Monday, December 19, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
The meal began with a cutting board of bread served with lard and pickles. The traditional Polish platter, with stuffed cabbage, potato pancakes, pierogis, and kielbasa:
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
From the NEW YORK TIMES:
A GOOD APPETITE
A Dinner Party That’s Warm, Welcoming and Meatless
Published: October 14, 2011
WHENEVER I wanted to whip up a meatless meal for company, I’d fall back on the time-honored strategy of pouring in the cheese, eggs, butter and cream to make everything seem festive and satisfying.
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
Instead of adding bacon to a dish, I would blanket it in runny Gruyère. Or put dollops of fresh ricotta on pasta in place of meatballs. Then I met my husband, Daniel, who doesn’t eat dairy products, and my occasional vegetarian meals often became vegan.
Surprisingly, the longer I have done without the cheese and cream, the less I’ve missed them — and the more creative and interesting those meals have become.
That’s especially true in early autumn. This is the traditional harvest season, when a head-spinning number of gorgeous fruits and vegetables ripen all at once. It’s when summer and fall converge; when the first tiny brussels sprouts, orange and blue pumpkins and lusciouspears meet the last of the juicy tomatoes and the season’s final, florid peppers.
Which means, it’s the ideal time to give a dinner party without having to rely on meat or dairy to make the meal feel like a celebration.
Instead, I like to wow my guests by frying feathery maitake mushrooms (also known as hen-of-the-woods) in olive oil until they are crunchy and brittle, and strewing them over a platter of creamy, coriander-spiked hummus.
In lieu of the usual chips or pita, I serve this with homemade sesame-studded flatbreads that bring out the nutty tahini nuance of the hummus. A nearby platter of juicy-crisp vegetables — fennel, radishes, celery — can be dipped or separately nibbled, and provide a snappy counterbalance to all that oily richness.
It goes perfectly with a dish of crisp kale to nosh on, seasoned with lime and chile.
Fall is also a perfect time for hearty, vegetable-based soups, especially tomato. Tomatoes tend to be mushy this time of year, just begging to be puréed into satiny sweetness.
To mimic the creaminess of many tomato soup recipes, I often blend softly stewed tomatoes with a grain, in this case, farro. It adds an earthy flavor, and body, to make a tomato soup with bona fide stick-to-your ribs inclinations.
Although I could easily make a meal of soup, homemade bread and hummus, most dinner parties demand some kind of centerpiece, a focal point to make people gather around and say “ooh.”
A savory, olive oil-crusted tart stuffed full of golden, roasted peppers, jammy onions and some freshly grated pumpkin fits the bill. I like to salt the pumpkin ahead of time to draw out excess moisture, though if you are pressed for time you can skip this step.
To perk up the caramelized intensity of the filling, it is helpful to fold in something zingy like olive or capers, or perhaps a good splash of lemon juice.No meal for company is complete without a special salad. Recently, I have become smitten with the powerfully bitter flavor of dandelion greens. To mellow out their intensity, I’ve been tossing them in a dressing made from sweetly confited garlic and topped with crunchy croutons. The whole concoction is vaguely reminiscent of a sweet-tempered Caesar with a funkier, spunkier foundation.
For dessert, most people are drawn to something luscious and creamy, albeit in this case without the actual cream. Coconut milk is an excellent substitute, especially when simmered into a thick, nearly candied butterscotch sauce to spoon over oven-roasted pears.
Finally, to round it all out, a few squares of bitter chocolate cut the sugar and provide a modest caffeine boost that stimulates conversation and helps your dinner party stretch long into the night. After all, isn’t that why you invited your friends over in the first place?
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
- For pasta leftovers: when pasta's been sitting in the fridge for a few days getting that dry, old pasta consistency, reheat in a pot with a splash of milk, simmer on low, and within ten minutes you have homemade mac 'n cheese. (Note: this works for plain pasta or that was dressed with cheese and oil/butter - if the pasta had tomato sauce then add a splash of water or the liquid from drained diced tomatoes, and simmer.)
- For mushrooms as an entree: to give mushrooms a "meaty" consistency, saute large slices with oil and garlic and earthy thyme or sage, and finish with a splash of Worcestershire sauce and even A1 steak sauce, and drizzle with balsamic.
- For grilled fish: drizzle maple syrup or agave and sear on high heat, and you'll get a delicious caramelized crust. Sprinkle with hot pepper and you'll get a punch of spicy and sweet flavor!
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Good olive oil
1 block extra-firm tofu
Fagiole - giant white beans (from jar with tomato sauce/oil)
1/2 cipolla onion (large)
1 zucchini (large)
1 summer squash (large)
1 cousa squash (large)
1 eggplant (medium size)
Forest mushrooms (c. 1/2 cup)
1 tomato, roasted
Yellow tomato puree
Phyllo dough sheets, defrosted
Italian dried herb seasoning
Fresh basil, torn
Fresh parsley, chopped
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Slice eggplant into 1" rounds and sprinkle with salt, setting in a bowl at room temperature to draw out the moisture.
2) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and drizzle olive oil over the bottom of a 9x9" pan (size can be adjusted for a larger batch.)
3) Slice both squash and zucchini into rounds and grill - I used a grill pan but a proper grill would be great. Slice onion and saute in pan with olive oil and red pepper flakes, until translucent.
4) Remove onions from pan; dust salt off eggplant and dice into cubes. Saute eggplant with garlic and black pepper. Saute onions until browned.
5) In separate skillet, saute diced tofu until edges are crispy, turning so each side of the cubes are golden brown.
6) Begin to build casserole: lay sheets of phyllo dough in pan to cover bottom completely, drizzling olive oil over top. Lay grilled vegetables around on top, scattering sauteed onions, mushrooms and eggplants in between, and pieces of tofu and giant white beans at random. Season with herbs, salt and pepper. Mash roasted red tomato and spread dollops, and yellow tomato puree as well, over top of vegetables as ratatouille sauce. Grate parmesan cheese.
7) Next layer: place another layer of phyllo dough covering the vegetable mixture and repeat, covering with veggies, etc. at random. Layer until baking dish is full. Finish with layer of phyllo topped with grated cheese. In effect the dish is a sort of Greek lasagna, using phyllo rather than pasta and vegetables for the filling.
8) Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are golden and crispy. Drizzle olive oil over top and garnish with fresh basil and parsley before serving. Serves 4.
This dish is so flavorful with many different vegetables that even the non-vegetarians won't miss the meat - it's hearty and packed with flavor in every bite. I served this vegetable entree with good fresh bread and a roasted red pepper white bean puree on the side (literally a red bell pepper roasted with salt, pepper, and olive oil, blended with cannelini beans) and finished the dinner party with homemade almond gelato for dessert (made from almond milk, light cream, and a dash of sugar and almond extract) topped with slivered almonds, for a perfect, light and refreshing, summer meal.
Friday, July 8, 2011
With this enormous yellow tomato I made a roasted golden tomato puree, by roasting the whole tomato in the oven with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, for about 45 minutes, then cooling and blending in the food processer with a bit of sauteed onions, garlic, red chili, and basil. The combination of smoky roasted flavor and sweet yellow tomato made a delightful sauce that I used to top grilled portobello mushroom caps, with fresh julienned basil, for a succulent veggie meal. Heirloom tomatoes are also delicious fresh, with some sea salt sprinkled over top -
Thursday, July 7, 2011
1) Toast cashews in a dry pan on medium-low heat until the nuts are fragrant. I used raw cashews (unsalted allows you to control the level of sodium in the dish) and toasted them for about 20 minutes and then removed them from the pan. Toast the sesame seeds as well if preferred.
2) Add the peanut oil to the pan and chopped scallions, including both the greens and the whites. Once the scallions are getting soft, add the minced garlic to the pan.
3) Wilt the boy choy into the pan, roughly chopped, adding splash of sesame oil, soy and hot chili paste. Toss with tongs to coat bok choy evenly in oil and mix around seasoning.
4) Turn heat down to low and cover, cooking for a minute. Add cashews and sesame seeds back to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
The rotating selection of seasonal pies never fail to impress: upon my visit I saw a rhubarb pie, pecan pie, key lime pie, and a decadent chocolate creation - at Pie in the Sky you can get pie around the clock. (Ever had pie for breakfast? Awesome.) The bakery had served up classic chocolate chip cookies, blondies, seven-layer bars, a decadent-lookin chocolate peanut butter bar, and key lime raspberry bars that were tart, light and refreshing despite the massive-sized serving they give you - we ate it with a spoon.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
1 cup dried cranberries
3 oranges, zest and juice
2/3 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance butter
2 eggs (applesauce snack-sized cup as vegan substitute)
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3/4 cups flour (can use almond flour as substitute)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup 2% milk (soy or almond milk as substitute)
1/2 container orange yogurt (I used Yoplait orange creme mousse for a light and fluffy tang)
Few tbsp. turbinado sugar
1.) Place dried cranberries in a small saucepan on low heat with a few tbsp. water, the juice of one orange, and a few tbsp. brown sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon, allowing the cranberries to soak. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease muffin tin.
2.) Zest the oranges, while allowing butter and eggs to come to room temperature. Cream butter and sugar and add the orange zest of all three oranges, the juice of another orange, and then the eggs and extract.
3.) Alternate between adding dry ingredients and milk and yogurt, scraping sides of the bowl with a spatula but not overmixing.
4.) Remove plumped cranberries from heat and fold into batter, reserving their soaking liquid. Add the juice of the last orange. Pour into muffin tin and top with turbinado sugar and any remaining orange zest.
5.) Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes clean. Cool and enjoy!
Saturday, July 2, 2011
My friend Ashley brought back produce from her family's farm in Maine, a gorgeous place with a farm stand, Beth's Farm Market, that sells fresh produce home-grown on the farm, bakery items, and greenhouse flowers. The strawberries are incredible, with made-to-order strawberry shortcakes in the summer that have become infamous in the area:
(On my trip up to the farm the summer before last. Nothing better than eating strawberries next to the field they're growing in ...)
Beth's Farm Market has everything from wild Maine blueberries to sweet corn to an array of greens: curly leaf and lacinta kale, dandelion greens, red and swish chard, to Chinese cabbage. Not to mention rhubarb, kohlrabi, and 11 kinds of squash. Definitely stop by if you're heading to Maine!
Friday, July 1, 2011
(fries covered in gravy and cheese curds)
If you're craving this indulgent late night snack, it can be found in Boston at the Beehive in the South End, which is one of my favorite places, hands down. This restaurant and bar has an excellent ambience with funky, speakeasy decor, good food and delightful cocktails, and live music with everything from soul to Afro-jazz to reggae - it's a vibrant scene unlike the rest in the city.
Try the Flying Dutchman martini. But be warned: they pack a real punch! You may just need some poutine after to soak it up...
In the Canadian spirit, check out my previous post: http://princess-peach-kitchen.blogspot.com/2010/06/montreal-dining.html