Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Paris Dreams

My summer reading list has quickly turned into a read-all-I-can-about-Paris/France-fest. I must have read at least five books about this geographic location and I want to share the latest, which also happened to be some of my favorite books of the summer. I also have to admit that I almost always with borrow a book from the library over buying it but these two proved difficult to get through the library system so I purchased them. I am glad I did because they are both peppered with fabulous recipes. Once I get through this organizational disaster known as moving, I will stock up the kitchen and but these books to the real test.

The Sharper your Knife the Less you Cry by Kathleen Flinn
Kathleen Flinn is a Seattle based writer (who I missed at the Queen Anne Farmers Market a week after I purchased her book... shucks), who shares her experience at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Living the dream, she moves to Paris, follows in the footsteps of Julia Child and learns how to cook classic French cuisine. She shares the ups and downs of culinary school while sharing the fabulous experience of living and eating in Paris.

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

David Lebovitz, former pastry chef at Chez Panisse, moved to Paris and eased the transition by sweetening up some key Parisians with homemade brownies and testers of ice cream from the development of his new book on ice cream. His hilarious stories about life in Paris document the obscure parts of daily life such hiring a house cleaner, grocery shopping and having house guests. Awesome book, great advice on all things Paris, and a promising set of new recipes, there could not be a better summer read.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Red Quinoa Cookies

I have pushed myself to the breaking point. With a few forced days off of work to recover from a sneaky and in my opinion unwarranted injury I have been able to spend some more time in the kitchen. My time in the kitchen has been severely shorted this month due to my insane schedule, which has had a direct correlation with the lack of new recipes posted here. I guess the universe is telling me something, it is time to chill out, relax, sit still and while I am attempting that, I might as well bake something.

I am also in the process of moving and have sworn to buy no new groceries. So I spent some time yesterday searching for recipes that were comprised of only ingredients I already owned. This red quinoa cookie recipe fit the bill. It was also a great excuse to break into Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking, a book I had ogled online and ended up finding a copy on a roommate's bookshelf a few months ago. This roommate of mine found the book slightly unapproachable and described it as "a book designed to keep health food stores in business". She has some valid points there but there are still some gems hidden within the glossy pages. I found this recipe to be particularly unique.

Red Quinoa Cookies adapted from Super Natural Cooking

Posted here is a halved version of the recipe, I also omitted walnuts because I didn't have any.

1 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cooked red quinoa
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.
3. In a separate large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy, beat int he sugar, beat in the egg. Stir in the vanilla.
4. Add the flour mixture in a bout 4 increments, stirring between each addition.
5. Stir in the quinoa, walnuts (if using), and oats and mix until the quinoa is evenly distributed.
6. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake from 10-12 minutes, until golden on both top and bottom.

Makes 1-2 dozen medium-large cookies.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Java Smash Up Ice Cream

While in Friday Harbor this week I discovered the best way to make it through a fifteen hour shift: java smash up ice cream. I almost considered moving to the San Juan islands just to be closer to the Friday Harbor Ice Cream Company so I could have access to this ice cream at all times. It is essentially cookies and cream ice cream but it is made with coffee ice cream and has a sprinkle of espresso powder. I might have to turn my kitchen into a temporary Coldstone in order to mash of some of this deliciousness at home so I can have it close whenever I need a pick-me-up.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

The tomato has once again invaded my summer kitchen. This recipe might have been the exact one that turned me on to the tomato. These slow cooked babies are quickly becoming a summer staple. A good friend made these slow roasted tomatoes after we both read Molly Wizenberg's memoir A Homemade Life. While these take a lot of time they don't need a lot of maintenance (we might have left our in the oven while we watched a World Cup game in the bar across the street). We ate these with butter on the particularly delicious hide bread rolls we made earlier in the day. This last week I tossed several with pasta, basil, olive oil and Parmesan for an easy, fresh, summer dinner.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes adapted from Molly Wizenburg's a Homemade Life

(I didn't have coriander so I used some cumin, it still turned out delicious but I can't wait to try the original version.)

Ripe tomatoes, preferably Roma
Olive oil
Sea salt
Ground coriander

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. (If you're feeling impatient, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.)

2. Wash the tomatoes, cut off the stem end, and halve them lengthwise. Pour a bit of olive oil into a small bowl, dip a pastry brush into it, and brush the tomato halves lightly with oil. Place them, skin side down, on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle them with sea salt and ground coriander—about a pinch of each for every four to six tomato halves.

3. Bake the tomatoes until they shrink to about 1/3 of their original size but are still soft and juicy, 4 to 6 hours (at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, these are ready after 2 hours). Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature. Place them in an airtight container, and store them in the refrigerator.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Macrina Bakery

Ahhh Seattle and your surprisingly large bakery scene. I spent another pre-work morning savoring the snacks and ambiance at the Queen Anne Macrina bakery. I am not going to lie, it has taken some time for Macrina to grow on me, but now I cannot wait to go back, especially to try out the new weekend brunch menu!

For breakfast I got an egg sandwich with a fancy name that I cannot remember for the life of me. Two eggs, basil, chevre and roasted peppers were sandwiched in between a unique onion, poppy seed roll that resembled the shape of a poorly drawn goldfish. It was delectable.

To have around for later I picked up a fruit and flan bar. While I though the bottom crust might have been a little to thick but the filling was creamy and bursting with blueberries. My friend got a rocket muffin, he loved it, it ended up being the inspiration for the apple zucchini muffins I wrote about earlier. With three locations (SODO, Belltown and Queen Anne) everyone in Seattle should be able to taste test a Macrina near them.
Macrina Bakery on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Apple Zucchini Muffins

The Moosewood people are quickly becoming some of my idols. They have thought of everything delicious. Yesterday I spent my morning lounging around before I had to report to an afternoon shift at work and after receiving a text about a nearly perfect everything-but-the-kitchen-sink muffin, I had to make something similar. First I wanted some sort of oatmeal muffin, but then I remember that there was a zucchini calling my name in the fridge as well as some apples that were getting pretty old... and I stumbled upon this recipe. The nearly perfect muffin. It is packed with zucchini and apple and has no added oil or butter, allowing you all of the jurisdiction to liberally spread butter over the top of them. Healthy, hearty, delicious and another great way to use up all of that summer zucchini.

Apple Zucchini Muffins adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup quick cook oatmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
3/4 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated (peeled) apple

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Grease muffin tin.
2. Sift flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.
3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs until pale yellow. Add yogurt, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat until combined. Fold in zucchini and apple.
4. Combine wet ingredients with dry until combined.
5. Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup.
6. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate and bake for 10-15 more minutes, until an inserted paring knife comes out clean.

Will make 12 muffins. They can be enjoyed hot, warm or cold. I particularly like them toasted with a bit of butter.