If guacamole had been invented by the French…

My lazy attempt at making Green Goddess dressing was a success more as a dip than as a salad dressing. First off, I didn’t have quite all the ingredients called for and secondly, I was not in a mood to haul out the blender and then wash it afterward.

But I stand behind the word “success”… a tangy, fresh-tasting creamy guacamole-like dip as I imagine it to be interpreted by the French.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3 tablespoons yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 fine chopped garlic clove (I used half a clove and then added a pinch of garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave or other syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Ideally, use a blender or food processor.
  2. If you’re doing it manually, add the ingredients to a bowl and whisk them to a creamy consistency.

Enjoy!

Mile high lemon meringue pie

The mile high lemon meringue really is mile high when you make it from Cook’s Magazine, a great magazine that not only tests recipes but details what they tried and the results.

You’ll need 1 (9-inch) pie shell, fully baked and cooled.

Lemon Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup of lemon juice (from 6 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 large egg yolks (reserve 4 whites for meringue later)
  • 2 tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces

Meringue Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Filling directions:

  1. Whisk sugar, lemon juice, water, cornstarch and salt together in a large non-reactive saucepan until cornstarch is dissolved. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally until mixture is translucent and begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk in yolks until combined. Stir in zest and butter. Bring to a simmer and stir constantly until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.
  3. Strain through fine mesh strainer into the baked and cooled pie shell and scrape off filling from the bottom of strainer. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling and refrigerate until set and well chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Meringue:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine water and sugar in saucepan. Bring to a vigorous boil over medium high heat. Once syrup comes to a rolling boil, cook for 4 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside while beating egg whites.
  4. With electric mixer beat whites in large bowl at medium low speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add salt and cream of tartar and beat gradually increasing speed to medium high, until whites hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes.
  5. With mixer running, slowly pour hot syrup into the whites. Add vanilla and beat until meringue has cooled and becomes shiny and thick, 5-9 minutes.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, mound meringue over filling making sure meringue touches the edges of the crust.
  7. Use spatula to create peaks all over the pie.
  8. Bake until peaks turn golden brown about 6 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature and serve.

Recipe copied from http://www.recipelink.com/mf/0/85775.

Vegan coconut chocolate cupcakes

I’m always hesitant to tell people when my baked goods are vegan, because they tend to shy away. But I’ve made these cupcakes a few times now and they are fabulous. They’ll stand up to any cupcake, vegan or otherwise.

My friend and I made this recently with an interesting “textured” frosting – due to our lack of powdered sugar we used granulated. It was quite nice although next time I’d add some powdered sugar too. 🙂

The cupcake recipe comes from the Babycakes book and was shared via Gwyneth Paltrow’s site, http://goop.com/newsletter/49/en/. I didn’t use their frosting recipe, but instead did one more like a traditional buttercream frosting sans butter.

Cupcake ingredients:

  • 1 cup garbanzo and fava bean flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup agave nectar
  • 6 tablespoons applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • Frosting for serving

Cupcake directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line one, standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch, cocoa powder, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.
  3. Add the oil, agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla, and hot water directly to the dry ingredients. Stir until the batter is smooth.
  4. Pour 1/3 cup of the batter into each prepared cup. This portion will almost fill the cup up entirely.
  5. Bake the cupcakes on the center rack for 22 minutes, rotating the tray 180 degrees after 15 minutes. The cupcakes will bounce back when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. Remove from the oven.
  6. Let the cupcakes stand for 20 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack right side up and cool completely.

Coconut vanilla frosting ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (or 2 cups powdered and 2 cups superfine)
  • 1 cup coconut oil

Frosting directions:

  1. Gently warm the coconut oil in a sauce pan or on low heat in the microwave
  2. Mix all the ingredients together with a spoon or in a mixer.
  3. When the cupcakes are cool, slice the top off and spread frosting in the middle. This allows for easier eating but does require you to open the cupcake holders slightly.

Enjoy!

Chocolate hazelnut drops

In my quest for delicious cookies, I’ve found that eggs are often present. While I salute the egg cookies, I wanted a naturally egg-free recipe. As opposed to one where I’d wrangled with the cookie until it wearily submitted a less tasty version of itself.

Imagine my delight to open the pages of Homemade by Clodagh McKenna to find an egg free cookie. The first opportunity to make these arrived today. The ingredients seem pretty similar to scones.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup good-quality dark chocolate drops
  • 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon milk (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cream together butter and sugar until pale and paste-like.
  2. Mix in flour and baking powder.
  3. Add nuts and chocolate, and mix to form dough.
  4. If the dough is too crumbly, add a tablespoon of milk.
  5. Form cookies on a cookie sheet and cook for 13-15 minutes until browned on top.

Next time I would try to skip the milk and deal with the crumble factor, but these tasted great and I will be making them again soon.

Roast pork

Today we went to our local butcher (Bill the Butcher) and got a pork leg with skin on to make crackle. It’s a delicious crunchy, meaty experience. The butcher kindly scored the meat for us to help the fat drain.

For a nearly 5 lb roast, we preheated the oven to 450 (would’ve done 500 but we were nervous of the fire alarm). You put the pork in and after 5 minutes turn it down to 350. Bake for 2 1/2 hours or until it’s looking basically done, then turn it back to 450 for 10 minutes or until the skin has puffed up a bit.

We got to enjoy it with veggies from the garden, yum!

Tuna salad

I’m a big fan of tuna salad but most contain a lot of mayo that I can’t eat and often this makes them overly gooey. I prefer some texture and tantalizing flavors that tell me I’m eating real food instead of tuna flavored paste.

The tuna that you use will make a big difference in this recipe because the tuna is front and center. I use a delicious tuna ventresca that is more expensive but worth it when you want to taste the tuna.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (substitute with another herb if you don’t like dill)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried onion
  • Pinch of garlic powder and salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons yogurt (I used goat and it was delicious)
  • 6-7 oz. tuna

Just drain the tuna and mix the ingredients together in a small bowl. I paired it with fresh parsley and lettuce on a mini french baguette, alongside a small salad.

It was very nice with a slight hint of creaminess. If you want it a little more creamy, add more 1-2 more teaspoons of yogurt.

Salut!

Classic bolognese, the slow way

When I first tried restaurant bolognese sauces, I thought “eh, nothing special”. But I have since learned that there is nothing better than a real, slow-cooked bolognese.

This is a melt-in-your-mouth rich and meaty sauce that will make you easily consume multiple portions in a single sitting. It is essentially the same recipe as Marcella Hazan’s bolognese, with some minor tweaks. I always double it as I’ve done below so that it makes 4 heaping cups.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons diced carrots
  • 3 tablespoons diced onions
  • 2 28 oz cans of whole tomatoes
  • 2 cups of a dry white wine
  • 2 cups of whole milk (I use goat milk now but used to have it with cow’s milk)
  • 2 lbs ground meat, either 16% fat beef or an equal blend of beef, veal and pork
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Add butter to a very large pan and heat over medium-low
  2. Add the vegetables and cook until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes
  3. Add ground meat and cook until no longer raw pink, about 10 minutes
  4. Crumble the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula to make it even smoother
  5. Add the milk and cook for 30 minutes until the liquid is basically clear
  6. Add the wine and cook for 30 minutes until it has evaporated
  7. Break the tomatoes apart and add with their sauce, cooking for 3 hours on the lowest possible heat

Serve over fresh pasta, I suggest fettucine or gnocchi, and top with fresh grated parmesan.

Salut!

Poached rhubarb and nectarines

It’s summer time once again, and that means all the fruit is here. I’m a big fan of quickly pulled together cobblers for dessert now that I can no longer have eggs or cow’s milk. I love combining rhubarb with nectarines or peaches, which are less sweet and traditional than strawberries.

You can eat the poached fruit directly, use it in oatmeal or put a very thin pastry of flour, oats, butter and sugar on top and bake for 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white wine (use dessert wine if you want it on the sweeter side)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
  • 3 stems of fresh rhubarb, 1-inch across, chopped (if the rhubarb is not chopped into same size pieces, smaller pieces will be more mushy, but still tasty)
  • 2-3 ripe nectarines or peaches, sliced

Directions:

  1. Mix wine and sugar over low heat
  2. If the nectarines are not fully ripe, add them first and cook for 3 minutes
  3. Add rhubarb and drizzle with honey or syrup
  4. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until the fruit is soft (if you’re going to make cobbler, cook for only 10 minutes so it finishes in the oven)
  5. Remove fruit with a slotted spoon (or a potato masher if that’s what you have on hand)
  6. Turn up heat to medium-low and cook for 5-10 more minutes longer to thicken
  7. Strain the remaining liquid and set aside to mix in drinks, yogurt, etc.

I must admit that it’s difficult to do step #7. I end up drinking it straight.

Salut!

Fancy finger foods

Fancy finger foods

Fancy finger foods

For the royal wedding, I had a lunch gathering of friends and family. We made bread, watched the interesting bits of the wedding and giggled at the hats. I made an assortment of fancy finger foods so that we, too, could feel posh.

Smoked salmon bruschetta:

  • Take small pieces of toasts or slices of crusty bread.
  • Spread with cream cheese or chevre.
  • Fold a piece of smoked salmon on top and cover with chives or flowers.

Roast beef bruschetta:

  • Make small half-slices of crusty bread, spread with butter (or mustard).
  • Top with water cress, or lettuce/spinach if you don’t have water cress.
  • Fold a piece of roast beef on top.

Cured meat and parsley bruschetta:

  • Take crackers (like La Panzanella) and cover with slices of cured meat (like San Danielle or duck breast proscuitto)
  • Top with parsley and, optionally, shredded parmesan.

Salut!