Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Strawberry Balsamic Salad

This salad is the essence of simplicity. Serves 2.

2 oz slivered almonds, toasted
5 oz mixed greens
8 oz strawberries
2 oz fresh goat cheese
5 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Sugar
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
salt& pepper to taste
Slice the Strawberries into a bowl. Add the Balsamic Vinegar and Sugar, allow the vinegar to soak into the Strawberries. set the oven to broil, toast the almonds, careful not to burn them. Add the olive oil to the strawberries, then the greens. Cut the goat cheese in to small pieces and sprinkle around the salad. Sprinkle slivered almonds on the salad. Toss and Voila! Very simple salad full of flavor.

moth designs E. Robbins sent me this fantastic shirt for my husband who is an organic farmer and gardener. She is a seller on who has the shop mothdesings. Her tee-shirts have a wonderful message of promoting cultural competency and understanding. Not only is Mary Robbin's work beautiful and well crafted, but it is also meaningful in the way that it teaches one word of the arabic language at a time so that people who come into contact with her work are connecting with the arab community. My husband can't wait to show off his new shirt at our community garden!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pad See Ew

Serves 2 people.
1 1b Chinese broccoli (or broccolini)
1 1b fresh flat rice noodles (refrigerated)
1 Tbsp sweet soy sauce (dark and thick)
1 large chicken breast sliced thinly
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1-2 Eggs
2 cloves garlic

This is my favorite dish to get at the local vietnamese/ thai restaurant. I absolutely love wide flat rice noodles and I was puzzled for the longest time why I couldn't find them with other dried rice noodles, and then I realized they are fresh and can be found in the refrigerated section of asian markets. I found a 1 lb package of fresh rice noodles for .70 cents today. What an unreal bargain! This dish is very simple and quick to make.
First cut the chinese broccoli into bite size pieces and cut the stems in half. Separate the rice noodles and cut them into 3/4 inch strips. Heat a wok or frying pan if you don't have a wok on high, then put in 2 Tbsp oil, Add garlic and quickly add the meat so the garlic doesn't burn. Stir quickly. When the meat looks cooked on all sides add rice noodles, and soy sauces. Scrape everything to the side and toss in the egg so it makes contact with the pan. Allow it to cook, then toss in the broccoli and allow to cook to your liking. Voila! Feel free to experiment and try different variations of sauces, you could even add a pinch of sugar to sweeten.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Raspberry Trifle

Serves 4
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups Fresh Raspberries
1/3 cup Raspberry Jam
1/3 cup Chambord Raspberry Liqueur
20 ladyfinger cookies
2 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 cup heavy cream
a sprinkling of toasted almonds

My grandmother makes a gorgeous trifle. Hers is the genuine English version with Bird's Custard and Rountree Jelly. I adapted her recipe for the ingredients available in the U.S.
Put a metal bowl and the whisks in the freezer (for the whippe cream) and continue with the rest of the recipe. For the custard: In a saucepan heat the milk and vanilla, bring to a boil. Turn off heat, allow to sit 10 mins. In a bowl whisk eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, salt. Whisk the milk into the egg mixture. Now heat on medium heat, stirring constantly for 10 mins. Chill in refrigerator. Soak ladyfingers in a bowl with the Raspberry Liqueur. Arrange one layer of ladyfingers on the bottom of 4 small dessert glasses. In another bowl mix the fresh raspberries with the raspberry jam. Set aside. Now take the chilled metal bowl and whisks out of the freezer. Beat the heavy cream and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form. I like to start by adding a few ladyfingers in the glass vertically for decoration. They should stick because they are wet with the liqueur. Now add a layer of whipped cream, a layer of raspberries, a layer of custard, a layer of ladyfingers, cream, raspberries, custard. Finish off with a layer of whipped cream. Add fresh raspberries on top to decorate and sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Cook time 40 mins,
makes 6 servings
Preheat oven 425F

1 cup milk
I stick unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 Large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 oz dark chocolate
Vanilla ice cream
pinch of salt
***My uncle Ben made these for the family at Christmas, they are absolutely heavenly. Everyone at the table was tempted to lick the bowl of dark chocolate and savor the last bite.
Heat milk, butter, and salt over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour in one go and beat it by hand with a long handled wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and stir until eggs are thoroughly mixed in and the mixture is thick. This might tire your wrist, Have back up people to help you stir, or you can do this step in the food processor.
***Spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The puffs should 1 inch-1/2 inches. Don't have them too close together because they expand a lot. Keep them about 2-3 inches apart. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit for another 10 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Make a small slit in the side of each puff to allow the steam to escape. Set aside to cool.
***To make the chocolate sauce, place the cream and chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water and stir just until the chocolate melts. Do not get any water in the chocolate. This will absolutely ruin it. Set the chocolate aside. Cut each profiterole in half crosswise, fill with a small scoop of ice cream, replace the top, and drizzle with warm chocolate sauce.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wailing on Harmonicas

I don't know when the tradition began. This Saturday night in Brooklyn, NY my friend handed us all harmonicas at her dinner table. Instead of saying grace we were asked to join in collective music making. I started giggling because this is so much fun. Its simple, and exhilirating. You don't even have to have any musical skills. The next day I was still fiddling with the harmonica at the breakfast table thinking about the wonderful meal the night before, and being with good friends.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Israeli Couscous & Pomegranate Salad

Serves 4
250g Israeli Couscous
1 Pomegranate
1 Organic Orange (zest & juice)
1 oz. Tarragon vinegar
3 oz. Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Handful of Dried Currants
Few sprigs of parsley & mint
2 oz. Feta Cheese

A similar dish to this was on the menu for my summer wedding. The guests loved it. It is colorful, exciting, and flavorful.
Boil Water with Couscous for 8 mins. Drain in cold water. Cut pomegranate in Half and remove seeds, to do this I recommend whacking it with a spoon, or removing them with your hands. Add Pomegranate seeds, Couscous, Currants into a bowl. Chop the herbs and toss those in too. In a small jar make the dressing. Add the zest and juice of the orange, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Put the cheese in the jar too. Put the lid on and shake the dressing up. Poor over salad, toss and serve.

Apricot & Vanilla Jam

3-4 sterilized jars
1.5kg fresh apricots
Juice of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean
800g sugar

Cut the fruit in half and remove the pits. Put the fruit with the sugar into a large pot (a jam making pan if you have one). Cut the vanilla pod lengthwise and cut into a few segments. Combine the fruit, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla,stir and let sit for a few hours. Cook on a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved all the way. Put the heat up to medium high and boil for 20-25 minutes. I always watch jam carefully to make sure it doesn't boil over. If it starts to look like it might, just rapidly turn down the heat and the jam level should go down. You shouldn't stir while the jam is boiling.

Let the pot sit for 20 mins. Pour into warm sterilised jars. Cover and seal while still hot. Once open, store in the fridge. With vacuum sealed jars, my mom has the tip of turning them upside down to create suction.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

If I had to choose

Why, you ask? Well, starting from the top.
*The Cranks bible by Nadine Abensur is the cookbook my family used to inspire their wholefood restaurant called Acorn, in Swindon, England. I loved that restaurant and I have very fond memories of the food. I would recommend Abensur's recipe for butternut squash, green beans, goat cheese, with a maple syrup glaze. Everything in this book is fantastic, although some of the recipes are a little rich for my taste.

*The Moosewood Restaurant by the Moosewood Collective low-fat favorites is a sure bet. I usually refer to this cookbook when I have guests who are vegan, also many of the recipes can be quickly adapted to be vegan if they aren't already. I recommend the tofu vegetable dumplings. The recipe makes 48 dumplings, but trust me they get gobbled up quickly, and are a great snack any time of day. I also love the stuffed baked potato recipe. It's just a simple corn and bean stuffing or spicy broccoli filling, but I enjoy it because it is just plain good.

*If you are looking for a little spice, or a lot of spice, this is the one for you. Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. My husband and I both fell in love with her mango curry recipe. Its amazing. She even explains how to cook the perfect basmati rice every time without burning it. My husband loves to make this dish because it always tastes fantastic and never dissapoints. We have probably made this almost 20 times in the last two years. I also love her sweet potato curry recipe. Its not too spicy, which is perfect for my palate.

*Nigel Slater's Real cooking, is satisfying and simple . My husband has now started to eat meat after 4 years of being a vegetarian. Now I can indulge in some of the foods I love; like really good sausages, roast chicken, and root vegetables. This food is hearty, and straightforward. Nigel Slater has a way of describing the best part of eating-the little crispy bits left over that you just love and have to enjoy.

*The Best Italian Classics by the editors of Cook's Illustrated, helps explain what is the best kind of olive oil, what is the best parmesan, how to make the crispiest and best eggplant parmesan, and also how to make italian cooking more authentic. The authors of this cookbook really test each recipe to produce an excellent result in the kitchen, so if you are having guests over and haven't tried the recipe before, you can be sure that these recipes will deliver.

*The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen is similar to the Mooswood Restaurant cookbook because, she is in fact part of the collective. This cookbook is not low fat, so I use this one when I am making any kind of dessert. I love her recipes for blintzes, she offers quite a few versions of a similar recipe so its easy to give it your own creative spin. The entire cookbook is written out in her handwritting, with handdrawn illustrations and diagrams. I love this. I think she made a fabulous and incredibly artistic cookbook.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Winter orange & onion salad

Serves 4

1 thinly sliced sweet onion
2 oranges-valencia or navel
black olives
2 anchovies
3 capers
1/2 shallot
1 oz sherry vinegar
2 oz olive oil
1 clove garlic

My step father made this delicious fresh salad on new years. It will wake your palate up for a fine meal. Its important to buy sweet onions, which have a milder flavor. In southern France local onions are used (oignon des Cevennes) which are available from the end of September to the end of April. Made the dressing first by mashing all the ingredients together into a smooth paste. Arrange the ingredients artfully on the plate and pour the dressing over each plate. Bon Appetit