Sunday, May 24, 2015

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

There are some flavors that I simply cannot get enough of.  And such are the flavors of one of my absolute favorite sauces: Roasted Tomatillo Salsa.  I began making this bold, tangy, bright and ever-so-scrumptious treat years ago as my go-to accompaniment to fish tacos--perfect for drizzling over crispy or grilled fish and for dipping with tortilla chips.  But, I soon realized that this treasure could be enjoyed on just about anything, from eggs, to steak, to enchiladas, to any way you please.

Tomatillos are used heavily throughout Mexican and Central American Cuisine

I especially savor this recipe because it yields a warm salsa that's somehow more delectable--a byproduct of the roasted vegetables.  Effortless to bring together, there is every reason for this to become a part of your condiment repertoire forever.  Forever. 

Happy Eating!

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence

1 lb. tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 large white onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves
2 jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup cilantro
1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place vegetables on a baking sheet and roast in pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes.  Remove vegetables from oven and add to blender or food processor, along with salt, cumin, lime juice, vinegar and cilantro.  

Using the pulse function, blend to desired chunky texture.  Check for seasoning, serve and enjoy!
(Cook's Note: If a mild salsa is preferred, halve the jalapeno peppers and remove the ribs and seeds before using.) 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Chilled Red Pepper Soup

So there I was recently--in my kitchen and trying to decide what to cook for dinner.  Oftentimes my taste for something will steer me right away, but on this occasion it wasn't happening.  So I did what any card-carrying food lover would do next--I reached for my sources of inspiration, specifically my Ottolenghi cookbook.  I hadn't cooked from it yet, so I decided that it was time that I finally break it in.

As soon as I could tear myself away from all the glorious dessert recipes (that's honestly what drew me in most when I considered buying this book), I stumbled upon a perfect, warm weather recipe--a chilled version of Red Pepper Soup.

 I'm quite the fan of Red Pepper Soup and my usual preparation, until now, had been a warm, roasted red pepper version.  But hey, it's Spring and the temperatures are rising, so a chilled fresh red pepper version sounded like the refreshing fare I especially crave this time of the year.

Peppers, herbs, aromatics, spices and seasonings combine for a beautiful puree accented with the texture of fresh vegetables stirred in at the end.  Finished off with a garnish of more fresh herbs--and my special addition of a scrumptious, flaky puff pastry crouton--rounded out this simple, yet satisfying, soup.

Happy Eating!

Chilled Red Pepper Soup
Recipe adapted from Ottolenghi The Cookbook

1 large onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 sage leaves, finely chopped
4 large red peppers
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
Fresh basil leaves, chopped
Fresh parsley, chopped
Puff pastry dough
1 egg

Peel the onion and chop it coarsely.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and sage and saute over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

While the onion is cooking, halve the peppers lengthwise.  Take a pepper half, remove the seeds and white flesh, and cut it into 2/3-inch/1.5 cm dice.  Set aside.

Remove the sees from the rest of the peppers, coarsely chop them, and stir into the saucepan with the onions.  Add the salt, bay leaves, cumin, sugar and red pepper flakes.  Saute for another 5 minutes.  Add the stock and bring it to a gentle simmer.  Cover the pot and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes.

Once the peppers are soft, remove the bay leaves from the soup.  While still hot, use a regular blender or an immersion blender to puree the soup until it is totally smooth.  Leave to cool down a little.

Once the soup is just warm, stir in the diced red pepper, lemon zest, and garlic.  Leave until it becomes room temperature and then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.  Remove soup from the fridge half an hour before serving.  Stir well, taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Sprinkle over a generous amount of chopped basil and parsley and top with a crouton.  Serve and enjoy!

Flaky Croutons
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll out, thawed (but chilled) dough on a lightly floured surface.  Use a biscuit or cookie cutter for desired shape and cut dough into individual croutons.  

Place dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and using a fork, prick holes into the dough.  Brush with egg wash (1 egg beaten) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake in oven until golden brown on top, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven, serve and enjoy! 


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

{Beach Style}: One Scarf, Two Ways

Beach holidays are meant to be fun, relaxing and relatively low-key.  And as the scene of oceans and powdered sands and abundant sunshine serves to woo you into an other-worldly dimension of rest and relaxation, a casual, yet chic, style agenda is the only way to go.

When we're talking the bare essentials of a day at the beach--beyond sunscreen, water, sunglasses, some tunes and a good read--my go-to accessory for an instant style kick is a beautiful scarf transformed into an extra-chic cover up.  

Worn around the waist, a large scarf becomes an instant sarong that lends effortless sophistication and a bit of sass to your swimwear look.

 An equally chic alternative is wearing the scarf full-length with a halter-tie at the top. (The flowy effect can't be beat if you happen to catch a good breeze. :) )

So as your travels lead you oceanfront in the days ahead, be sure this essential lands in your beach bag. Your R&R agenda will then be officially--and stylishly--complete.

Happy Styling and Travels!


Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Cook and Her Books

Now that it's Thursday, my mind is taking its initial leap towards the weekend--or rather to what to cook and eat over the weekend.  I suppose I foster similar notions throughout the week to some degree or another, but with the bit of extra time and leisure typically afforded at the week's wind down, I allow myself to ponder more.

Grabbing vintage cooking magazines, searching my favorite digital sources (like this app I discovered), flipping through current subscriptions and my own over-stuffed recipe book from my 'print everything' streak of days gone by, all offer the inspiration that I've come to rely upon.  But what truly gets me going and planning and, yes, possibly salivating, most of all are my books--my treasured (and growing) collection of cookbooks.

I've always been a lover of books and the written word.  And when my love for food and cooking emerged, that affinity naturally carried over to cookbooks.  Although they're not novels or memoirs or the like, they are lively and beautiful and motivating.  I curl up with them in bed and take sheer pleasure out of the decadence between their pages.  With no formal culinary education to tout, my cookbooks (along with all of my other sources of cooking knowledge and inspiration) remain my most beloved culinary tutor.

While I may never cook my way through every recipe I've amassed, the possibility alone thrills me.  And that's simply because this cook loves her books--and wouldn't have it any other way.

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

D.M.R. Fine Foods Pop-Up Cooking School: Savor the Flavors of Spring

Although the 'April Showers' mantra has been proving true of late (rain, rain go away...), I'm elated that Spring has finally sprung again.  And I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than with a Spring-themed menu for my upcoming Techniques and Tastings(TM) Pop-Up Cooking School!

On the afternoon of May 2nd, you're invited to join me for our first class of 2015 where we'll indulge once again in a fabulous time of food, learning and fun--replete with up close and personal cooking instruction, scrumptious tastings, recipes and more, at the beautiful host venue, Lovable Foods.

Mark your calendars and make plans to attend for a delicious afternoon to remember!  For full event details, including our featured menu, and registration--go here.  Seating is limited, so don't delay!

I look forward to seeing you there and sharing...

Happy Eating!

P.S. If you missed our 2014 Spring and Summer Pop-Up Cooking Schools, check out the highlights--here and here.  You can also visit our Facebook page to see what previous attendees had to say.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Swoon-Worthy Interiors

"An interior is the natural projection of the soul." ~Coco Chanel 

Coco said it best.

And gorgeously designed home interiors are especially soul-stirring and wake-up the dreamer in me.  Growing up, I (reluctantly) watched my mom and aunts throw themselves into decorating their homes.  And nothing has changed on that front these many years later.  Well, nothing, except my awakening to an equal thrill and love for creating my own world of beautiful and inspiring personal spaces.

And because of that, I love to seek inspiration and turn-up the dream machine for all the possibilities interior design can offer.  I have a running list of everything from closets, to kitchens, to bathrooms, to living rooms, to libraries, accessories, and more, to fuel my penchant and keep me swooning.

For more inspiration, visit my Home/Interiors board on Pinterest.

Happy Living!

Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Raspberry-Ricotta Cake

The trifecta of berries, baking and dessert seems to have made its way into my kitchen chronicles again recently.  I know I've been sharing a bit along these lines lately, but can you blame me?  Well, if I told you that this latest confection came together in just over an hour (baking time included), you would surely understand why I just had to share.

I discovered the recipe in my March issue of Bon Appetit and knew I would be baking it soon.  And why not?  It's quick, easy (you don't even need a mixer), and delivers up a moist, sweet, berrylicious bite that's ideal for a last minute dessert--or, as in my case, a just because treat.

  Springtime, berries, cake and the joy of baking.  What could be better?

Happy Eating! 

Raspberry-Ricotta Cake
Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups ricotta
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup frozen raspberries (or blackberries), divided

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a 9"-diameter cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray.  Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk eggs, ricotta and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth; fold into dry ingredients just until blended.  Then fold in butter, followed by 3/4 cup of raspberries, taking care not to crush berries.  Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining 1/4 cup raspberries over top.

Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes.  Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.

Do Ahead: Cake can be made 2 days ahead.  Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.   
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