Sunday, June 1, 2014

Fava Bean Puree

Adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters,  this beautiful green gem can be added to practically any plate/dish.

(I halved this recipe as I was only cooking for myself...the original is below)


4 pounds fava beans (in their pods)
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 branch fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste


Bring a pot of salted water to boil as you shell the beans from their pods.

Blanch the beans quickly in the boiling water, then remove within 10 seconds and put into a bowl of ice water.  Drain the beans and pop them out of their white-ish skins.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add the fava beans, garlic, rosemary, and water.  Add salt and pepper.  Stirring occasionally, (making sure the garlic/beans don't stick to the bottom of the pot), cook the beans until tender and can be squished underneath a fork or back of a spoon, about 10-15 minutes.

Remove the beans and place into a bowl where you can mash them all with a spoon, potato-masher, or run through a food mill (if you have one).  Test for salt/pepper.  Enjoy!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Honey Ricotta Turnovers

Adapted from Yummly, originally from the one and only Martha Stewart.

Add in some of your favorite fruit...this could be incredible with softened figs or berries.  I opted for a handful of mushed-up blackberries and am more than thankful I did.


3/4 c. ricotta
3 tblsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange or lemon zest
Handful of berries (optional)
1 large egg
pinch of salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter
2 tblsp. honey, plus more for serving
6 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed


Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, sugar, vanilla, zest, fruit (if using), egg, and pinch of salt. Mix well to combine. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter and honey on high until butter melts, 30 to 45 seconds. Stir well to combine. 

Lay 1 sheet phyllo on a work surface (cover other sheets with a lightly damp towel). Using a pastry brush, gently brush with honey mixture. Lay 2 more sheets phyllo on top, brushing each with honey mixture. Cut crosswise into 4 rectangles. Place spoonful of ricotta mixture at one end of each rectangle; gently fold phyllo around ricotta at a diagonal, and continue to fold it, maintaining its triangular shape, until you get to the end (similar to folding a flag). 

Transfer to a greased or lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 3 sheets phyllo. Bake until golden brown and shiny, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve warm, drizzled with more honey.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Strawberry Coffee Cake

I got this via Joy the Baker who received the recipe from a good ol' southern cookbook, Panache at Rose Hill.  Either way, it's now in my hands.  Thank you, Universe!

The original recipe called for only one cup of strawberries.  I scoffed at that and made it two cups, with an extra tablespoon of butter in the crumble topping.  The adjusted version is below.


2 heaping cups sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a few drops of almond extract (optional)

4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar, water and cornstarch in a small saucepan.  Cook over low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and strawberries are soft and a little broken down.  Set aside to cool.

Grease and flour a 10×10-inch or 11x9 (what have you) baking dish, knocking out excess flour, and set aside.

To make the coffee cake:

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla extract, and almond extract if you’re using it.

Sift dry ingredients together.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter in 3 parts alternating with the sour cream in 2 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat just until combined.

To make the streusel topping:

Combine all the topping ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly.  Set aside.

Spoon 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan.  Spread the cooled strawberry mixture over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter onto the strawberries and spread evenly.  Top with streusel topping and bake in the upper third of the oven.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Garden Pesto

Ok guys.  This is one of those recipes where you're going to have to trust your own taste.  Make it to your own liking, and the more leafy greens you can find and throw in, the better!

It's best if you can find a variety of greens:  kale, chard, parsley, basil, chives, garlic scapes, broccoli leaves, almost anything will work.  Just don't throw in lettuce because that would be boring and soggy.  If you do use kale or chard, strip the leaves from the tougher stems, and toss the stems (or compost, as I'm now learning!)


Handfuls of your favorite greens, which can include any of the above-mentioned greens
Couple cloves of garlic
Parmesan or Romano, grated
Olive oil


Toast the walnuts lightly in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Keep an eye on the walnuts and move them around the pan regularly to barely-toast them, and remove from heat when done.  Set aside.

Place the peeled garlic cloves in the food processor, add in the toasted walnuts, and pulse to chop.  If they're getting stuck, drizzle in a little olive oil to loosen.  Add in the greens, a handful at a time.  Drizzle in the olive oil, and add a little salt until the greens, walnuts, and garlic are full blended together, and the sauce is loose enough to spoon over veggies, pasta, or some grilled chicken.  Use your own judgement here, and add just enough oil and salt till you're satisfied and proud to show off your awesome alternative-pesto making skills to friends and family!

When using the pesto for pasta, keep a cup of pasta water around, and after the pasta drains, place the pasta in a bowl and loosen the noodles a bit with the pasta water, then toss with the pesto and shave some fresh Romano or Parmesan on top.  The pasta water is key here to help spread the pesto-loving to all noodles.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Roasted Salsa

Inspired by the blog Homesick Texan, which I originally found via Cup of Jo

Try and find those legit tortilla chips at your local grocery.  You might even want to give the chips a squeeze of lime and warm them up a bit.  Ohhhhh buddy.


6-7 Roma tomatoes, quartered
4-5 Green onions or 1/2 regular onion, quartered
3-4 cloves garlic (leave the peels on)
1-2 Jalapenos or Serrano chiles
Handful of green pepitas
Smoked paprika, chipotle, or smoked sea salt (optional)

Small handful of cilantro (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste


Turn the oven on to broil.  (Alternatively you can slow-roast everything at 400 degrees F if you have an extra hour to spare. Both options work).  Line a baking dish with foil.  Place in the baking dish the quartered tomatoes, whole garlic cloves, the chilies, and the onions.  Sprinkle a little with salt.  If broiling, place the pan under the broiler and keep an eye on it...should usually take between 10-15 minutes.  After the first five minutes, check to see if the chiles have some blistered spots on them...if they do, remove them and the garlic(now peel the garlic) and place in a blender.  If not, give them a few minutes. 

Let the tomatoes broil five-ten minutes longer, and keep in mind that it's ok if the tomatoes turn a little black in parts... that adds to the smokiness of the salsa.  While the veggies are baking, throw the pepitas into a saute pan and turn the heat onto medium, giving the pan a good shake every now and then to evenly toast the seeds.  They'll start to pop around a bit (don't be scared! It's kind of fun.)  once they start to reach a golden  brown color, remove from heat. 

Once the tomatoes are done roasting, add into the blender with the chilies and garlic, along with the onions. Give the blender a whirl under under the 'chop' option if you have it, then add in the pepitas.  Add some salt and pepper, and blend until smooth.  Add in a little bit of smoked paprika, chipotle, or smoked sea salt if you have it, to your taste.  If it's too thick, add just a little bit of water to loosen the tomato mixture.  Now is the time to add in some cleaned cilantro if you wish.  Continue to blend and add spices as they suit your taste, and serve warm with chips.

Congrats!  You've just made the best salsa ever.  I knew you could do it.   

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lemon Gingersnap Icebox Pie

Adapted from Gourmet in 2003 via Epicurious  I actually substituted some all-natural lemonade into this and cut the sugar as I was plum out of real lemon juice, but I'd stick to the original.  There's so much goodness here, folks. (And it makes an awesome self-made birthday dessert!)


For crust:
1 1/2 cups finely crushed gingersnap cookies (6 ounces)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Handful of almond slices

For ice cream: 
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350°F. 

For the crust, whir up the gingersnaps and almonds into a food processor, then toss together with butter, using a fork until crumbs are moistened. Press evenly onto bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Bake crust in middle of oven 7-10 minutes, then cool on a rack. The crust will harden as it cools.

For the custard ice cream, bring cream, milk, sugar, zest, and salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved (make sure to use a bigger pot than you think you might need...milk likes to overflow when boiling). Whisk yolks in a bowl until blended, then add hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking, to prevent cooking the eggs. Transfer custard back to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 175 to 180°F on thermometer, 3 to 5 minutes (do not let boil).

Immediately pour through a fine-mesh sieve into cleaned bowl, then stir in lemon juice. Cool custard to room temperature, stirring occasionally, then chill at least three hours or overnight in the fridge, covered. 

When cool, freeze the custard according to your ice cream maker's manufacturing instructions.  When the consistency looks like a soft frozen yogurt, scoop the ice cream directly into the gingersnap crust in the pie plate, and freeze completely (at least two hours).  

When ready to give it a try, remove the frozen pie at least 20 minutes prior to serving. This will soften it up enough to cut into slices.  Sprinkle with any leftover gingersnap crumbs, lemon slices, or, do like I do and just dig in!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Peach Bourbon Ice Cream

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by the one and only David Lebovitz.

My only changes are to add one more peach to make it extra peachy, and a splash of bourbon and use brown sugar (and a bit less of it).   Enjoy the summer, kids!


1-1/3 lbs (about 4-5 large peaches) fresh peaches
3/4 cup sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tblsp. bourbon (optional)
a few drops freshly squeezed lemon juice


Peel and slice the peaches, remove the pits, and cut into large chunks.  Cook the peaches for 10 minutes in 1/2 cup of water to soften them, stirring often.  Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, and allow to cool to room temperature. 

Blend the peaches and liquid with the sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla extract, bourbon, and the lemon juice, (but try to leave some peach chunks!)

Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Freeze for several hours or overnight until desired level of firmness is achieved.  Serve alone, with pie, with pecans, with berries...or alone.  And savor this summer.