Saturday, February 26, 2011

Less Meat, More Veggies

I introduced "Meatless Mondays" to my dinner routine about a month ago as a way to challenge myself to try new recipes and new ingredients. It has since become an obsession and is no longer limited to Mondays. I should stipulate that my husband is still a rampant carnivore so I have been making my meatless dishes for one, therefore, recipe calculation is a little sketchy and I apologize for the lack of a quantitative recipe here. I am literally throwing things together off to the side while the meat sears and caramelizes... taunting me with it's delicious smell. Nevertheless, I have become quite a fan of my veggie concoctions and I am happy to be branching out. Today's lunch was a mixture of quinoa, tart apples, green onions, chopped almonds, garlic, and cilantro tossed in a dressing made from coconut milk, lime juice, curry powder, salt and a little canola oil. It was a flavorful, fresh tasting salad that was a perfect afternoon meal on it's own... and was even more delicious as a dinner served next to some spicy grilled shrimp. I can't quit you, meat. I can't.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Red Pepper Coconut Soup

This week, the snow melted and I actually saw my yard again... in all it's disheveled glory. Yesterday was spent cleaning the garden beds, tidying up the dog toys that emerged from their frozen cocoons, and planning for this year's homegrown goodness. Unfortunately, the warm weather was short lived and today was riddled with rain and wind. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade... right? Since I was stuck in the house, coincidentally with a fridge full of red peppers, I made red pepper soup. A simple mix of roasted red peppers, coconut milk and lime zest, this soup was delightfully sweet and full of flavor. Served with a few slices of crusty bread, it was a perfect lunch for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Hurry up, Spring... I am ready to be outside!

6 red peppers - roasted, peeled, and deseeded
1 can coconut milk
zest of 1 lime

Puree roasted red peppers. Push puree through sieve to remove large pieces. Combine red pepper base with coconut milk and simmer in saucepan. Mix in lime zest and serve.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sugar and Spice

Downtown is adorned with ice carvings, the temperature has been steadily hovering around 30 degrees, and there is snow as far as the eye can see... and yet, I have been craving ice cream. I have a sneaking suspicion that my hunger may have been influenced by the week long ice cream shoot at the studio. Unfortunately, I do not own an ice cream maker. My modest two bedroom house is equipped with a humble kitchen in which space is quite limited, so the small electrics are kept to a minimum. The coffee pot, food processor, and toaster are priorities on the counter while all the others are on a waiting list. Nevertheless, my mission was to make ice cream today. I mixed 1 cup of greek yogurt with a healthy dose of plums that had been simmered in ginger, cinnamon and sugar. Then, I folded in a cup of heavy cream that had been freshly whipped and nestled the concoction deep in the freezer for about 5 hours. I'll admit that it wasn't as smooth as churned ice cream, but it was sugar and spice and everything nice. Here's to a happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Defining Style

An amuse bouche is supposed to sum up a chef's approach to cooking in one bite. While I am not a chef, I have been trying to define my culinary voice. Perhaps it's my looming 35th birthday or maybe it's just a hitch in my creative giddy up, but defining my style has been daunting. Is my approach whimsical? Is it sophisticated? Is it somewhere in between? Who knows... it seems to be a moving target. As a result, I am going back to basics. An homage to humble flavors, I offer this simple salad on a stick. Crisp bitter lettuce, spicy paper thin radishes, and a sweet cherry tomato combine to make a one bite wonder. Served directly on a knife, this presentation demands attention and articulates that simple doesn't mean without style.