Morel Polenta Tartlets

A lot of great things have happened over the past few months and our new little guy Xander has kept me very busy.  Now that I am better adjusted to motherhood I am back and ready to write.

To my delight, I found myself in Portland Oregon (somewhat) recently for a work dinner. I had heard so much about the farmer’s market and how beautiful it was, so it was my first priority and our first stop for grocery shopping.  Mountains of mushrooms-morels, hen of the woods, shitakes and low and behold truffles! Yes, Oregon is now growing truffles- super affordable ones too. I went straight for the morels, selecting the smallest ones for the mini polenta cakes with a morel gravy that I was serving as an hors d’oeurves course.

There were so many other highlights-the rhubarb was piled high streaked with a deep magenta, and hazelnuts-my new favorite nut. We were in hazelnut heaven it turns out. Freddie Guy is at the market and I scored some hazelnut oil as well as bags of beautiful pre-blanched crunchy hazelnuts. (You can order them online, which I will be doing in the near future)

There were other Portland highlights beyond the farmer’s market. Continue reading “Morel Polenta Tartlets”

Creamy Corn Soup with Coconut Milk

This month I’m doing cooking demos at the New York Botanical Gardens in a series sponsored by Growing Chefs. All of my recipes are seasonal, market and garden fresh. I’m keeping the dishes simple to create so that no matter what age or cooking expertise, you can enjoy the recipes. The kitchen is beautiful and well equipped at the Conservatory Kitchen and there’s a slew of other exciting culinary guests on the schedule to check out.

The first week I made Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame dressing, last week was a Basil Pesto Pasta Salad. Here is a preview for this week’s recipe, my personal favorite of the series. It’s a refreshing summer soup that I created without any dairy at all. The corn and coconut milk come together to create a creamy silky texture that you’ll never even miss cream or butter. I was only aiming to complement the sweetness of the corn with a few simple flavors. We’ve been hit with a heat wave in New york City, so the quicker the cook time the better. I skipped making a stock with the cobbs and went for any shortcuts I could find. Continue reading “Creamy Corn Soup with Coconut Milk”

Shrimp and Broccoli with Garlic and Chili

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I’m always searching for delicious weekday recipes that are also nourishing, and all in one dishes are my favorites. Whenever I can, I love saving clean-up time. This dish has so many appeals, but most important it takes seconds to whip up. The first time I made a version of this dish was with Sam Talbot on one of my Conscious Cooking webisodes I hosted for Foodnetwork.com. We made it with olive oil, but I’m loving this version with more of an Asian flair. Continue reading “Shrimp and Broccoli with Garlic and Chili”

Leeks Vinaigrette

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I usually opt for leeks in many recipes where you may use onions. They’re sweeter and more delicate, and a great way to maximize flavor. Here’s a simple, no fuss-yet satisfying way to prepare them. The leeks should turn out very sweet and tender and practically melt in your mouth. I recommend using smaller leeks than the ones pictured here if they’re available at your market, they’ll be more tender and easier to cut.

I finally picked up some at the farmer’s market recently, with the singular intention of making leeks vinagrette. It’s such a simple dish but so flavorful, a nice accompaniment to a meal. I was craving them ever since I had them at Mama Shelter hotel in Paris this spring. I flipped through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, to see what she would do with leeks. Continue reading “Leeks Vinaigrette”

Artichoke Brebis Blanche Tart

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This recipe was inspired by my urgent need to use all of the perishable ingredients possible when my fridge suddenly decided to stop cooling. It hardly even deserves a formal recipe because of its simplicity. You can do a lovely quick tart by starting with a good quality puff pastry, a spreadable cheese and topping it with any of your favorite seasonal vegetables and fresh herbs. It doesn’t get much easier than this. Artichokes are perhaps one of the most labor intensive of all vegetables, but I just so happened to have a few pre-steamed from the night before, which made them all the more convenient.The result is an effortlessly-buttery-wonderfully-crusty taste of spring. Continue reading “Artichoke Brebis Blanche Tart”

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fennel Apple and Pecans

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When you have an insatiable sweet tooth, I recommend a sweet potato dish. This is the dish I came up with recently for someone who always wants sweet flavors and  whose most favorite vegetable happens to be Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a balanced way to please a craving for sweets because they’re nutrient dense and you’re getting the naturally sweet flavor without the excess amounts of sugar. Continue reading “Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fennel Apple and Pecans”

Green Goddess Dressing Revamped

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I recently had a request from a magazine to create some lighter versions of standard dressings. One of my favorite ways to lighten up dressings is to use pureed vegetables in the actual dressing to create a richer texture without the heaviness of cream or egg.

Here’s my lighter interpretation of a Green Goddess dressing. Typically you would use anchovies and eggs, instead I’ve used pureed artichokes (from the can). This gives a creamy texture without a mayonnaise base, suitable for vegans too! Invented at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco circa 1920 Continue reading “Green Goddess Dressing Revamped”