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Thursday
Aug162012

PANTRY PEANUT SAUCE

This is the peanut sauce that was intended to be easy, quick, every day sauce and then things just kept getting thrown into the blender. Lots of finger dipping, tasting...more ginger! dip. add coconut! dip. more spice! What I have below is a general recipe, but you'll need to taste and adjust as you wish. I may have lost track of a half teaspoon here or there. We didn't want it so peanuty that it resembled more of a spread for toast than an asian sauce, so the coconut milk and bit of toasted sesame oil help rein that in (see note). We like lots of ginger, always citrus, just enough spice to warm your throat and poof, a great sauce that will be used for a number or quick dishes this weekend. The photo here shows it on a simple asian sandwich with seared tofu, cucumber, carrots and scallions but I also plan on using it as a dressing for a quinoa and kale salad or making some spring rolls packed with veggies with this on the side for dipping. However you wish, meals seem to come together quite quickly with a good sauce on hand.

PANTRY PEANUT SAUCE // Makes about 1.5 cups

I imagine this would last a good two weeks in the fridge without comprimising too much on flavor. Don't quote me, I don't see it lasting long enough to tell, but it's an educated guess.

  • 1 cup creamy, unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • zest and juice of one large lime
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2-4 Tbsp. light coconut milk or water, as needed*
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, optional

Add all of the ingredients besides cilantro to a powerful blender or food processor and run until smooth. Taste and adjust as preferred. Add the cilantro, give it another few pulses and keep in an airtight jar in the fridge.

* I used coconut milk for thinning because I had some open. It also helped cut the peanut butter flavor and made it a bit more savory. Water will work fine to thin, just expect the peanut flavor to be more forward. It will firm up a bit in the fridge, so keep that in mind while choosing your consistency.

Tuesday
Aug072012

AT LONG LAST

When you're on a swing, without a push start from the ground, you begin pumping your legs to get the thing moving. Leaning far back to move the swing forward, and then bending the knees back trying to generate some momentum. At first it feels like you're going nowhere, that people are watching you laboriously thrust yourself back and forth, barely off the ground. Awkward as it is, you are moving, you are gaining energy. We started this cookbook nearly two years ago, and in just a couple weeks it will be out in the world. It started with lots of work and food and research and mistakes and emails and more food - the pumping of our legs. With a blog, you get a response almost immediately, but you have to sit on a book for awhile before it generates feedback. That time that we've been sitting with it has made me anxious, so I'm thrilled to set it loose. We are no longer flailing our legs to get off the ground, we're moving, really swinging, on this ride of writing a cookbook. I have a big stack in our office for family and friends, copies are in the mail to my recipe testers, and there are a number on the desks of media folks. This is the part where you just allow the momentum to take you. And even if it's been years since you've found yourself on a swing, you know that feeling - once the cadence takes over, the woosh of speed, the moment of weightlessness, arcing back again - and the freedom of giving in.

Below is our homemade promo video. We improvised some material and Hugh did a fabulous job of teaching himself how to shoot and edit, if I do say so myself. It's so "us," incapable of taking ourselves too seriously,  and it makes me happy. 

Ten Speed Press also put together a great sampler of a few of the recipes from the book so you can get a taste of what's inside.

Tuesday
Jul312012

BLUEBERRY-OAT BISCUIT COBBLER

I'm guessing I'm not the only one who's been on a fruit bender as of late. My favorite is strawberries (the best of which have passed in my particular opinion), with cherries, peaches, nectarines and blueberries tied for second place, which means this time of year I am in fruit euphoria. Most of it is getting eaten raw, but in order to get my better half to really get into this goodness, it needs to make it's way into a baked good or dessert of sorts. I found this recipe while flipping through the recent Bon Appetit and the simplicity of it caught my eye. I reduced the sugar, added in some whole grains, and now have a wonderful cobbler that dishes up beautifully as dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but can also be excused as a breakfast treat with a dollop of yogurt on top.

BLUEBERRY OAT BISCUIT COBBLER // Serves 6

Adapted from August 2012 Bon Appetit
The magazine also suggests that this can be done in six 6 oz. ramekins which sounds perfect for having people over. I think this would work great with a mix of fruits too - maybe mix in some blackberries or peaches.

 

  • 1 cup plus 3 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour (I imagine spelt or quinoa flour would work)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3 Tbsp. plus 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 5 Tbsp. chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2'' pieces
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 6 cups blueberries (about 2 lbs.)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon zest
  • vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt for serving

 

Preheat oven to 375'. Whisk 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup oats, 3 Tbsp. sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add butter, using your fingers and smush it in to make pea-size clumps. Gently mix in yogurt. Knead until biscuit-like dough forms, being careful not to overmix.

Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, remaining 3 Tbsp. flour, berries, juice and zest in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Pour into 8x8 baking dish (or ramekins). Tear biscuit topping into quarter sized pieces and scatter over berries.

Bake cobbler until juices and thick and bubbling and topping is cooked through and golden brown. 20-25 minutes for ramekins and 40-45 minutes for baking dish. Let is rest at least 45 minutes.

Sunday
Jul222012

A SIMPLE TOMATO + BURRATA SALAD

We don't have cable, and I don't do a whole lot of internet searching that is not food related, so a lot of news passes me by. It may lead me to be a bit out of touch, naive concerning political matters, and over reliant on my twitter feed to update me on breaking headlines, but it has worked for us. I want to believe that we are capable of being good to each other, and too much news convinces me otherwise. From world wide issues over politics, money and religion, to the tragic shooting in Colorado, or something right under your nose like a stranger stealing your stuff, I am completely dismayed that people want to harm other people... people they don't even know. Hugh and I chatted in circles, not understanding this motivation. It can be overwhelming, fear-inducing really, to think of the sadness and hurt, all the "bad things that happen to good people," and how I feel the only way to encourage other's to be good to people, is to be good to them yourself. Ironic how that conversation led me in to the topic of today's post about treatment and wages on our tomato fields in America. Tomato fields in Florida have been quoted as being "ground zero" for modern day slavery. It all starts somewhere doesn't it? Today we are making noise for change and standing up for slave free tomatoes

This summer, International Justice Mission has partnered with The Coalition of Immokalee Workers and The Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC) to create Recipe for Change, a campaign to raise awareness about injustices in U.S. tomato fields. The goal is to create a zero tolerance policy for slavery, child labor and sexual abuse. Through both of these organizations and consumers like us, we want to ask the CEOs of major supermarket chains to endorse the Fair Food Program, ensuring the tomatoes you buy are slave-freeCorporations that join the Fair Food Program agree to pay a small price increase for fairly harvested tomatoes (1.5cents per pound) and promise to shift purchases to the Florida tomato growers who abide by these standards and away from those who don't. The locations that support slave-free tomatoes are Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Farmers Markets and CSA programs. 

Spreading the word is the first step to educating people about this problem. If you feel called to action, you can send a letter using this link to contribute to the voice that is trying to make a change. Support the cause by purchasing tomatoes from the slave-free locations mentioned above. 

A SIMPLE TOMATO + BURRATA SALAD // Serves 4-6

Inspired by Big Sur Bakery Cookbook

Take note of the size of your burrata balls, you may need two. I assume about 4 oz. per person. This salad is very free form, don't pay too close attention to measurements. It's a summertime salad, it's meant to be easy going. 

 

1 cup torn bread (preferably from a baguette or fresh loaf)

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 sea salt

fresh ground pepper

 

1 1/2 lbs/ 4-ish heirloom tomatoes

sea salt + fresh ground pepper

2 cups soft lettuce of choice (arugula, spring greens, butter lettuce)

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

1 shallot, finely chopped

8 oz. burrata cheese, room temperature

good quality extra virgin olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven (ideally toaster oven) to 400'. Spread the torn bread on a baking tray, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are crisp and brown. Set aside. 

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4'' slices and arrange them on your serving tray in concentric circles. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and the chopped shallots. Chop the soft greens and basil together, toss them gently with 1 tsp. each olive oil and balsamic vinegar and then mound it in the center of the tomatoes. Distribute the croutons on top and then place the burrata in the center of the lettuce pile, breaking open the creamy center if you'd like. 

Drizzle the burrata with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste and finish with a sprinkle of salt and fresh ground pepper. 

Tuesday
Jul102012

ROASTED ZUCCHINI, BLACK BEAN + GOAT CHEESE ENCHILADAS

Between an oven that heats the entire upstairs to 350' or a charcoal BBQ that requires a bit of forethought to get going, turning on either for summer cooking is a bit of a commitment. I have been deterred from making enchiladas for the site because they are difficult to photograph, so not only did this recipe come with an obligation to a sweaty mid-July photo session with the oven on, but also the challenge of making them look as good as they tasted. We make enchiladas pretty often. I appreciate having them for dinner and then warming them back up with scrambled eggs for a slightly different meal the next day. I've experimented with a butternut squash, greens and white cheddar version in the fall and then stuffing them with a bounty of zucchini in the summer with a slight tang of soft goat cheese. A number of recipes will have you fry the tortillas before filling, but I don't find that necessary for caloric content or texture. 

We added a few dates for upcoming book events. I would really love to meet as many of you as possible, so please come if you live anywhere close to these cities! A Seattle event of some sort will hopefully come around at a later date (please feel free to check in on The Book page, as well, for updates).

August 28th - Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Huntington Beach, CA at 7pm

September 9th - Omnivore in San Francisco, CA at 3 pm

September 22nd - Powell's Books in Portland, OR. Time TBD

ROASTED ZUCCHINI, BLACK BEAN + GOAT CHEESE ENCHILADAS // Serves 4

While short on time, I use the enchilada sauce from Trader Joes. It's thick and has a great kick to it. I have also made this one and loved it. Really good option if you have some time to make your own.

I would consider the below recipe pretty easy on the cheese all things considered in the enchilada world, but I like that for summer meals. If you want to taste more of the goat cheese, add more on top before or after baking.

3 large zucchini/summer squash, 1/4'' dice (about 4 cups once chopped)

3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 1/4 tsp. lemon pepper/garlic salt

1/2 of a small red onion or 4 green onions, finely chopped

1 15 oz. can/ 2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained

5 oz. soft goat cheese

10ish corn tortillas (the amount will depend on how full you stuff them)

12 oz. red enchilada sauce, see note above

/ for serving /

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

2 avocados

squeeze of lime

Preheat oven to 425'. Place the zucchini on a rimmed baking tray, drizzle with 2 tsp. of the olive oil and lemon pepper and toss everything with your hands to coat. Spread in an even layer, using two pans if it looks crowded. Roast on the middle rack for about 30 minutes until the edges are brown. Remove to cool. Turn the oven down to 375'.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion and black beans. Set aside 1 oz. of the goat cheese for the topping and crumble the rest into the bowl. Add the cooled zucchini and toss everything together very gently.

Over a burner, lightly char both sides of the tortillas, about 1 minute per side. This is not an essential step, but I find that it helps keep the tortillas a bit sturdier and it looks pretty. Set up your assembly with the tortillas and the filling.

In an oven proof rectangle dish (I used a 7x13 rectangle but a 9x13 works great too) pour 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of the dish. Working with one tortilla at a time, fill it with a heaping 1/4 cup of the filling and roll it up like a taquito. Lay it in the dish seam-side down. Continue with remaining tortillas, squeezing the enchiladas in tight (you may have extra filling, it's great on it's own as a snack or in a quesadilla). Brush the tops of the tortillas with the remaining olive oil. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle reserved goat cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes until warmed through and the top is just crisp. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Top with lots of chopped cilantro, diced avocado and a squeeze of lime.