Monday, July 30, 2012

green quinoa with corn, scallions, plum, and pistachios

what up kitty kats?

tonight, ladies across the land will gather, sip their wine, and watch the ever terrible bachelor pad. why can't i revert my eyeballs? just, why?

it's a show that demonstrates all the things i'm bad at. lying. being loud and super extroverted. and wearing long beaded gowns.

let's delve into this further.
1. lying. i can't do it. i start smiling uncontrollably.

second. loud extroverted people. i hear you. i respect you. i often admire you. but alas, i am not of your kin, and this is fine with me.

3. long gowns. i don't think my body was built for long gowns. if i got in one, i might start singing opera, i'd feel extremely not like myself, and my arms wouldn't know what to do.

so, like many other things in life, i'd rather just eat food and watch.

my weekend was half work half play. half pan of brownies.

there was beachtime.
patterns in the sand, warm and breezy. quality time with my homegirl,
peaches, cold wine, and chips. july beachtime could never get old.

i made this lemon olive oil cake, which i'm happy to report was just splendid.
and i made quinoa. a big fluffy pot of it. then piled in the summer produce.

corn. scallions. avocado. diced red plum. pistachio nuts. arugula. mint. cilantro. STUFF.

crunchy sweet salty tangy fresh. this quinoa salad has all the food adjectives in the world! yay.

Green Quinoa with Corn, Scallions, Plum, and Pistachios
adapted from epicurious

these are very loose measurements, it's extremely adaptable. 
use how much of whatever your heart desires! 

4-5 ears corn, shucked
zest of 2 lemons
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more if needed
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups quinoa
4 scallions, chopped
handful of finely chopped red onion
1 ripe plum, diced
a few large handfuls arugula
a few handfuls of roasted pistachio nuts
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

place the corn in a large pot, cover with water, and then bring to a boil. take pot off the heat, use tongs to remove corn and set on a plate to cool, then cut kernels off cobs with a large knife. 
wash quinoa well in a bowl of cold water and drain. place quinoa in a large pot with 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. lower the heat and cook covered for 15 minutes, then turn the heat off and remove the pot from the burner. let stand for 5 minutes covered. then fluff with a fork and set aside to cool. 

whisk together lemon zest, juice, butter, oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl until combined. 
in a large bowl, toss quinoa with the dressing, corn, and the rest of the ingredients. add salt and pepper to taste. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

rainbow summer + fruit nut loaf

rainbows are all around me. oh, i love them.

mmm. you sexy thing.

this picture could have been pink...if i could relax with the watermelon. but i never want to stop.
More, bring me more!

focus, i must.


and wait. fruit nut loaf too.

it's rainbow-ish right?

it's a heavy loaf of goodness, a loaf to squash all others!
the cast of characters: dried apricots, dried figs, dates, prunes, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds. and only a small bit of brown sugar flecked batter to hold them all together.

it might be the best thing to happen to a cheeseboard since the invention of brie.
so brie should certainly be next to it. or goat cheese. or any cheese. maybe some rosemary and honey.

sliced super thin with a sharp serrated knife, every slice is major art. stained glass mosaic art.

seriously. so so good.

Fruit Nut Loaf
adapted from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dried whole apricots
1/2 cup dried prunes
1/2 cup dried figs, halved
1 cup moist dates, quartered
1 cup walnut halves
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup almonds
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract or emulsion

preheat oven to 300. line the bottom and sides of a 9 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. 
in a large bowl, whisk the flour with the salt, baking soda, and baking powder. add the brown sugar, all the dried fruit and nuts, and mix thoroughly with your fingertips. set aside. 
in a small bowl, beat the eggs with the vanilla extract and almond extract. pour egg mixture over the fruit and nut mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon until all the fruits and nuts are coated with the batter. scrape into the prepared loaf pan. 
bake until the top is deep golden brown and the batter clinging to the fruit seems set, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. if the top appears to be browning too much, tent it with a piece of aluminum foil. cool completely in the pan on a rack. 
when completely cool, remove the cake from the pan. it will keep wrapped airtight in plastic, for over a week or can be kept fresh for weeks in the refrigerator.  and it also freezes beautifully. to serve, cut into thin slices with a sharp serrated knife. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

banana cream puffs

haloo! how is everyone's day?
or better yet, how was everyone's weekend? was the weekend better than today? umm, yes, probably.

i did some things that i liked.

i weekend lunched, like a lady does. we sat outside. i listened to facts about batman. i drank iced tea and got a salad. that's a lady move.

there was walking and talking, and stopping to watch a lovely casual wedding on the beach on the way home.

i baked chocolate chip cookies. milk and dark chocolate. sea salt.

i ate dinner at 10. woops. ..whatever.

there were also things i didn't like. a weekend rarely goes off without a hitch or two.

well, i fell asleep watching a movie again. i do that, and the fact that i do it fairly often annoys me.

i also got served with a parking ticket. sixty dollars!?! come on. i was three minutes late...a nickel's worth of minutes. i screamed in the car and let myself be mad for twenty minutes, then i got over it.
evening coffee on the lifeguard tower calmed my nerves.

a cream puff will also calm some parking ticket nerves. unless the first pan of cutie puffs deflate when you them out of the oven. sigh.
that happened. it made me feel sad. i mourned for them.

but then the second pan...oh baby. perfect.

alright, let's get our cream puff on. let's puff this place up.  (with banana cream!)

banana cream, light, luscious, and truly banana-y.

i'm in love. i'd eat these all day long. oh wait, i might have [definitely] done that.

Banana Cream Puffs
adapted from pierre herme, dorie greenspan, and momofuku milk bar

for the cream puffs:
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs

line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. fit 1 large pastry bag or plastic freezer bag with a small round tip. 
bring milk, butter, 1 tsp sugar, salt and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium sauce-pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. add flour all at once; reduce heat to medium-low. stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until a dough forms and pulls away from sides of the pan, 1-2 minutes. continue to stir quickly until a thin dry film forms on the bottm and sides of pot, about 1 minute. transfer to a bowl. add 1 eggs and stir vigorously with a wood spoon until egg is incorporated and dough looks dry again, about 2 minutes. repeat with 4 more eggs, adding one at a time and beating. the dough should be smooth, shiny and thickened. 
spoon dough into prepared pastry bag; pipe out little 2-3 inch rounds onto the baking sheets. 
preheat oven to 350. whisk remaining egg with a tablespoon of water and brush the dudes with egg wash. 
put the baking sheet in the oven and turn the oven off. after 10 minutes, heat oven to 350 and bake for 10 minutes. then rotate the pans, front to back, and continue to bake until they turn deep golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. the puffs will deflate if removed from the oven before fully baked! 

to assemble cream puffs: there are two ways to easily fill the cream puffs. take your cooled puffs, and using a serrated knife, slice off the top third of each. fill a piping bag fitted with a round tip with the banana cream and pipe the cream into the puffs, then smush the tops back on. the second method is to inject the cream straight into the puff from the bottom. just flip them over, insert the small round metal tip of the pastry bag into the center, and squeeze until the puffs feel heavier and fuller. dust the tops with confectioners' sugar and serve. 

Banana Cream

225 g very ripe bananas (about 2)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 egg yolks
2 gelatin sheets
3 tbsp butter
couple drops of yellow food coloring
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar

combine the bananas, cream, and milk in a blender and puree until totally smooth. add the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and yolks and continue to blend until homogenous. pour the mixture into a medium saucepan. clean the blender canister. 
bloom the gelatin in ice water. whisk the contents of the pan and heat over medium-low heat. as the banana mixture heats up, it will thicken bring to a boil and then continue to whisk quickly for 2 minutes to fully cook out the starch. the mixture will resemble thick glue, bordering on cement. 
dump the contents of the pan back into the blender. add the bloomed gelatin (making sure to squeeze out the water) and the butter and blend until the mixture is smooth. color the mixture with the few drops of yellow food coloring, just to perk up the color, and get the cream not looking so blah. 
transfer the mixture to a heatsafe container and put in the fridge for 30-60 minutes until it cools completely. 
with an electric mixer, whip the cream and confectioners' sugar to medium-soft peaks. add the cold banana mixture to the whipped cream and slowly whisk until evenly colored and homogenous. in an airtight container, the banana cream will keep fresh for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

pea basil soup + spicy roasted pepitas + candy

today i took a very unexpected and unfortunate nap.

naps are the biggest tease.

going into a nap is one of the best feelings.

but waking up from one...

the worst. everything feels clammy.

and my mood is now funky because i'm remembering so clearly all those strange, probably disturbing nap dreams i was having.

as a kid, naps were a way of life. there are only so many hours of playing hide-and-go-seek-in-the-dark that a small child can take before it turns into cranky brat demon kid.
it was then that a good daily nap was normal and essential.

and now, as a grown up gal, sleeping during light hours of the day can feel weird.

as a kid, i also ate frozen peas. probably after my nap.
as a larger grown up person, eating frozen peas is weird. borderline gross. i don't feel like doing that ever again.

unless i found myself in a tom hanks cast away situation...a situation i thought about often when i was in middle school, a time when i was obsessed with the movie cast away.
like an awkward amount of obsessed for a 12 year old.

i'd make all my friends watch it. i'd think about gathering water from leaves. it was weird. it still is weird.

but really, what i was coming around to say, is that out on that island, frozen peas would be gold.

maybe i'd even let them thaw out.

i probably wouldn't have basil or an onion. unless the fedex plane landed right near the best, most convenient island ever.

enough of this. i'm making soup. who me? go figure. I LOVE SOUP.

green soup, just for two. light and naturally sweet. good for our bods. topped with yogurt, spicy roasted pepitas, and sauce that is hot.

i made a bunch of these spicy pepitas. they were snacked on hard. they went into a salad with mango. they were sprinkled on this soup.

and the rest were made into candy. itsa nice. itsa pretty.

i will eat this soup with glee. but i will not be watching glee. and i will not accidentally fall asleep.
i might watch cast away.

Pea and Basil Soup for Two
adapted from goop

1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion
about 10 oz fresh or frozen green peas
2 1/2 cups water or stock
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
greek yogurt
spicy roasted pepitas (recipe below)
hot sauce

heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. add the garlic and saute for a minute until fragrant. add the peas and cook for 5 minutes until bright. add the water, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil, lower the heat and cover. cook for 8-10 minutes or until the peas are tender. pour the soup into a blender and puree with the basil until very smooth. i like to do this in two batches so that the steam doesn't blow the lid. serve the soup with a squeeze of lemon, dollop of greek yogurt, hot sauce, and spicy roasted pepitas. 

Spicy Roasted Pepitas
adapted from epicurious

2 cups pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 large egg white
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
3 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp sea salt

preheat oven to 350. spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. mix together the spices, sugar, and salt. beat egg white in a small bowl until frothy. mix together with the nuts and the spices and stir to coat. spread pepitas in a single layer on baking sheet. bake until they are golden and dry, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. remove from oven and break up pepitas with a fork while they're still warm. 

Spicy Pepita Brittle

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3/4-1 cup spicy roasted pepitas

line a baking sheet with a silpat, if you have one. if not, you can still make it, it just might be a tad more difficult to remove from the baking sheet. combine the sugar with the water in a small saucepan over medium heat. cook until sugar melts and caramelizes, and turns a amber, caramely color. stir in the pepitas and spread on the baking sheet quickly. let cool and the brittle will harden. break into pieces.