Monday, August 31, 2009
My brother tipped me via text yesterday to try Siggi's Icelandic Yogurt. I took his advice, dropped by Whole Foods after work, and bought the blueberry and vanilla flavors. It's a strained style yogurt, apparently made as it is in Iceland, but is from NY. It is only sweetened with Agave and has 0% milkfat. It's quite good, a little pricey, but a nice special treat. The combination of fruity flavor and light sweetness is especially nice and unique. So, the tanginess comes through with the fruitiness. They had some other interesting flavors as well. Check it out. Thanks to Chris for the idea.
When we were in Paris, my favorite place we went to was a small restaurant and bakery called Rose Bakery. It is owned by Rose Carrarini and her husband, who are from England, but moved to Paris to open this wonderful place. They have a big white counter to the right, just as you enter the door. It has the day's pastries, bowls of salads, pizzettes, and other stuff, all piled and stacked to choose from. Lots of people carried it out or ordered and ate there. They also have a menu to order from in the restaurant with things like pancakes, granola, toast, pastries, yogurt, smoothies...etc. for brunch, plus lunch items as well. The design was simple, clean, modern, but so cozy and warm too. We had breakfast there. It was delicious, and since it looked so good, we also had a piece of carrot cake to share, which was AWESOME. They cut them into cylinders with about a half inch layer of cream cheese frosting on top. Absolutely perfect.
The point of this story, other than to make your mouth water for some cake, is that I received the Rose Bakery cook book for my birthday from my brother, and I've just made a recipe out of it.
I decided to try the blueberry scones, because I haven't made scones since I was a very small kid- maybe four? They also looked fairly easy to prepare, and yummy, of course. They are lighter than most scones, with only 1/2 cup of butter, and call for an egg, plus enough milk to make 1 1/4 cups (measured with the egg.) I decided to use lowfat buttermilk, because Tyler Florence told me that buttermilk should be substituted for milk in any baking recipe. There are only 2 tablespoons of sugar, 3 1/3 cups of flour, plus a handful of wheat flour, 2 heaping tablespoons of baking powder, the zest of a lemon, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 handfuls of blueberries. I mixed the flours with all the dry ingredients, then the lemon zest, and accidentally added the blueberries before the butter. This made for an interesting situation as I added cubes of cold butter, since I had to try to avoid squeezing berries as I incorporated the butter with my fingers. I was somewhat successful, but lost about 8 blueberries in the process. It was similar to the process of making pie crust, as I pressed butter into flour between my fingers, until it was course and bread crumb-like. I beat an egg, then added buttermilk to it, until I had 1 1/4 cups combined, as Rose instructed. I made a well in the center of the dry mix, then poured the milk/egg into it, and incorporated wet into dry with a fork. I abandoned the fork far too soon and went straight to using my hands, which was VERY sticky and difficult to manage. Next time, I'll continue with a fork until I've added enough extra flour to make the dough workable. I floured a surface, and plopped the dough onto it, patted it into a circle lightly, and use a knife to cut rough little triangles or squashed squares (I don't have any biscuit cutters). I brushed the tops with a beaten egg, and placed the pan in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. They were golden and very shiny and pretty. I did not put any light brown sugar on top, as Rose suggests, before I baked, because I didn't have any and I forgot.
I ate one warm, with some blackberry jam, which was great, but the recipe says to serve with Creme fraiche. Greek yogurt might be good, with honey too, but the jam was really delicious. So, scones are good, and pretty easy to make, and you probably want to try some.
I was inspired by an article in the NY Times by Mark Bittman, The Minimilist, to make some frittatas emphasizing veggies rather than eggs. Although I did plan to do that with my egg dishes, I'm not really sure if there was a higher vegetable to egg content. Oh well, they were both delicious, and still very vegetable-y.
The first was a Red bell pepper and zucchini frittata. I started by sauteing the peppers and thin slices of zucchini in a little olive oil, with some salt and pepper, until nice and soft. I also put in some chopped fresh Italian parsley, right before the eggs. While that was happening, I whisked 3 eggs together, and proceeded to pour that right in with those veggies. The heat was on fairly low at this point. Keep in mind, I used a rather large pan for the amount of eggs - a 10 inch non stick one, to make a thin frittata. I let that cook for a couple minutes, until it was set on the bottom, then popped it all in the oven with the Broiler on high. Oh, first I topped it with about a table spoon of goat cheese - sprinkled around. I watched it as it got golden brown and bubbly and the cheese melted, for approximately 2 minutes. I took it out of the oven, then sliced it into wedges, and ate it with a tomato on the side. Delicious.
The second frittata I made followed the same process, although the veggies of choice were red pepper, red onion, and about a cup of frozen sweet corn. All that, sauteed, and for the eggs - 2 whole and one white. Topped again with goat cheese, and broiled up! This was very tasty. It was like a southwestern corn salad...in egg form! I think the first frittata I made tasted better as left overs. For some reason, the onions didn't do so well after another day in the fridge. The other one, however, was great as lunch the next day.
Frittatas for everyone!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Last night I baked a batch of wheat pita breads up - just for kicks. It was the recipe out of The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. They are TASTY. I'm very excited about my new forays in baking. They were chewy, puffy, golden brown, and tasted a lot like the pillow-y breads I had in NYC at Taim. Homemade bread is hard to beat. I just filled it with Hummus and had some crudite on the side for dinner. Awesome.
I made a few dishes the other night for some friends. The food turned out well and we all had a good meal.
Here's the menu for you:
Zucchini Patties- a Burwell family signature recipe (taken from some Mediterranean cookbook years ago).
Corn Slaw- a foodnetwork.com recipe, which I slightly modified by using broccoli slaw instead of regular cole slaw mix. The slaw was tossed with green onion, red bell pepper, 4 ears of corn cut off the cob, and 2 carrots, really finely chopped. The dressing on these was delicious-1/3 cup OJ concentrate thawed, 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar, and 1/3 cup canola oil, plus some salt and pepper.
Caprese Salad- stacks of tomatoes, mozzarella, shredded basil, and a drizzle of EVOO and balsamic vinegar
Some fresh and crusty wheat bread
Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Cooking Light magazine) on top of vanilla frozen yogurt
Unfortunately, I forgot to take pics of everything before it was all eaten, but we got a few that captured the fun and some food.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Back to Seattle and back to making simple dinners for myself. I picked up just a few groceries when I got into town, so I've had the same thing two nights in a row.
Greek Salad is the name of the game, flavor-wise, at least. My lettuce is probably not traditional, nor are the carrots I added to my salad tonight.
I use large chunks of each veggie that I put in the salad, to get a good bite and flavor from all the components.
For a big dinner salad:
1 small-mediumish tomato
About 1/4 cucumber
About 1/8 red onion
A few handfuls of torn butter lettuce
I toss all that and throw in some crumbled feta on top. For a dressing, I whisk together the juice of one quarter of a lemon, about a 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of dijon, a few splashes of red wine vinegar, and a drizzle of EVOO, plus salt and a few grinds of pepper.
I ate this salad last night with a piece of seedy whole wheat bread that I sliced fresh off the loaf, with a spread of hummus.
Tonight I added carrots and skipped the feta for the salad. I had a side of quinoa in the bowl I used to make my dressing, so it had nice flavor too, plus I stirred in about 1/2 teaspoon of a fresh tomato, basil, and garlic sheep's cheese I got at the farmer's market yesterday. Delicious. An alternate idea for this would be to toss the quinoa right in, with some toasted pine nuts, even some chick peas or other beans, and finally the feta or flavored sheep's cheese on top.
For dessert, I stuck with the Greek theme, simply by having a mix of berries topped with a few spoonfuls of greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey.
The Greek salad paired with fruit for dessert is a light and easy supper for summer. For lunch, maybe try the salad in a split pita spread with hummus.