Thursday, June 19, 2008

it's mushroom thyme!

Yeah, that thyme/time joke never gets old.

I cannot possibly tweak this recipe at all. Just scoot yourself on over to Orangette's lovely site and do it her way. She's not kidding about the cursing, either. And seriously, don't even serve this. Just eat it right out of the casserole dish-- and if you live in SF, mop up the dribblings with a hunk of seeded sourdough baguette from Arizmendi.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

arugula pesto

One of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco is Greens. When carnivores like my Texan father and my Midwestern stepfather ask me exactly what it is that I eat, I always want to drag them to Greens for a hearty meal. Anyway, for a while they had these potato pancakes with arugula pesto that were just to die for. I have tried to re-create the pesto three times, each time failing-- once, too much garlic (weird), once too many pine nuts-- but today-- today my friends, I hit gold... or perhaps I should say I hit green.

This pesto tastes green. I don't know how else to describe it. It is verdant, vibrant, sharp, and well, spring-y. It would be a perfect compliment to some crusty San Francisco sourdough or a simple farfalle salad with cherry tomatoes, or maybe mashed with some fresh peas as a ravioli filling-- but tonight we are embracing our farmers' market, and drizzling it over a tower of portobello mushroom caps, grilled red onion disks, and thin rounds of sweet potato, and roasted corn on the cob.

about 4 C of fresh arugula (sometimes called rocket)
1 clove garlic
1 t to 1 T fresh lemon juice, to taste
a good fruity olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Put all the arugula in your food processor with a smashed garlic clove and add the lemon juice, a generous glug of olive oil, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Pulse a few times until most of the leaves have broken down, then give it a whir while drizzling in oil to your desired texture. You could certainly stir is some finely grated pecorino cheese at the end but I think the taste of the arugula is simply perfect on its own.

Edited to add: I couldn't resist adding a photo of my farmers' market dinner. The portobellas weren't uniformly sized enough to make towers, and my sweet potatoes had sadly gone bad, so I modified my idea to the above plate-- red onions brushed with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and broiled, mushrooms sauteed in garlic and olive oil, arugula pesto, and fresh sweet corn roasted in its husk. YUM.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Real Food!

Aren't these beautiful??? (Thankfully California tomatoes have been cleared by the FDA.)

I went market crazy today as I am home for a full 10 days. In addition to these beautiful heirloom tomatoes, I got lemons, limes, spinach, arugula, radishes, carrots, red onions, green onions, tofu, nori, mushrooms, leeks, black beans, feta, garlic, plums, pears, shallots, sweet potatoes, apricots, avocados, artichokes, olives, cornichons, pistachios, and beans, tortillas, cereal, and soy milk. Mmmmm!!!

First up I'm going to make this, and then probably something like this, and then most definitely this. I will keep you guys posted.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Quinoa

Usually, when I come home from a long trip, I go on a mini-cleanse. 26 days of eating restaurant food makes me feel bloated and salty, and in dire need of some organ purification. There are tons of unhealthy and downright insane cleanses floating around out there, so I was planning on sharing with you my instructions on how to do it safely and healthily. However, I had no immediate need for the cleanse after this trip, as I got home with food poisoning and my digestive tract was all set, so I'll leave my healthy cleanse instructions for another post.

So today, I bring you an easy and healthy lunch that uses only a few ingredients but satisfies your belly and colon alike. Quinoa is an extremely healthy grain with a high protein content (12-18%) which, unlike most of its relatives, contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it an unusually complete food. This recipe would work be equally delicious with broccoli.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Quinoa

ingredients (for one):
1/4 C quinoa
1 garlic clove, smashed
7-8 small Brussels sprouts, washed and halved
olive oil
salt & pepper
vegetable broth
1 lemon wedge
Parmesan cheese (leave out to make the dish vegan)

In a small pot, mix the 1/4 C quinoa, smashed garlic clove, and equal-ish parts of water and vegetable broth (you could use chicken, or even all water). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is done. Cooking time and liquid amount will vary, but a good rule of thumb is too cook like you would rice.

In a small bowl, pour a generous glug of olive oil over the halved Brussels sprouts to coat. Season liberally with salt and pepper. In a skillet, heat another glug of olive oil to medium/medium-low heat. Place the Brussels sprouts flat side down in the hot oil, add just a SPLASH of veggie broth so they don't burn before they cook, and cover. Let cook for 5-6 minutes (you can pierce one to test for done-ness), then uncover and let the broth cook off, letting the sprouts caramelize to a deep crusty goodness. Flip and caramelize the round side as well. At the very end, squeeze a lemon wedge over the top.

Serve with quinoa and a dusting of parmesan cheese. Enjoy!