Tag Archives: food blogger

Squash Harvest Bread

This bread makes me miss Seattle. My last couple of years in Seattle, I was lucky enough to be walking distance to Macrina Bakery, a gem of this city. I would walk down the street with my then boyfriend, and we would stop in for a quick pastry and coffee before the work day. I loved these mornings walking through Queen Anne. When I moved, I made sure to buy a copy of their cookbook as I knew how much I would miss this bread.

It’s much warmer in LA of course, but now that fall is here I love making this bread, and the recipe calls for 2 loaves, which my office mates are always quite happy about. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

*I was too lazy to hunt down all of the nuts needed so this is a modification of their original recipe

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Recipe

  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin (or roasted squash purée)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and oil two 9 x 5 loaf pans. Spread the walnuts and pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes. You can also do this on the stove by putting them over medium heat in a pan stirring frequently so they do not burn. You can tell when they are finished by the fragrant toasted smell and they will start to turn slightly golden, beyond of course their normal nut color. Let the nuts cool and roughly chop them into smaller pieces and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and half of the chopped nuts. The remaining half will be for garnish. Mix together.

In a stand mixer, combine oil and sugar and beat with the paddle attachment for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the pumpkin or squash purée and mix for another 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time.

Remove bowl from stand mixer and add in the flour mixture in small amounts, waiting until it is full combined. Mix in the buttermilk until all of the ingredients are just combined. You do not want to over mix or it will make the bread dense.

Pour the batter into the two prepared pans and sprinkle the remaining nuts over the top of each loaf.

Bake loaves on center rack for one hour, or until golden brown. Test the center to make sure it is fully cooked with a skewer or thin knife, it should come out clean when the loaves are finished. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

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Portobello Tomatillo Salsa

Portobello salsa

This salsa is the perfect fresh summertime salsa. I first ate this delicious salsa, on a crisp spring day an hour or so north of New York City. I spent the last year of college frequently flying to New York, trying to make as many connections with photographers as possible, that way when I graduated I would already have a head start in an industry that I was so eager to work in. I spent one week with a photographer, who did beautiful work, and I was so excited to be able to spend a week interning for him. He was a ways outside of the city which was fine. I would take the subway very early to Grand Central Station, pick up coffee and a fresh bagel, and spend the next while watching the countryside go by, reading my book and enjoying my morning. What I actually spent the time doing was going through his massive prop dish collection, cleaning and organizing every single dish. I had hoped, considering that I flew myself out there and spent a week cleaning his studio, was to have some sort of actual conversation with this photographer whom I admired greatly about how he achieved his work, considering that he was not busy or working the week that I was there. I then learned the great lesson that it is incredibly important, when you are interviewing with someone, interning with them, or freelancing with the hope of working with an individual full time, is that it is just as important to decide if you want to work with them, it’s not just selling yourself, you are taking stock in what sort of person they are, and to see how they treat you. I did make it out of that week with an incredible salsa recipe which he made that last afternoon I spent in his studio. I have to say, kind of worth it.

Sadly I did not take an after photo of in my haste to make it to the 4th of July BBQ that I was invited to. This recipe however is very simple to make, so no need really for the after photo to get the idea.

Recipe

  • 2 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 lbs. tomatillos, peeled and washed
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 limes
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Finely dice all ingredients together in a large bowl. Juice the two limes, and add salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour to let all of the flavors combine.

Peach Pastry

IMG_5429Stone fruits are one of my favorite things about summer. I can remember summer time at my mom’s house, we have a local fruit stand which is just a couple of blocks from our house. I loved going there and picking up all sorts of delicious fruit. The first to hit the stands are the strawberries. This is when you know summer is really here. Officially summer in Seattle between 4th of July and Labor Day weekend. Before or after that is always hit or miss. Back to the strawberries. This is the first of the wonderful fruits to land in the markets. Followed by peaches. I can go savory or sweet when it comes to stone fruit.

This recipe is so simple, it almost feels like cheating. I’m going to try a different version this weekend, and am going to attempt to make my own puff pastry this time.

Recipe

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees

  • Store bought puff pastry, thaw for 30 minutes
  • 2 lbs. peaches cut up
  • Whole milk ricotta
  • Granulated sugar

Unfold puff pastry and cut each sheet into 9 equal squares. Spread 1 spoonful of ricotta onto each squre, place 2 slices of peaches, and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar. Place baking sheet with pastry into the oven, and bake for 20 minutes, or until just turning golden brown along the edges. Cool slightly and enjoy.

Moroccan Braised Chicken

Braised ChickensmFor those who have tried to make the preserved lemons a few posts back this recipe is for you. This recipe was inspired a bit by Michael Pollan, and a bit by my ex boyfriend’s mom, who makes the most delicious Moroccan food. I’ve read both the Omnivore’s Dilemma, and In Defense of Food, by Michel Pollan, which I found to be very inspiring. For me, both books brought to life a mindfulness about the food I cook. Delicious homemade food does not have to be complicated or time consuming, and the ingredients to not have to be hard to obtain. Buy fresh whole vegetables, fresh meat, if you go that route, and fresh herbs for seasoning. I like to follow Michael Pollan’s instructions on how to navigate around a grocery store, shop mainly around the perimeter. I think this recipe is the perfect example for following this cooking philosophy.

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  • Chicken legs – 8
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can green olives
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tbs. cumin
  • 2 tsp. turmeric

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a heavy pot, heat the olive on medium high head. Thinly slice the onions and bell pepper and put them into the pot. Next add the roughly chopped garlic and chicken. Cook all the ingredients on medium high until the chicken is browned on all sides and the vegetables start to brown.  Season with the salt and pepper. Add the can of crushed tomatoes, and drained olives. Roughly chop half of a preserved lemon and stir to incorporate. If you have an oven proof pot or cast iron, place this into the oven. If you do not, transfer to a ceramic dish, and bake for 1 hour until the chicken dish is bubbling. Serve with crusty bread, or quinoa and enjoy.

Almond Lemon Ricotta Cake

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I have a Pinterest hobby. I consider this hobby along the lines of my Martha Stewart hobby. Relaxation for me, a lot of the times, involves mindless flipping through different recipes, waiting for inspiration from the season, beautiful photography, and different recipes. Nothing makes me happier right now than being able to take a quiet weekend day spending the time making, and photographing, different dishes. My life as of late consists of polar opposites. Heart ache and frenzied days with work, where we are all non stop moving from project to project, and I find that all I want when I get home is quite.

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I found this recipe a long time ago on pinterest, and for some reason this week it finally spoke to me. The process is little bit extensive, so make sure to thoroughly read the recipe before you start, I find that this helps the process.

Recipe

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean splint and the seeds scraped
  • 1/4 lemon zest
  • 4 eggs separated at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 10 1/2 oz. whole milk ricotta
  • Flaked almonds to decorate

Split the vanilla bean length wise, and scrape out the vanilla beans.

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Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease a 10 inch tart pan.

Place the butter in your stand mixer, and beat with the paddle attachment. Slowly add the vanilla seeds, sugar, and lemon zest until pale and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg yolks on at a time, until fully combined. Add the almond meal and beat to combine. Fold in the ricotta until incorporated. In a separate bowl mix the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the almond ricotta mixture.

Pour the batter into the tart pan, and smooth the top of the mixture then decorate the cake with the almond flakes. Bake for 35-40 and test by putting a small sharp knife or toothpick into the middle making sure it comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.

Preserved Lemons

Lemons1smMy backyard has a Meyer lemon tree, I find this one of the greatest perks of my place. When first introduced to preserved lemons, I really didn’t know what to do with them, as they are not a common place occurrence in the American cuisine. As I became acquainted with Moroccan food, I came to realize that you can use preserved lemons in just about anything. Roast chicken, braised meat, and sauteed vegetables just to begin. I’ll follow shortly with some of my favorite recipes after these are finished, in this post I wanted to share the process of preserving lemons. I have a fondness for just about anything citrus. I often joke that I died of scurvy in a past life.

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Start by scrubbing the lemons with a clean kitchen brush to remove any dirt, and dry them on a clean dish towel. I find that the most complicated process of preserving lemons, is sterilizing the jars. The first time doing this, I dumped hot water all over my bare feet and had scalding water rush down my arms. I was moving too quickly, and when I used the tongs to grab the jars out of the pot, the water rushed down them and onto my feet and arms. If you take your time, however I’m sure you will be safe from harm.

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Thoroughly wash the jars, lids, and rings with warm soapy water. While doing that bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using tongs, gently place 2 jars at a time, depending on the size of the pot, and boil for 5 minutes. You want the jars to be completely submersed in water. Very carefully lift the now sterilized jar out of the pot of boiling water, and air dry.

Cut a lemon in quarters without cutting all the way through, leaving the lemon connected  on one end. Put one tablespoon of kosher salt into each sliced lemon and place in the jar. Fill the jar full of however many lemons will fit, and screw the lid on tightly. Store the jar for three weeks to a month before using. Once opened, only use a clean utensil to remove the lemon sections, and refrigerate.

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Appetizer for a dinner party

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One of my favorite things in life, is throwing a dinner party for a small group of friends. While I know the thought of planning a menu, shopping for all the different ingredients, followed by the hours of cooking, sounds like a nightmare to some. For me however, it’s as relaxing as watching Downton Abbey. The funny part to me, is that I really don’t like cooking for just myself. When alone I turn into a bachelor, making my meals as quickly as possible, generally eating homemade burritos for days on end, and save the weekends for baking, knowing that whatever I make will be greatly enjoyed by my coworkers. On my off time, which I don’t have much of due to the nature of the business I work in, I can loose myself for hours looking through cookbooks, Pinterest, and other food blogs. Planning, making notes of what I want to try, slowly chipping away at my list of dishes to make. I am happy to say that this dish is now among the top of my favorite quick appetizers to make. It’s perfect for a group of people to enjoy over wine.

When I went over to my Rabbi’s house for Shabbat dinner a few months ago, his wife made the most amazing dinner for us all. Since then, this has been one of my favorite dishes to make. I had previously had all three parts of this appetizer, but never together, I was surprised at how well all the different flavors went together. Salad prep sm

Israeli Salad

  • 6 tomatoes on the vine
  • 3 Persian cucumbers
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Finely dice the onion, cucumbers, bell pepper, and parsley and place into a large bowl. Mix in the olive oil, salt, and lemon juice and mix well.

Hummus Dish

  • 1 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 tbs. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper

Peal and julienne the yellow onion. For a great tutorial of how to check out this link. In a large pan, heat up olive oil over medium high heat for about 30 seconds then add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until you have the first hint of char on the onions. Add the ground beef browning before reducing the heat to medium low while you continue to thoroughly cook the meat. Add the turmeric and curry powder and stir to fully incorporate.

I really liked displaying this on a round platter, serve with warm pita on the side.

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