Sunday, May 26, 2013


This has been my year to focus on Middle Eastern Food. I love the combinations of fresh ingredients and herbs. My new cook book Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi has been amazing, not only to cook from but it is a great read too.

My favorite salad from the cook book is a spinach and date salad that I made here. My second favorite salad came from a recipe in Eating Well, and it is for fattoush. Pita halves are sprinkled with sumac and toasted until golden and crisp. Broken pieces and added to romaine and diced vegetables. Thinly sliced mint rounds it out and it is tossed with a very light dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and sumac. This is the perfect summer salad and in a few months almost all of the ingredients will be growing in my garden!


      2 6-inch whole-wheat pitas, split

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons ground sumac, (see note), divided
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 large head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 small salad cucumbers, or 1 large cucumber, seeded and diced (peeled if desired)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh mint

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place pita halves rough-side up on a large baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sumac. Bake until the pita halves are golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. When cool, break into bite-size pieces.

     Whisk lemon juice, salt, pepper and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon sumac in a      large  bowl. Add lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, mint and the pita pieces; toss to coat. Let 
     stand for 15 minutes before serving.      

    Recipe from Eating Well

Monday, May 20, 2013


Chocolate Tofu Ice Cream...I can't believe I said that, made that, and loved that! It was our Food Matters Project recipe for the week. The recipe was chosen by Meg of Fledgling Foodie. No eggs, or cream, just four ingredients and better than regular ice cream.

I used dark chocolate from Trader Joe's, sugar, vanilla, and soft, silken tofu. In less than 10 minutes this was in the ice cream maker and ready to go. The tofu gave it a smooth, creamy texture. Right out of the ice cream maker it tasted like a cross between rich pudding and chocolate ice cream. That was our favorite time to eat it. After sitting in the freezer it hardened and was delicious too, only not as silky and creamy.

This will be my go-to recipe from now on. It is perfect for a dinner party, just turn on the ice cream maker when you sit down for dinner. It is really rich so a small amount goes a long way making it perfect to serve in a pretty shot glass, demitasse or a small martini glass.

For other takes on this recipe visit our blog here.


3/4 cup sugar
1 pound soft silken tofu
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the sugar with 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Let it cool a bit.

Put all of the ingredients (including the sugar syrup) in a blender and puree until it is completely smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instruction. Or transfer the mixture to an airtight container and freeze until it is firm, at least 4 hours; then break into chunks and puree in the food processor. Or simply let thaw a bit and eat as soon as it's scoopable.

Recipe by Mark Bittman

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


This was truly an amazing hollandaise sauce. It came together is a very interesting way. Our Food Matters Project recipe for this week was chosen by Sandra of Meadows Cooks. Sandra chose Mark Bittman's recipe for Japanese Spiced Roasted Beets. The recipe has you make a blend of pepper, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, orange zest and chili powder. You toss it with roasted beets or as Mark suggests, parsnips, potatoes, or squash. I made the spice blend but I didn't have "chili powder" in the traditional blend you find in markets but I did have California Chili Powder. I'm not sure what kind of chili was used but my blend was really spicy! I couldn't see it working with vegetables. It was spicy but had a great orange taste from the zest. I had planned on serving it on potatoes but I knew it wasn't going to taste good and I was serving it with a beautiful piece of baked salmon. So I went into rescue mode and I kept thinking about hollandaise. This blend was screaming "add me to hollandaise sauce". So I did and my husband declared this the best sauce I have ever made! In keeping with our healthy way of eating I only put a schmear of hollandaise on the side but let's just say... his was swimming in it.

I winged this recipe but here is what I did. Sliced orange under the salmon, coated the salmon with olive oil, salt and pepper and topped the salmon with sliced orange.

Baked in a 350~ oven for 20 minutes.

I made my fool proof hollandaise recipe which is Julia Childs recipe and you can find it here. Instead of adding the cayenne pepper I added a tablespoon of the spice blend here, 2 tablespoons orange juice and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

This was (as I said) a rescue, if any of our members have leftover spice blend I highly recommend adding it to hollandaise. If you just want an amazing hollandaise sauce skip the blend and just add orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice and real chili powder or 1 pureed chipotle.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


This salad was inspired by Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla. Camilla chose Mark Bittman's recipe for Stir-Fried Fennel and Pink Grapefruit for our Food Matters Project this week. I had never thought of using fennel and grapefruit together. It really works! Instead of a stir-fry I made a salad. I pulled up the last of the fennel growing wild on our hill and marinated it in lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil. After marinating for 20 minutes the fennel is tossed with grapefruit segments, and topped with mint leaves, fennel fronds, goat cheese and a little more olive oil. A wonderful combination of flavors! I served it along side Grilled Swordfish with Lemon, Mint and Basil.

Camilla has Mark's recipe with the shrimp in it here. For other variations on Mark's recipe please visit the Food Matters Project.

  • 1 large fennel bulb with fronds
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 ruby grapefruit
  • 2-3 oz. soft young goat cheese (like chevre)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  1. Remove the stems from the fennel bulb.  Reserve 2 Tbs. of fennel fronds from the stems, and either discard or save the rest for another use (it makes a good bed for baking a fillet of fish on top of).  Halve and cut the core out of the fennel bulb, then slice the fennel extremely thinly with either a mandoline or a very sharp knife.
  2. Toss the fennel with the lemon zest, juice, and olive oil, plus a couple pinches of salt and a couple grinds of black pepper.  Set the fennel aside to marinate at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
  3. While the fennel is marinating, cut the peel and pith off of the grapefruit and cut between the membranes to remove the segments.
  4. When the fennel is done marinating, toss it gently with the grapefruit segments and spread them out on a serving platter or in a shallow serving bowl.  Crumble the goat cheese over the salad, and sprinkle the salad with the mint leaves and the fennel fronds.  If you wish, drizzle the salad with a bit more olive oil and additional salt and pepper before serving, and then go ahead and serve.

Recipe from Five and Spice.