chicken, periodically. If you are short on time, 1 hour will do.

Either grill or broil.

Place skin sides down on a pre-heated grill or pre-heated broiler, to minimize burning from the honey in the marinade.

If you use the broiler, place the rack about 6 inches from the heat, turning it once and basting it with the marinade, for 12 to 15 minutes, until it is golden brown and cooked through.   Breasts will cook faster than drumsticks or thighs.

If you are grilling, cook for 20-25, turning once halfway through. It will harder to control the blackening of the skin due to honey, but it will still taste good.

Serve with Peanut Dipping Sauce.  (which I will post tomorrow.)