Thursday, May 31, 2007

Baked Frittata with Corn & Arugula

Guess I'm going through an egg, arugula, green garlic and Goat Gouda phase! Works for me...

This baked frittata really hit the suppertime spot and I topped it with halfed sweet tomatoes and balsamic!

I never liked the stove-to-oven frittata method. It doesn't make sense, but I find it irritating. So I was psyched to discover this baked frittata recipe. In this case, I made an individual frittata using two eggs, along with sauted green garlic, arugula, and fresh, crunchy corn. I loved the corn and arugula combination and the Goat Gouda was the perfect cheesy compliment.

Baked Frittata with Corn & Arugula:

2 eggs beaten
1 tbsp milk, half & half, or cream
1 tsp flour
S & P

1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 stalk of green garlic, finely chopped
1 cup arugula
1 ear of corn, kernels shaved from cob
1-2 oz Goat Gouda, grated

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Beat together the eggs, milk, flour, and salt and pepper until smooth.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet and add the green garlic. Cook for 2 minutes then add the butter. Cook 2 more minutes, add the arugula and cook until wilted. Remove from the heat and stir in the corn kernels.

Add the egg mixture to the vegetables and stir until well combined. Stir in most of the Gouda, saving a little to sprinkle on top.

Pour the mixture into a ramekin (Mine was 4.5"x4.5"), sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese, and place the ramekin on a baking tray.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until set.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Chickpea Crepes with Pesto Fava Beans, Potato, & Feta

Looking for a more exciting wrap or crepe recipe?

Try these tasty Chickpea Crepes from Myra Kornfeld's The Voluptuous Vegan. They have a slightly nutty flavor and add a touch of the exotic, even to a filling made of leftovers, like this one.

You don't need to stretch your imagaination far to find flavors that go with these crepes. Of course, Indian flavors are wonderful, but this simple mixture of green garlic, cooked and peeled fava beans, cut cooked fingerlings, and pesto topped with feta also made a deliciously satisfying meal. A smokey eggplant filling would also be awesome, or ratatouille, lentils and spinach, or even a salad mix with avocado and citrus. Great picnic fare!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Breakfast!

There's nothing like a lazy morning with no plans to treat yourself to a special breakfast! This pretty fruit salad with greek yogurt took a while to prepare, but was definitely worth the effort. I topped it with a few pine nuts after taking the picture - yum!

I included watermelon, grapes, supremed orange, white peaches, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.

Seems like we're always in a rush in the morning, even on the weekends, which explains why this is my first blog post on breakfast. This is the first holiday weekend in a long while that has had that true holiday feel. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pita Pizza with Hummus, Eggplant Pesto, & Zahtar

It's been a wonderfully active day: running, lunching with friends, shooting hoops, hot-tubbing, swimming, and playing guitar. So I wanted something easy and fast to prepare, not too filling, but full of excitement. These little pita pizzas hit the spot!

I toasted olive oil-brushed pita under the grill for 2 minutes, then spread them with hummus, smokey eggplant pesto, sliced organic cherry tomatoes, zahtar and feta. Grilled them for 3 minutes for the perfect light dinner, bursting with flavor, and complimenting a fat glass of Cabernet.

Here's to the good life and a relaxing Memorial Day weekend!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Book Event: Clotilde Dusoulier of Chocolate & Zucchini

If there's one word that describes Clotilde Dusoulier, it's charming.

I was lucky enough to attend her book event at Cody's in Berkeley last night and it was a treat. Clotilde, the author of the popular blog Chocolate & Zucchini, now has a book published called Chocolate & Zucchini: Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen.

The book is filled with new recipes not posted on the blog and is beautifully designed with mouth-watering photographs, all taken by Dusoulier (except the front cover!).

Each recipe has a beautifully written introduction that provides a personal context for the recipe and each recipe clearly has something special to offer. It took me less than a minute of browsing the recipes, photographs, and first lines to know that this was an unusually personal cookbook, one I would greatly enjoy and enjoy learning from.

While not a vegetarian cookbook, there's plenty here to whet your whistle. Let me torment you with a few: Pistachio Pesto, Broccoli & Apple Quiche, Warm Bean Salad with Walnut-Arugula Pesto, Onion & Cumin Quiche, Cacao & Zucchini Absorption Pasta...oh, yes, let's not forget dessert: Chocolate & Zucchini cake, Nectarine, Peach & Ginger Tarte or Lemon Butter Cookies. You can tell from the list above that Dusoulier likes to find inventive pairings of ingredients. She also mentioned last night that the colors of the food are also an inspiration.

Ironically, Dusoulier grew up in France, but didn't start cooking herself until she visited California for two years and set up her first kitchen. Clearly food and cooking is a personal and creative enjoyment, but Clotilde stressed how talking about food with others creates a wonderful basis for genuine sharing of life experiences: asking questions about how and where the food is grown, hearing about a grandmother's favorite recipe, family food traditions and so forth.

A favorite quote from the introductory section My Cooking Philosophy:

"Cooking has an exhilarating way of being both an intimate activity - you follow your own appetite and play your own game, surrounded by your happy chaos - and a universal one, as you submit yourself to forces greater than you, and walk in the footsteps of generations of cooks before you."

A few details from last night's event:

  • Clotilde mentioned that in America, we're lucky to have big grocery stores with lots of products (like Trader Joe's) so we are comfortable taking our time, looking at this and that. In Paris, shops tend to be small and specialized and the shopper is put on the spot to know why they are there!

  • Her favorite ingredient? "Is Chocolate too easy an answer?"

  • Food photography: she became very interested in food photography and has honed her skills by practising and trying lots of different things. Natural light is very important, and she never cheats (that is, "no food is harmed in her food styling", it's all edible.) She often takes 35 shots of a single item.

  • She strongly believes in using seasonal, local ingredients when they are at their best.

  • That the wonderful thing about food and cooking is that, no matter how much you learn, there will always be something new to learn and discover.

  • Locals: Sat., May 26th at 1pm, Clotilde will be at Book Passage at the Ferry Building for her last book-signing event!

    Anyone who enjoys inventive, simple cooking and excellent food writing, will love her book:

    Sunday, May 20, 2007

    Portobellos with Fava Bean Puree

    I received the most wonderful fresh fava beans from a friend's garden yesterday and used them to make this delicious fava bean puree.

    I was really winging it, but the end result was tasty well beyond my expectations. And such a beautiful green color. The puree was made with green garlic, fava beans, olive oil, cilantro, lemon juice and salt and pepper. It would make a great high protein dip or sauce for vegetables, crackers, or baguette. I broiled the puree inside small portobellos brushed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped them with tangy Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese and pine nuts.

    Portobellos with Fava Bean Puree:

    6 small stuffing portobellos
    1 cup podded fava beans
    1 stalk of green garlic, finely chopped
    2-3 Tbsp. cilantro leaves
    1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
    Squirt of lemon juice
    salt & pepper
    Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese
    pine nuts

    Turn on the broiler.

    Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Cook the fava beans for 2 minutes then drain and rinse with cold water. Once they are cool enough to handle, remove the bitter outside skin (it should slip off easily).

    Put the peeled fava beans into a mini prep, along with the finely chopped green garlic and half of the olive oil. Puree. Add the cilantro leaves, lemon juice, and remaining olive oil and puree until smooth. The puree shouldn't be stiff, so add more oil or lemon juice to get a soft puree that holds together.

    Remove the stem and skins from the mushrooms and brush the inside and outside with olive oil. Add a drop of balsamic vinegar to the inside of each mushroom and brush to cover inside evenly. Put the mushrooms on a baking sheet covered with foil and put under the broiler for 2 minutes. Remove.

    Spoon the fava bean puree into the mushrooms and top with crumbled blue cheese and pine nuts. Return to the broiler for 2 minutes.


    Postscript: Blogger has done some recent upgrades that are causing some issues for me. For a few days, I couldn't upload photographs and now, despite my settings to the contrary, my posts are coming without allowing comments. I also can't preview my posts. I have now corrected the comments to being allowed on this post. Apologies for any inconvenience.

    Saturday, May 19, 2007

    Scrambled Eggs with Arugula and Sweet Plum Tomatoes

    These were the best darn scrambled eggs I've ever tasted! The combination of mild green garlic, grassy arugula, sweet tomatoes, creamy Goat Gouda and eggs was just perfect.

    I had these fabulous eggs for dinner and made them with green garlic and arugula fresh from the Farmers Market. The Farmers Market is switching to summer fruits now - apricots, cherrries, strawberries, and raspberries were everywhere.

    The eggs were incredibly simple:

    I sauted 2 Tbsp of finely chopped green garlic in salty butter (Kerrygold Irish is my favorite) over low heat for about 4 minutes. Added the chopped arugula and halfed sweet plum tomatoes and cooked for 1 minute. Added two eggs I had beaten with 1 Tbsp milk, and stirred. Added 2 Tbsp of grated Arina Goat Gouda. Cooked until starting to dry. Topped with salt, pepper, and a little more chopped arugula.

    Wednesday, May 16, 2007

    Poleng Lounge, San Francisco

    There's something about a cocktail that just grabs one's attention, don't you think?

    And this pretty Watermelon Green Beam ( "fresh watermelon mixed with lime, simple syrup, Han Asian Vodka, and green tea") was a refreshing start to a pleasant meal at Poleng Lounge, a small Asian Street Food restaurant that transforms into a small nightclub around 10pm.

    We ate only vegetarian options and I didn't photograph all of them, especially once I got eating. My favorite dish was the Buddha's Treasures ("Pan fried homemade dumplings filled with minced vegetables, dusted with matcha green tea powder and served with a sesame ponzu sauce"):

    We were all enchanted with the roti that came with this Indo-Thai Eggplant Temple ("Malaysian Roti flatbread with thai green and Indian purple eggplants accompanied with a curry dipping sauce."):

    Also, not pictured but enjoyed were the Madras Samosas and the Crispy Tofu Triangles with Xiao Xing Rice Wine Sambal. And the company wasn't bad neither.

    Oh.. and we had to have dessert... Green Tea Gelato, Coconut Gelato, and Mango Sorbet.

    I enjoyed the mixed Asian dishes that combined Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian influences and ingredients. I also really liked the space and decor which was relaxed and naturalistic while maintaining a background of edgy city modernity. It's the kind of place that makes me miss city life and recall fondly how once I could go out without a babysitter. I'd definitely go back (to the restaurant, I mean.)

    Read about chef Tim Luym, his vision and diverse food background in this SF Chronicle Article by Carol Ness Rising Star Chefs 2007: Tim Luym. I appreciate how he's made the restaurant an expression of his own unique background and interests. And, we enjoyed the music too, although I can't find an album of covers called Garage Door Opener. Anyone?

    Monday, May 14, 2007

    Welsh Rarebit

    There's nothing like a foodie colleague that knows the cooking of your heritage to spur you on!

    Today, I was showing a colleague my food blog and she immediately glommed on to the English Food category. "Where's the cheese on toast?", she asked. "You mean, Welsh Rarebit?" I replied. "Gosh, I haven't done that one yet".

    So, now I have. Here'a an adapted verion (adapted to what I had on hand), of that classic, Welsh Rarebit (or cheese on toast), with thanks to Mum for her tips. I planned to use a leek, but found I only had Green Garlic.

    Welsh Rarebit:

    Melt 2 tsp of salty butter in a saucepan. Add 2 tbsp chopped green garlic or leeks and cook until softened. Add a dab more butter and about 1 tbsp of flour and stir vigorously. Add 2-3 tbsp hard cider (I used Hornsby's Amber Draft, don't go for a really sweet one) and stir until thickened. Add 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar and stir until smooth.

    Toast 1-2 slices of your fav. bread buttered under the grill for 1 minute each side (I used slices of Judy's Breadsticks).

    Add the cheese sauce to the top and grill until bubbling and starting to brown. Snip fresh chives over the top of the cheese and serve immediately. A scrumptious appetizer of meal for one!

    Sunday, May 13, 2007

    Insalata's and some Spring & Summer Round-Ups

    I can't believe how time has flown by this week! I've had lots going on, a new part time job, school obligations, and weather that goes from fall to spring to fall to summer!

    But, of course, I have been eating, but quite a bit less than normal, so this is a bit of a round-up post.

    Above, you see a wonderful Middle Eastern Inspired Vegetarian Plate from a fantastic restaurant in San Anslemo (Marin) called Insalata's. Everything we had was gorgeous and the wine recommendations were outstanding. The delicious plate above included lentils with a creamy lemony sauce, spinach, and the most wonderful spicy cumin tomatoes. If you're in the Marin area, be sure to check this place out!

    We've also been gorging on watermelon on those hot days and I've enjoyed eating less dainty versions of this inspired Watermelon, Feta, and Olive Salad:

    I have to admit, I've done a repeat of this delicious topped tortilla on a bed of mache :

    I just made a version with smokey eggplant pesto with the beans: heavenly.

    I've been snacking on very healthy choices: sugar plum tomatoes, snap peas, and lots of fruit and yogurt, so I'm feeling very good about myself. And my digressions (can they be called that?) have been Judy's Vegan Breadsticks with Mount Tam cheese or Humboldt Fog.

    Here's a few favorite "not-to-be missed" postings from the food bloggersphere:

  • The Perfect Omelette from Chez Pim

  • Asparagus Ravioli from 28 Cooks

  • Leek Crostini from Becks & Posh

  • Happy Mothers Day to you! And, as we know, everyday is Mothers Day!

    Tuesday, May 08, 2007

    Reginette with Peas & Pesto

    There's nothing like a brand new pasta shape to brighten one's day.

    This dish uses Reginette, a ruffled-edged flat pasta that is like mini lasagna ribbons. Still too hot to really want to cook anything, I started preparing this dish at 8pm when the sun had already gone down. I cooked the reginette for 8 minutes and tossed the fresh English peas in for the boiling water for the last 3 minutes. Drained. Added a lowfat (ha!) premade pesto sauce, and topped with feta and pine nuts.

    Like that lovely Scrambled Eggs with Peas, Green Garlic, and Chives, there's nothing I like more than a fresh and satisfying simple dish that takes only minutes to prepare.

    Monday, May 07, 2007

    Corn Tortilla with Beans & Avocado on a Bed of Mache

    With our second mind-blowingly hot day here in the Bay Area, cooking up a storm was definitely not on the agenda. This recipe involves handmade corn tortillas, topped with refried beans, goat cheese, halved sugar plum tomatoes, thinly sliced avocado and red onion, and a sliver of supremed orange, on a bed of mache. The result of this simple recipe was both refreshing and complex (don't skip that tiny bit of supremed orange!). I was feeling protein deprived, so the double hit of beans and cheese was definitely welcome.

    Mache (also known as lamb's lettuce) is a fresh and mild green that is well paired with avocado and citrus. High in Beta Carotene, Vitamin A, Iron Folic Acid, and Potassium, it was really spectacular as a base for this tortilla and makes this recipe my contribution to Sweetnick's ARF Tuesday. Use in salads with your favorite fruit, nut, and cheese combination.

    Sunday, May 06, 2007

    My Fridge Unedited

    Sam's showed hers and now cookiecrumb's showed hers, so I guess I'll dare to show my unedited fridge too.

    As you can see, my produce runneth over!

    No champagne here, just a slim bottle of Riesling, along with Fuji water, San Pellegrino, TJ's Sparkling Cranberry juice (we haven't tried this yet), sports drinks, vegetable broth, and the diet caffeine-free cokes are mine.

    The "meat" drawer is full of cheese and that bag of greens on top of the cheese drawer is a bag of Mache, which hides several types of tortillas. That thing between the salad mix and mache is half an avocado in a plastic bag

    The white bowl at the top contains what's left of my supremed grapefruit and the yogurts are for the kids. Black olives on top of the cream cheese and there's three different containers of hummus hiding on this shelf, along with some leftover pasta, blueberries, and many jars and containers of olives..

    The drawers are full of produce: a couple of giant artichokes, fava beans, peas, leeks, green garlic, carrots, asparagus, onions, kale, beets, and peppers.

    It's somewhat organized, although I do occasionally have to "search". So what's in your fridge this morning?

    Saturday, May 05, 2007

    Arugula Salad with Avocado, Grapefruit & Feta

    So back to the sunny salad days with this tasty salad of arugula, avocado, grapefruit, pistachios, and feta.

    A fabulous salad that put my supreming knife skills into play, this salad was dressed in a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. The peppery arugula, creamy avocado, and the sharpness of the red onion, balsamic, and feta, was an inspired combination. The tart clarity of the supremed grapefruit was nicely offset by the richness of the avocado and the aged balsamic. The salty crunch of the pistachios made each mouthful of this simple salad a taste to remember.

    This will be the next salad I serve to guests. Amazing!

    Friday, May 04, 2007

    Arugula Pesto Pizza with Sugar Plum Tomatoes & Goat Gouda

    I so loved the idea of a pizza with the arugula pesto, I had to try it tonight. It was amazing. I prefered it on the pizza: it mellowed the flavor and with some succulent and sweet organic sugar plum tomatoes, it was absolute heaven.

    I used Trader Joe's plain pizza dough (purchased today - it doesn't keep), topped the dough with the arugula pesto and grated Goat Gouda (also TJ's), topped that with sliced organic sugar plum tomatoes (also TJ's) and more grated Goat Gouda, and sprinkled a few pine nuts, and brushed the edges with olive oil. Cooked 12 minutes at 450. I added a little salt after the cooking to make this perfecto!

    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    Farfalle with Arugula Pesto & Feta

    This Spring I discovered arugula and achieved a minor success with a cooked pasta dish (Strozzapreti with Arugula & Arina Goat Cheese) and a very successful salad dish ( Arugula, Pear, & Goat Gouda Salad). Although I planned another arugula salad for today, the weather turned cold and rainy, and something more warming was called for. I remembered Tiffany of Humboldt Vegetarian recommended I try Arugula Pesto, so here's a variation (based on reviewer input and a basil pesto recipe) of this recipe from

    Farfalle with Arugula Pesto & Feta (2 servings):

    8 oz farfalle
    2 large garlic cloves, sliced
    pinch of salt
    1/8 cup pine nuts
    2 cups arugula
    1/8 cup olive oil
    1/8 cup grated Parmesean Reggiano
    Feta and pine nuts to top

    Cook farfalle per directions.

    In a mini prep, add sliced garlic and salt and process until fine. Add the pine nuts and process until fine. Add the arugula and olive oil and process. Add the Parmesean and process.

    Drain pasta, reserving 3 tablespoons of pasta water. Combine the pasta, pesto, and water as needed. Serve topped with crumbled feta and pine nuts.

    I loved this! Garlicky, peppery, and grassy, it was quite a change from basil pasta. Topped with salty feta and a few pine nuts, it was superb over farfalle. I enjoyed this dish with Judy's Vegan Breadsticks with butter and a fat glass of Merlot.

    I saved some of the pesto to try on pizza. Stay tuned!

    Tuesday, May 01, 2007

    Scrambled Eggs with Peas, Green Garlic, & Chives

    Here's a very simple and delicious seasonal recipe. Scrambled eggs with sauted green garlic, fresh English Peas, and chopped chives, topped with a sliver of Humboldt Fog cheese and sprinkled with pine nuts. I can't tell you what a satisfying supper dish this was.

    Inspired by Cookie crumb's pea and egg combo suggestion, but not being a big fan of egg white, I thought about a frittata but was too hungry to wait.

    So, I made this dish for one by melting a tsp of Kerrygold butter in a pan and adding the chopped green garlic for about 4 minutes. I added the podded peas and sauted for an additional 4 minutes then added about 1-2 tbsp water and cooked the peas and garlic until the water evaporated and tenderized the peas. I beat two eggs with a little milk, salt and pepper, and added this to the peas and garlic and stirred until the eggs were formed but still a little moist. Topped with a sliver of Humboldt Fog, snipped chives and a few pine nuts and went to heaven.