Easter came a week early this year thanks to a cute gift from a good friend, a miniature German Easter tree with painted Easter eggs and the first blossom of the year. Thanks, S., I am touched.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
I am not in good shape today; staying up until 1:30am to pin your own blog photos on pinterest is not such a great idea. I feature a rather cranky outlook on life running on lack of sleep like today. The sun is back, the snow gone and green pieces of lawn start to peek here and there. The chives are the perkiest herbs of the season. I better get some work done because it will make me forget my cranky mood and likely feel accomplished by evening.
Lunch salad: frisee salad, pea shots, roasted cherry tomatoes, tasty quinoa, grilled zucchini and summer squash, portabella mushroom and grilled red onion with the makes-everything-better BBQ sauce and goat cheese. + a side of “The State Within: Episode 1” on my IPad.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Yesterday, I went back, all the way back… on my blog, and created a board on pinterest with the photos of the recipes, not all of them but my favorite ones. I posted the link on the menu above under “Favorite recipes” for a more picturesque search.
We woke up to snow this morning, but it is halfway gone already and hopefully it was the last portion of this season. The forecast is good, sunny, warmer, but not really warm. Maybe, biking to work weather. Last night I saw a salad that consisted mostly of green salad – arugula, romaine, waterkress with a lemony vinaigrette, some sliced Kalamata olives and a bit of feta. It looked delicious and scrumptious. Fate had it (or the remaining salad ingredients in my fridge) that I reproduced a similar salad today: mixed greens, Belgian Endive, peas shots from Trader Joes, with balsamic vinaigrette, topped with cooked French lentils, slices of a half apple, a few cherry tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. Plus a drizzle of lemon.
It is almost the weekend, almost April, almost spring. Good things to come.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
After a few days in the 80s last week, guess what’s going today? You are right, it is snowing again! We expect 5 inches of snow tonight. I was sure it wasn’t over yet…. Global climate change? More like global climate chaos. And what do I do? I bake again. Both last cakes, the stout chocolate cake and the Gugelhupf, I took to work, and they were gone in 60 seconds. This time I am only making a small one, a gluten-free one, for a friend of mine who was recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance. It is one of my favorite cakes, gluten free or not --- with quinoa flour, hazelnut flour and orange zest it just has a luxurious flavor and texture.
Hazelnut orange quinoa pound cake
- 6 TB of butter, at room temperature
- 2 large organic free-range eggs
- 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- zest of one organic orange
- juice of 1/2 orange
- 1/3 cup hazelnut flour
- 1/3 cup quinoa flour
- 1/3 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Fleur de sel
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Confectioner’s sugar
Preheat the oven at 350 F. Spray a small round bundt cake pan with baking spray. In a bowl, mix the different flours, the baking powder, and the Fleur de sel. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the room temperature butter with the sugar until creamy and fluffy (placing a stick of butter in the microwave for 15 seconds brings it to the right consistency if you take it right out of the fridge). Add one egg at a time, waiting until the first one is well incorporated before adding the second. Add in the yogurt, vanilla orange zest and orange juice. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well. The dough will be a bit sticky.
Fill the bundt cake pan with the dough (it will be about 3/4 full) and bake the bundt cake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the blade of a sharp knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out dry. Let cool for 5 minutes before unmolding, leaving the cake to cool on a rack. To serve, dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Quinoa is a wonderful grain – it is gluten-free and it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it a complete protein source. Now, how to make it taste great? You can just steam it with water, and add flavor later on by making a quinoa salad, but I believe in adding flavor during cooking. This recipes still makes a fairly neutral cooked quinoa but also very flavorful that it could be a side dish on its own.
How to cook quinoa: (makes 2 small or 1 larger portion)
- 1/2 cup of quinoa, washed and rinsed
- 1 ts ghee or butter
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup of white wine
- 1/2 cup water
- pinch of salt, optionally
In a small pot, melt the ghee or butter, and once melted and hot add the garlic and mix well, until it browns slightly. Add the quinoa, stir and ‘toast’ it for about 30 seconds. Add the white wine, stir and let it steam off (another 30 seconds). Add the water, stir, turn down the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and steam the quinoa until it is cooked and slightly fluffy (ca. 30min). Serve hot or let it cool. It stores well in the fridge for several days.
I typically cook a larger portion for the week, and then make different small sized ‘quinoa salads’ with some quinoa. For lunch today, I mixed the pre-cooked quinoa with pine nuts, pea shots, and cranberries --- a great addition to my salad with balsamic vinaigrette, roasted mushroom and tomato.
When in Trader Joes last, I was tasting their new microwaveable cauliflower curry. Tasty! At home I decided to make a new version of my own cauliflower curry, this time inspired by another Indian dishes, with some leftover St. Paddy cabbage. It is light, flavorful, quick to make and very tasty.
Cauliflower cabbage curry (make 2 servings)
- 1 ts ghee (or 1 ts butter + 1 ts canola oil)
- 1 ts black mustard seeds
- 1 ts coriander seeds
- 1/2 stick of cinnamon
- 1 black cardamon pod
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 4 fresh curry leaves (available in Indian stores)
- 1 cup of white shredded cabbage
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 cups of frozen cauliflower and broccoli (they are often sold together as frozen vegetable)
- 1/2 – 1 cup light coconut milk
- 1 TB spicy Thai paste + 2 TB hot water
- salt to taste
In a large shallow saute pan with a lid, heat the ghee or butter/oil until it is melted and hot (don’t burn the butter!). Add the black mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick and cardamon pod as well as the curry leaves, and saute in the hot clarified butter. The mustard seeds will pop like popcorn once hot, and it will seem very aromatic. Now, add the garlic and saute lightly for a minute (don’t burn it!) Add the shredded cabbage and the carrot, and mix with the spices. Turn down the heat to medium, over with a lid and let steam for about 3 min. Now, add the coconut milk and the frozen cauliflower as well as the thai paste dissolved in the hot water. Cover with lid and let saute for about 10 min (or longer if you prefer softer vegetable, I like mine still slightly crunchy). Serve!
Optionally, add a hot chili pepper to the spice in the beginning for some added heat.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
|4||extra large eggs|
|1 1/2 cups (325 g)||sugar|
|1 ts.||pure vanilla extract|
|16 TBS (2 sticks)||room temperature butter|
|3/4 cup + 1 TB||milk (or butter milk)|
|3 cups (440 g)||all-purpose flour|
|1 ½ ts.|
|1 TB||spiced rum|
instant espresso powder
Over the last few days, I got scooped up in the heavenly weather. 80s! Sunshine! In March, in Maine! Naturally, something still felt slightly off, because although everyone walked about in shorts and virgineous white or spray-tanned legs there was not a speck of color in the environment: not a sight of green or pastel colors, since the lawns are still brown-yellow, the trees dark grey and leaf-less and there are no blossoms. The bikinis and lawn chairs were bright, though. The mood, too. We still have sunshine, but more seasonable temps in the upper 40s. It was great while it lasted. My spring feeling carried me all the way to Portland, and there was plenty of color everywhere --- especially the fashion.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
According to the calendar, spring is here. The weather, however, has decided to make it summer right away, at least, for 2 days. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the forecast: 80sF, in March, in Maine?! These are record breaking temperatures, 71F was the highest temperature ever measured around here, in 1977. Hey, for once I am not complaining ;-) The deck is prepped with the first umbrella and 2 chairs, and I am ready for a tan.
Lunch has its own summer elements: the vegetables are grilled and top with feta and balsamic vinaigrette.
I am still not sure if there is not another snow storm on the way. You just never know with this weather.
Monday, March 19, 2012
I made the original recipe, and since I own only smaller bundt cake pans, I made 2 smaller ones sand 1 tiny one (guess, who ate half of that cake already?). You cannot really taste the beer in the cake, and I think the cake might be best after a few days. But even out of the oven, it is delicious and light.
Chocolate Bundt Cake:
2 cups / 475 ml chocolate porter or stout beer
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup / 75g natural cocoa powder (non-dutched)
1 cup / 5 oz / 140 g whole wheat flour
1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g all-purpose flour
1 cup / 4.25 oz / 120 g muscovado or dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 large eggs
1 cup maple whole yogurt
3/4 cup / 180 ml pure maple syrup 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
Chocolate Buttermilk Icing:Preheat oven to 350F / 180C, with a rack in the center.
3/4 cup / 2.75 oz / 75 g powdered sugar
1/4 cup / 25g natural cocoa powder (non-dutched)
2 tablespoons buttermilk
- Spray a 11 or 12-cup capacity bundt pan with baking spray. Avoid filling the pan(s) more than 2/3 - 3/4 full. Adjust the baking time as well - baking until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, and the center tests clean when you insert a knife.
- In a saucepan simmer the beer down to 1 cup / 240 ml. Remove from heat, add the butter and stir until melted. Stir in the cocoa powder, mixing until smooth, then set aside to cool, stirring occasionally to let off heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, and maple syrup. Whisk well, until nicely blended and uniform in appearance. Gradually add the (cooled) stout mixture, stirring all the while. Stir until well blended. Add the flour mixture, folding until just blended, using as few strokes as possible.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 35 - 45 minutes if using the bundt pan, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. You really don't want to over bake this cake - err on the slightly moist side if anything. Remove from the oven, and turn out onto a cooling rack after seven minutes.
- In the meantime, make the icing by whisking together the powdered sugar, cocoa, and buttermilk. Really go at it for at least a minute. The icing should end up smooth and creamy looking, adjust with a touch of powdered sugar or a few extra drops of buttermilk if you want to tweak the consistency at all. When the cake is completely cool, run the icing around the top with an offset spatula and let it set.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
It was quiet, low tide on the tourists, high tide on the locals, and many, many lobster cages, but not many lobsters.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
The mailman delivered “Hugo” in a Netflix envelope this morning, so the Friday night movie is ready, and lunch today was pizza --- a quick, pan-fried pizza. I found the recipe on the GF Bisquick mix, and scaled it down to a single serve pizza, first fried the crust on the stovetop, then covered it with tomato sauce, tomatoes, olives, mushroom and feta cheese and placed under the broiler. It would probably have been better to bake instead, the ‘crust’ was a bit floppy, but it just took about 10 min to make from start to finish.
Pan-fried single serve pizza:
- 1/3 cup GF Bisquick mix
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 TB egg beaters (optional)
- 1 ts herbs des provence
- pinch of salt
- 3 TB tomato sauce (I used the delicious new Prego light-smart sauce)
- 1/2 tomato, thinly sliced
- 2 mushroom, thinly sliced
- 4 kalamata olives, thinly sliced
- 1 ts herbs de provence
- 2 TB herbed feta crumbles (or mozzarella or cheddar)
Preheat the broiler. Slice the vegetables, and once the crust is cooked and browned from both sides, cover with tomato sauce on one side, and layer the vegetables and cheese. Put under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the mushroom are browned. (alternatively bake at 400F for 10-15min)
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Don’t you love messy weather sometimes? After we had a spring appearance on Monday, today the weather could not decide whether to rain or snow and did both. Neighborhood cat was shivering and needed an extra lunch. I was not interested in leaving the house or exploring anything, so it was time to get stuff done around the to-do-at-home list. I finally hemmed my new citizen of humanity kelly jeans and an older pair of Levis skinny jeans; I made a kale chips tart. I watched the netflix DVD “Ides of Marches”, which had been laying around for weeks, because I was mono-mindedly focused on Lost. And then I watched the last episode of Lost again. It still did not make much more sense.
Don’t you just love it when you have to type “making sense of LOST” (aka read the cliff notes) into Google, if you want to understand a movie…. or in this case a 120 episodes/ 6 year TV series? A simple “Lost, tv series” on wikipedia does not even help. They were all happy in the end, found each other, independent of time and space, but Jack died. Why? But then I do like a good detective story, and Lost was full of suspense. Reading the cliff notes it even seems to make sense. Now, I am watching the episodes in backward order. I still can’t let go. Now, that’s going to be confusing…. Or, maybe the right clue?
It is also time to get some actual work done. Chanelle is providing moral support as usual, taking a cat nap under my legs.
Gluten-free kale tart
- 3/4 cup gluten-free all purpose baking mix (it would also have worked with chickpea flour)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 TB Mrs Dash seasoning
- bit of salt and fresh crushed black pepper
- 2 cups chopped curly kale
- 1 ts olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced or microplaned
- 1/8 cup of white wine
- salt, pepper
- freshly grated nutmeg
- 10 kalamata olive, sliced
- 3 TB daiya mozzarella shreds
Once the tart crust is prebaked, remove from the oven. Add some BBQ sauce and distribute over the crust with a brush. Fill with the sauted kale, sprinkle the daiya cheese and bake for another 25min. Eat warm or cold.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Today, I went into weekly salad preps: overnight I soak a bunch of chickpeas and black navy beans, and cooked them (separately) this morning, drained and now cool them in the fridge (likely will freeze many small ziplock bags of black beans). For lunch, I decided to get out the food processor with the grater inset. I peeled one carrot (the last one left), a small red and a large golden beet and grated them in lightening speed.
It looked rather picturesque, bright rainbow colors and all.
Lunch salad was quick: lettuce with home-grained balsamic vinaigrette, rainbow salad, chickpeas mixed with toasted sesame oil, salt and pepper, and a few black beans with pistachios.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Spring made an appearance, it is sunny, warm enough to not have your face freeze to an icicle on the bike, the streets and most everything else is snow and ice-free, and I’ve been on the bike twice already. All we can wait for now…. is for everything to turn green again. ---
I have a new favorite lunch: sauteed lacinato kale, with a dash of white wine, orange juice, salt and pepper, and a side of pre-cooked chickpeas reheated in tomato sauce with a tiny, dried hot pepper, salt and pepper and a dash of maple syrup. Delicious!
Saturday, March 10, 2012
The fish is delicate so I decided to make it en papilotte. En papilotte means steamed in a parchment paper wrapper, but I had my quick version in mind, using a silicone steamer. I sliced a third of an small onion, julienned a third of a carrot, added a 1/4 cup of frozen broccoli, and about a 1/4 cup of white wine in the bottom of the steamer. On top, I placed the hake, and seasoned it with salt and pepper. Additionally I added the juice of a 1/2 orange over the fish, and covered it with the steamer top. It was microwaved for 6 min, and ready to serve.
Fresh food fast, as Emeril would say.
Friday, March 9, 2012
I have been taking calcium and vitamin D supplements for a few years, but I never quite checked how many milligrams do I actually take? When I checked to type in the number I realize the supplement that I take (a calcium magnesium citrate) actually only has 200mg per tablet so I would have to take 5 over the course of the day. Say, what? (I only take one in the morning. But it is also a fact that you can only take so much at a time because the body cannot process higher amounts and will just discard it, so taking them in regular in intervals is key). I started to investigate calcium rich foods, and it looks like dairy products are on the top of the list. But with mostly vegan eating, I have to resort to the greens and almonds and beans, which only have about a fourth of the calcium amounts (e.g. 1 serving of kale has about 80mg of calcium, but daily recommendations are 1,000 mg). That is a lot of kale to eat.
I immediately ate a Greek yogurt.
But Greek yogurt, although it has much higher amounts of protein and lower sugar than regular yogurt, it has less calcium than regular yogurt (200mg instead of 300mg per 6oz). This morning I researched some more (Harvard public health, the only ones who do not make dairy as required food group), and it looks like non-dairy milk can be fortified with calcium (as can orange juice etc) and that might be sufficient. I checked my Silk almond milk in my fridge, and ta-ta, it is actually fortified. The stats are very good: 35 kcal per cup, and that one cup deliver 45% of the daily required value for calcium. No dairy necessary.
So, I mixed a cup of almond milk, 1/2 banana and 1 TB of chia seeds. Goodness in a glass. Calcium I mean. And potassium.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
makes 4 small ramekins:
- 1/2 lb. ground turkey
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced baby portabella mushrooms
- 1/3 packet vegetable soup mix
- 3 TB Trader Joes red pepper eggplant spread
- 2 TB harissa (optional)
- 1/4 cup frozen sweet corn
- 4 TB panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup eggwhites (or 2 eggwhites)
- 4 ramekins
- 2 Roma tomatoes, slices
- glaze 1: ketchup or
- glaze 2: BBQ sauce mixed 1/2 ts brown sugar and garlic
Mix all ingredients (beside the tomatoes) in a bowl. Place the slices of a 1/2 Roma tomato in each of the 4 ramekins, and portion the meatloaf mix among the 4 ramekins. Optionally cover with a glaze of your choice (BBQ or ketchup). Bake for 45min at 400F.
The days get warmer and longer, and the indoor plants, at least, get ready for the new spring, green, happy growth everywhere. Mid-February I planted lacinato seeds, kuri squash seeds (scrapped from one of the kuri squash from last fall), and hot pepper seeds (which still defy spring) in icecube trays and miracle grow soil, and I keep them sunny, warm and moist. Most of the seeds have been repotted into larger containers and would be ready for the outdoors, if the outdoors would not be Maine. It will a few more months for that.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
I am still skating along on the last bits of snow on the cross country trails, which are quite icy by now and won’t last too much longer since the temperatures are about to rise. Nevertheless, the joys of skiing in March are in skiing at 5pm, working up an appetite and heading right into happy hour.
Monday, March 5, 2012
The weather is still trying to hold on to winter despite longer days and warmer temperatures. Another round of morning snow today, and it might just be enough for another end of season ski. My salad looks more like spring, Florida strawberries, baked fennel, baked beets and pine nuts with balsamic vinaigrette.