Monday, July 21, 2008

Broccoli & Cotswold Quiche

I've had Cotswold on the brain since my birthday, when my friend J. served it as an appetizer at a little birthday soiree. Cotswold is a sharp, pungent cheese, a Double Gloucester with chives. (Shop around for prices on this cheese of the moment: $15.99/ lb at Whole Foods, $22.99/lb at Safeway.)

This quiche was an inspired blend of mouthy, succulent broccoli florettes, the sharp tanginess of Cotswold, the creamy egg custard , and an indulgently crumbing crust. Perfect for lunch or dinner with a little salad, or a bold breakfast treat (but I don't think they'll be any leftovers!)

Broccoli & Cotswold Quiche:
1 cup small broccoli florettes
1 premade frozen pie crust (I used Marie Callender's)
2 oz cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup half & half
2 oz Cotswold grated

Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.

Cook the broccoli florettes in salted water for 5 minutes until just tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Beat the egg, egg yolk, and half & half. Salt and pepper.

Grate the cheddar cheese into the bottom of the premade frozen pie crust. Arrange the broccoli florettes over the cheddar (cut any that are large into halves). Pour in the egg custard. Top with 2 oz grated Cotswold cheese. Press down on florettes and cheese with a spatula to insure all are covered with the custard. Salt and pepper.

Place crust on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until custard is set.

Serve with a simple salad.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pizza with Pate di Fiori di Zucca, Grilled Zucchini & Tomatoes

Il Fornaio pizza dough, topped with Pate di Fiori di Zucca, grated mozzarella, grilled green and yellow zucchini, chopped heirloom tomato, and fresh mozzarella.

This summer pizza was mild and delicious. The Zucchini flower pate was used in place of tomato sauce, and, along with the fresh mozzarella, made this pizza unusually delicate.

I added a few pine nuts post-photo, which added texture beautifully. If only there had been zucchini flowers at the farmer's market today!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Spinach Salad with Stilton, Portobellos, "Bacon", & Apple

Organic baby spinach with Stilton, sauteed portobellos, crumbled Morningstar "Bacon" strips, paper-thin slices of apple, and walnuts in a dijon-white wine vinaigrette. The crisp freshness of the apples with the creamy richness of the Stilton was a wonderful combination. The "bacon" was deliciously salty and the spinach with dijon dressing is a well-known winner!

This was a completely delicious and amazing dinner! The only shortfall was the portobellos, which I sauteed in the tiniest drop of olive oil. They needed something more: garlic, balsamic, smoke? Or perhaps warmth (they had cooled by the time I finished with the photo shoot!)

This salad was definitely restaurant-worthy!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cotswold Double Decker Cheese Dream

Cotswold Cheese is an English Double Gloucester with the addition of onions and chives. A cheddary pub cheese with a bite, this strong tasting cheese is fabulous alone or with bread. Here, a simple cheese dream with a layer of heirloom tomato between two layers of Cotswold, grilled on top of La Brea White Bread.

I know it's a cheese sandwich, but it was heaven.

Try it with a crisp apple slice!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Baked Egg with Tomato-Garlic-Caper Sauce

Ever since I saw the movie Moonstruck, I've been hung up on the idea of eggs with an Italian tomato sauce. You remember the scene near the end where all the players show up and no one wants "to talk about it". Was I the only one wondering what Olympia Dukakis had planned with what looked like tomato paste with eggs?

We Brits cut our tomatoes into wedges and fry them with S&P. Yum! And I have this one down (try adding lemon pepper too!)

Anyway, you may remember my recent rave about an egg dish at Vin Antico in San Rafael. I attempted my own version ce soir. I used an F.G. Ferrari tomato sauce and added two minced garlic cloves, 1 tsp capers, and 2 kalamata olives (chopped). I heated the sauce, then broke an egg in a pretty dish and poured the sauce on top. Broiled for 3 minutes. Topped with some grated mozzarella and broiled 2 more minutes.

The sauce was spectacular, but the egg wasn't right. The egg white was OK (I don't really like egg white) but the yolk was overcooked. I'm not into runny yolks, but also not into rubbery yolks.

Got a favorite egg and tomato sauce recipe? Let's hear it!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Black Bean "Ceviche"

This vegan version of "Ceviche" with black beans as the protein was a totally amazing glass- full recipe!

Seriously, beyond my wildest dreams for this dish - sensational!

Inspired by the July cover of Food & Wine magazine, featuring a Chile-lime crab salad by Chef Sue Semanick, I created a layered dish in a glass and adapted her Chile-lime dressing. The bottom layer was shredded lettuce, then black beans mixed with salsa, fresh finely chopped red onions, fresh cilantro, and dressing, topped with fresh corn, then heirloom tomatoes with sea salt and dressing, and then diced avocado with sea salt and tortilla strips based on a garnish recipe from Real Food Daily.

Incredibly tasty, this makes a perfect vegan "ceviche". Here's the recipe for a single portion:

Black Bean "Ceviche"

Tortilla garnish:
1/2 tortilla, brushed with EVOO
pinch sea salt
shake of cayenne or chili powder

Brush the tortilla with EVOO on both sides.Slice into 1/8" x1/2" strips. Sprinkle with sea salt and cayenne/chili powder and bake at 350 F degrees for 15 minutes, tossing half way through.

Lime-Chili Dressing:
1 TBS lime juice
1/2 TBS finely chopped green chili
1 TBS chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 TBS white wine

Whisk together all ingredients.

Black Beans:
1/3 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 TBS salsa
1/2 TBS finely diced chopped red onion
1/4 TBS chopped cilantro
1/3 Lime Chili dressing
Mix all ingredients together.

In a medium tall glass, add a bottom layer of shredded lettuce. Top with the black beans mixture. Top with an ear of fresh cobbed corn. Top that with 1/4-1/2 heirloom tomato with 1/2 chili-lime dressing and a pinch of sea salt. Top with 1/2 diced avocado topped with 1/3 chili-lime dressing. Top the avocado with the tortilla strips.


Portobello with Paté di Fiori di Zucca

Grilled portobello, marinated in EVOO, garlic, and balsamic, topped with a toasted white bread crostone soaked in the same marinade with red wine added, fresh mozzarella, paté di fiori di zucca, broiled, then topped with a tiny basil leaf.

A hybrid of my last two posts, these were melt in your mouth delicious. I am really loving the Zucchini Flower paté! It's mild and wonderful, and looks better than the photo above suggests (it was getting dark). Soaking the crostone in wine made this rich and indulgent!

Happy 4th!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bruschetta with Heirloom Tomatoes & Pate di Fiori di Zucca

Isn't it always the simple things that taste the best? I really think so.

This bruschetta of La Brea French White Bread, organic heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and Pate di Fiori di Zucca (a puree of zucchini flowers and olive oil) with Fleur de Sel salt, a rub of fresh garlic on the bread, ground black pepper and a few drops of balsamic, and basil from my yard was heaven on earth. I could eat this every summer day!

I purchased the Pate di Fiori di Zucca at our local Farmers Market. It's delicate and wonderful and I long for zucchini blossoms in all their glory. Here's a few ideas if you are lucky enough to come across them:
  • Squash Blossom & Jalapeno Pizza

  • Fried Squash Blossoms with Garlic-Cream Cheese Filling

  • Zucchini & Mushroom Pizza Topped with Squash Blossoms

  • Squash Blossom Pizza

  • Gee, did I mention zucchini flowers are great on pizza?

    Portobello with Tofu, Spinach, and Brazil Nut Topping

    So, I tried out my second idea for the Brazil Nut topping, a grilled portobello stuffed with smoked tofu, spinach, and topped with Brazil Nut "Parmesan". It looks pretty, but it fell short. It lacked a certain creamy indulgence. I'm thinking it would have hit home with the addition of something like the tofu mayo remoulade from the last Millennium Cooking Class. This attempt was too heavy on squeaky spinach