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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hoisin Tofu Lettuce Cups

A fun local restaurant had "Larb" on the menu - never heard of it? Me neither! It turned out to be another Asian cuisine's version of tasty protein in a lettuce leaf (Thai version). The vegetarian option offered was made with crumbled tempeh but I got to thinking that tofu would have had been a good option too, better texture and ability to soak up the sauce. So of course it made an appearance at our dinner table soon thereafter.

A quick search through the blogsphere turned up several versions of the theme and there's no particular reason that this recipe caught my eye, maybe for it's simplicity. Adapting it just a little, this is the dish it produced. Such a hit! My beau's daughters are not huge fans of Asian cuisines, but there was lots of enthusiasm all around the table for this one!

If you are a regular reader you will notice the Mei Fun noodles on our pretty silver tray (free curbside score!) which do make a regular appearance at the table, 'cause they are just so fun!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fig Chutney - DIY Pantry

Exploring Indian cuisine is so much fun because there are sooooo many condiments! Not only are there different types of condiments - chutneys, pickles, raitas - but such variety in each of those types of condiments!

When some free figs came into my kitchen (whoo hoo!!) I knew that they were going into a chutney tout suite. David Lebovitz's recipe looked great but it was boosted with a little more ginger and my favorite chile powder, Kashmiri, for its gorgeous taste and color. (Yes, hard to find except in Indian stores. Stock up on it, you'll love it too!)

My family had already fallen in love with Pear Chutney from this recipe which I made a few days later and canned them all at once to save water (we are in a severe drought!) And we are flying through both of them. So there will definitely be more fig chutney making in my future.

And as you can see from the picture, smearing fig (or pear) chutney on soft cheeses like chevre or brie is highly addictive as well. Double that recipe, you won't regret it!

Like so many delicious things, figs are in season for only a short while, so grab them while you can. Ignore the price and remind yourself they are like christmas or your birthday - a once a year event!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Grilled Vegetable Terrine with Chevre

What you can't see under all of those crispy browned breadcrumbs is lusciously grilled vegetables layered with goat cheese and pureed tomatoes....ahh, summer heaven!

For me, firing up the grill should not be just for a single meal. So lots of veggies get grilled and this terrine usually makes an appearance in a day or two. You can easily use mozzarella in place of the chevre, but I find it too heavy; the chevre just melts into the tomato puree and basil and lets the veggies shine through as the highlight.

Summer grilling season doesn't last long, so don't wait to make this. And if you have that summer affliction, I mean abundance, of summer squash, here's the perfect antidote!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Best Veggie Burger EVER!

Mark Bittman is my god.

No qualifiers there. He simply is. And his articles about food, recipes and videos make my day. He makes me smile, laugh, hungry, and happy that he is in the world.

Other New York Times food writers don't do as much for me. Of course the cards are stacked against them, but they seem to really fall really short when compared to my god. But this recipe is the one that proves the exception.

Usually I'm pretty skeptical about Melissa Clark. Not to be a hater, but since making the mistake of listening/watching her in video form, her voice runs through my head when I read her recipes...and it's not a pleasant one. So my emotional reaction has often prevented me from making her recipe suggestions.

But I knew this one was worth overriding my emotional quirks. It was complex and sounded like she'd realllly worked out the kinks to make what she called "The Ultimate Veggie Burger." So I gave in.

Yeah! Cooking Stubbornness Conquered Again!

Make a double batch, totally worth the extra efforts, and they freeze well!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Eggs Orsini aka "GrEggs Orsini"

 The first official sort of holiday I spent with my beau and his family - kids, ex-wife - was father's day. Inquiring what his favorite brunch meal was, his ex told me he loved Eggs Orsini.

Eggs Orsini? I had never heard of it, but thank God for Google, something popped up when I went searching for this elegant sounding dish.

The story goes that Monet was quite the gourmet and had a guest at his house by the name of Count Orsini and he prepared eggs for him in this manner: Whip egg whites, slide the yolks into little holes of the whites and bake into a souffle like dish with gruyere cheese grated on top. Voila! Fancy and simple, all rolled in one.

So I diligently made Eggs Orsini, but they lacked the excitement of "GrEggs Orsini" which include the phyllo cups in which the dainty souffle-bearing yolks are cradled. Now that's fun!

In the original GrEggs Orsini recipe, it calls for placing the phyllo in a "taco shell mold." Not to be daunted since I lacked this culinary tool, I made foil "collars" and all turned out swimmingly!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nora's Avocado Potato Salad

My friend Nora Herold was my spiritual guide for many years and she is also a great cook! Occasionally she will share a recipe with me and it lands here so that I can share it with you. (Check out these raw brownies! AMAZING!!)

She often posts recipes on her facebook feed, which currently is the only place to find them (until she publishes a cookbook as she's always threatening to do!) Inspired by her faerie friends, she usually is creating vegan or raw or some combination of those cuisines. Here's a potato salad that sounds super delicious and fresh!

In case you are not familiar with the creamy properties of avocados (especially those super ripe ones), add this to your repertoire where it subs for mayonnaise. Puree it with mustard, lemon juice, cucumber and season well. Pour it over cooked potatoes, fresh herbs and cherry tomatoes and it's a summer party in your mouth!

I've recorded the recipe as she did on Facebook - it gives you a flavor of her personality which is fun, open and totally accessible!