Sunday, July 19, 2015

Strawberry Ice Cream

I LOVE to make ice-cream now that I live in a warm place with an actual summer! This last week I bought WAY too many strawberries (it happens often - this week it was 3 pounds of blueberries - they were on sale!) and decided to try oven drying some and making some ice cream. The oven dried made the whole house smell so unbelievably good - Rich kept saying "what is that??" It was pretty hilarious too in that I had 2 overflowing baskets of medium large strawberries which I cut in half and filled a parchment paper covered half sheet pan and then baked on 200 for about 3 hours - they were delicious but yielded about a third of a cup of fruit. I guess strawberries contain A LOT of water. Not enough for you to cook with but a delish little treat - oh and the smell! Heavenly. Next I made some strawberry ice-cream and the second time I served it I said - you know, some hot fudge sauce might be pretty damn good on top. And yes it was. Even on a little bitty sundae ; )

Strawberry Ice cream - adapted from Humphry Slocombe - go there if you are in SF!

1 full pint of fresh farmer's market ripened strawberries hulled (I hope you don't have to get them at the grocery store)
2 cups cream
3 tablespoons cream cheese at room temp
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Puree the berries in a blender if you really hate seeds, then you can press through a strainer - but I didn't worry about it. Whisk the rest together and then using your ice cream freezer - freeze it up! Now, serve alone or with a little dark chocolate sauce drizzle or even put a crumbled graham cracker on top.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

You never know what you will find at the farmer's market...

 Santa Rosa plums abound; some that I bought at the farmer's market and some that people with trees gave me! And so, in addition to some plum jam (and if you are a lucky duckling I gave you some jam) - I made this plum cake - which I didn't love - so not sharing that recipe - although it did look adorable. But what I will share - just because I love they way they were shared with me are these pine nuts. Technically I won't be sharing them by giving any away - because they were a bitch to get out of the shell! Any we did get went straight into my gob. Oh, Rich did get a couple too. The Wednesday farmer's market here in Healdsburg is small, like maybe 5 farmers on a good day - so even though not large - I like to go to support those that make the effort to haul their freshly grown produce into town. One of my favorite farmers are a grandpa and his granddaughter. I first started buying big baskets of cherry tomatoes from them and found out - neither of them like tomatoes! Well, I will forgive them that - as they do grow some nice ones and some lovely other veggies as well. So when I saw them a couple weeks ago he said "oh, I have something special that I have just for you." He said they were called "Black Pine Nuts" he might have said another name too - I'll have to ask this next week. "I've got some for you to make some pesto with" Then he handed me the bag and said "all you have to do is shell them." Huh? Well, I definitely now know why pine nuts cost so much. We had a ziplock bag full and only got about 2 tablespoons of nuts - but boy were they delicious. Check this process - hold with needle nose pliers, hit with hammer - and then hope you didn't inadvertently smash the nut. I'm not quite sure if they were just amazingly delicious or if they were so delicious because we worked so hard to get them out of the shell! Needless to say I will NOT be making pesto with these little tidbits.

Next at The Shed I saw these little raspberries. I can't remember their special name either (JUST FOUND OUT they were Heritage Raspberries from Home Farm) but I tried one and was sold - it's hard to see here but they almost look like little gummy candies - they are shiny and not fuzzy like regular raspberries. Firm, juicy, sweet and tart - I couldn't stop popping them in my mouth! So go to your local farmer's market and see what you can find - just beware of farmers (neighbors)  bearing "gifts". You may have to work extra hard for them! : 0

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I love the food of Summer!

Sure, I can get into a great warming pot roast with some rich mashed potatoes in the fall or winter -(or the Summer in SF ; ) but boy the summer weather food is sure full of goodness! And now that I live in Healdsburg I get an actual WARM summer! So I go to the farmer's market and come home with a carload of zucchini, berries, cherries, peaches, tomatoes, oh my! It just makes me so happy to have a refrigerator full of good fruits and veggies to choose from - but then the dreaded end of the week comes when I realize a few things are still sitting there waiting for me to do something with them! And I HATE to throw them out  - which has happened on occasion - I confess! But this last week I bought sugar snap peas and almost lost them to the compost bin - but fear not - a new salad was born! Adapted and inspired by one I saw in Food and Wine.

Snap Pea Radish Avocado Salad serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 bunch radishes cut into rounds
couple handfulls sugar snap peas sliced on the diagonal
1 avocado cut into cubes
salt and pepper

Mix together the 1st 4 ingredients to make a dressing. Toss the rest together and salt and pepper to taste.

Cherry Clafouti - I pitted my cherries, but ended up with a couple pits in there anyway - this picture was taken moments after it came out of the oven - within another min it had fallen - but was still tasty and delicious! Recipe from Rachel Khoo who has an adorable cookbook My Little Paris Kitchen.

Berries and flowers
My refreshing cocktail of the moment. Muddle in the bottom of a glass a few blackberries with some mint and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add a shot of vodka (or a great rum has been my new favorite) No need for sugar - as my berries are soooo sweet! Strain, add ice and a splash of club soda and a couple extra berries - how adorable with my dahlias.

This is like a cobbler and an old recipe from "Mother McClendon" who was the mother of one of my mother's best friends - Everette - of the amazing brisket. It too was written in my horrible handwriting on a little index card. Feel free to use other fruits. I made it last week with a bunch of peaches and a few more of those amazing blackberries scattered around. It's easy as pie ; )

Float Away Pie (as written) serves at least 8 
Melt a couple teaspoons of butter in a rectangular pyrex. Sweeten fruit a little (3/4 quart) and pour in the pan. Mix 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder pinch of salt. Add 1 cup milk and mix well. Pour over the middle of the fruit. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. 
NOW -I peel my peaches and then sliced them (I don't like skin) and used 4 cups with a squirt of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Then I reduced the sugar in the batter to 2/3 cup. I ended up cooking it for about 45 min - but I have a convection oven - so watch yours. Served warm with a little vanilla ice cream. And can I say pretty pretty damn good for breakfast too. 

This cactus on our front porch bloomed yesterday - it's done gone today!
Enjoy everyday while it lasts!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Frittatas all day long - including the kitchen sink!

I love a good frittata - basically like an omelet but instead of the filling folded into the middle - a frittata has the veggies and cheese mixed throughout. I made 2 different ones this last week and they were both delicious. Even better the next day made into a sandwich - just warm it slightly, toast some good bread spread with mayonnaise and you are set!

Like a Tortilla Espanola
Look at all those lovely layers
 Zucchini Frittata serves 2 with leftovers

4-5 small zucchini thinly sliced into rounds (I used my mandoline)
couple tablespoons olive oil
1 sprig thyme
5 eggs beaten
pinch curry powder
2 tablespoons goat cheese (I happened to have garlic and chive chèvre)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon milk

Heat the oil in a large skillet (I don't use a "nonstick" but one that is well seasoned that won't stick) and add the zucchini and thyme and cook until soft and lightly browned. Remove thyme stem - salt and pepper and set it aside. Mix together the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Put the zucchini back on the heat and when hot pour over the egg mixture and cook over medium heat for 3-4 min. Then I pop it in the toaster oven on broil for about 5 min or until puffed and golden. Makes a lovely little brunch. I wish I had taken a picture of the bottom - perfectly browned zucchini - adorable.

So the other frittata started out as Smashed Potatoes with leeks - which I just tried from Bon Appetit and had about a cup and a half of leftovers - it was delicious on it's own and cooked with eggs! This is what I mean by including the kitchen sink - this morning when I woke up and wondered what to have for breakfast I saw those potatoes and realized there was not enough to serve to 2 people - but when I added 4 beaten eggs - I used a smaller pan on this one - it was the perfect breakfast.

Smashed Potatoes with Leeks serves about 4 (or 2 and make a frittata!)

2 pounds small new potatoes - I used some yukon gold ones from the market
olive oil
4 baby leeks (also from the market - use only 2 if they are large)
1 clove garlic, chopped
salt and pepper

In a steamer basket cook the potatoes until tender - this took about 15 min - you don't want them to be mush, but you should easily slip a fork into them. Set aside to cool, then lightly press with you hand to smash them.  Clean leeks of all dirt rinsing well - then chop into about 1/2 inch pieces. Warm a couple tablespoons oil in a large skillet and sauté the leeks until tender - at the last min add the garlic and salt and pepper. Add a couple more glugs of olive oil to the pan and add the potatoes and let them get browned and then flip to the other side. Should take about 4-5 min a side - then toss them around to make sure all toasty - serve hot. Next day (if you are lucky enough to have some left) warm up in a pan then pour over a few beaten eggs - and enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mindful Meats - wonderful Ranch Tour and Dinner

I have a new client - Mindful Meats and their philosophy is to bring local, organic, Non-GMO, pasture raised meats to the markets.  On Monday I got to go along to their Ranch Tour and dinner - and it was amazing.  It was held at the Ranch and home of Joe and Kathy Tresch who have a wonderful dairy providing milk to Straus Creamery and beef to Mindful Meats. First we loaded up into the backs of 4 trucks (complete with hay seats) and drove out to a beautiful spot on their land in Petaluma (about 2100 acres!) - Yes this is where the happy cows are! After a Q&A by Kathy Tresch and MM co-founder Claire Herminjard high on the hill, I was truly impressed. And I hadn't even had dinner yet! That was the real proof in the pudding - so to speak. Below was our menu - I ate everything - including the tongue - which I have to say is not really my thing - but I had a good excuse not to really like it since it had quite a bit of cilantro ; ) Anyway - everything else was amazing! The dry-aged Rib-eyes were so flavorful. Oh, I forgot to mention we had fresh churned butter - everybody helped out with the vintage churner and our end of the table kept passing around bread slices with butter and the homemade prune jam - YUM! Thanks to everyone who made this such a special day and thanks for including me! Now go get yourself some Mindful Meat!

Mindful Meats Tresch Ranch Supper
June 15, 2015

Cheese & Pickles
Mt. Tam and Wagon Wheel, Della Fattoria baguette, pickled fennel, cucumber, and baby carrots, Italian prune jam

Grilled Summer Squash Salad
Heirloom squash, butter lettuce, spiced sunflower seeds, dill, basil, preserved lemon yogurt dressing

Crispy Beef Tongue
Fermented escabeche, grilled corn, cilantro, radishes

Head to Tail Ragu
Beef cheeks, oxtail, Aleppo chili, oracetti, sauerkraut, horseradish crème fraiche

Hardwood Charred Ribeye
Dry-aged 9-year-old retired dairy cow marinated in Rice Koji, lovage salsa verde, broccoli

Chamomile Roasted Apricots
Amaretti, tayberry curd, whipped ricotta, mint

In celebration of our duel purpose girls,
all dairy is from Straus and Cowgirl Creameries.

Chef Danielle Lum
Our table

great information with an amazing view
Happy eating!

Happy Cow

Thank you Alessa for sharing some pictures - I was enjoying myself too much to take any!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

More Fish on Maui

This is THE dish we always make when we go to visit our friends on Maui. The first time we made this when visiting was the year our other friends Thomas and Teena got married - 19? 20? years ago?? Well, whenever that was - Linda made a batch of the Tempura Ahi and after we scarfed it down in record time somebody said "wow, that was so amazing, wish we had some more" and Linda said "well, we do have some more tempura batter - I threw it in the trash - but it's in a jar with a lid on it" So yes, we got it out of the trash (it was on top) and ran to the store for another hunk of sashimi tuna and the rest is history. I love traditions - especially food traditions!

Ahi Tempura serves 4 very happy people

2 blocks of fresh Sashimi Ahi Tuna about 1/3 to 1/2 pound each (it really helps being in Hawaii)
2 dried nori sheets
for the tempura
1 egg
3/4 cup ice water (just very very cold)
1 cup flour = whisk egg, water and flour until smooth
for the butter sauce
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 oz of heavy cream or just a large splash
1 stick of butter cut into chunks
mustard sauce
2 tablespoons Coleman's dry mustard
1 tablespoon warm water
2 tablespoons soy sauce - whisk mustard, water and soy together
extra soy on a plate
little bit of flour on another plate
oil for frying
extra veggies for batter (onion rings, sliced sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots)

Take 1 sheet of nori and spread a thin covering of wasabi around on it then place 1 piece of tuna in the middle and fold up like an envelope. Keep cold and make the butter sauce. In a little pot place the wine, vinegar and shallots and cook until most of liquid evaporates, then add the cream and cook for a couple more min. Let cool slightly then start adding 1 cube of butter at a time with a whisk, letting it melt and absorb. If it's too hot, it will "split" the sauce, let it cool some more and continue adding a piece at a time until it is a creamy to die for sauce. Be patient otherwise it will end up just oily and not creamy. Then whisk in the mustard soy sauce mixture.  Heat the oil - at least a couple inches deep - we do this on the extra burner on the grill outside. Take the tuna envelope and dip in the extra soy then dip in the flour then finally the tempura batter and gently place in the hot oil. I like it really rare so I cooked it for about 1 min, then turned and cooked another minute basically to crisp up the batter. Remove to paper towel lined plate and then with a very sharp knife slice into rounds. Repeat with the other piece of tuna. Pour the sauce in the middle of on large platter and lay the rounds attractively around or serve on individual plates to avoid fighting. With any leftover batter - fry up some veggies!

At Sarah's graduation Luau All the proud Parents!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Maui - it's all about that fish, 'bout that fish.

Sorry about that - but that song is in my head! Which is only slightly better than our theme song from our recent visit to Maui. One word for you. Narwhals. If you haven't seen the cartoon video or the commercial - consider yourself lucky - cause it's next to impossible to forget. Any who. We just got back from Maui for a visit with our dear friends Gary, Linda and Sarah - who was graduating high school - yeah Sarah!! And yes, besides being all about our lovely SJ - it was all about the fish! Straight from the airport at 10:30 am no less we drove to Paia for our favorite food on the island - Paia Fish Market and had the Ono fish burger - so great!!! But the even better news is that we don't have to drive all the way to Paia anymore as they have opened a Paia Fish Market South Side in Kihei! For $10 you get a large fresh grilled piece of fish on a bun with coleslaw - I like it with a side of their cajun rice because I ditch the bun/slaw stuff. Best deal on the island! So needless to say we ate there more than once.

This was in Makawao (up-country maui) for Sarah's Luau. So proud of our little grown up girl - love you SJ! 
Very rare sighting of Narwhals seen over in Kaenae