Friday, May 11, 2018

Here they are: My new little family

 These little ones entered our world at 5:30 and 5:35 Thursday evening.  MaMa LuLu (Eloise when she's in trouble but she never is) did an excellent job of getting them here.  Meet Levi and Lily
Hi there!
new little family

MaMa LuLu

 How sweet is this

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Sugar snap pea salad with oranges and radishes

sugar snap pea salad with oranges and radishes

Oh this is good:  nice and crunchy, fresh and green with a nice crunch of prochiutto.  I love sugar snap peas and they are one of the first vegetables to plant here in the Spring and one of the great spring vegetables  I watched Valerie Bertinelli make this on her food channel network show last weekend and thought I would try it.  I tweeked the original recipe
The mint and tarragon are essentials to this salad's unique flavor.  Don't forget them.

Here's the recipe:

Sugar snap pea salad with oranges and radishes:

Sugar snap peas - 1 pound
olive oil - 3 TBS
prosciutto - 3 slices or 1 1/2 oz
goat cheese - 1/2 cup
red onion - 1 spring onion or about 2 Tbs of regular red onion
navel oranges - 2 supremed  (peel and pith removed then cut into segments) and 1 for more juice if needed
orange juice, 1/4 cup - use from squeezing extra juice from orange membranes
radishes 6 small, sliced thin.
mint, fresh, 2 Tbs.
tarragon, fresh, 1 Tbs
salt and pepper

The salad dressing is the juice from the orange, olive oil, salt and pepper and the herbs.  


Briefly cook the sugar snap peas in salted boiling water for 2 minutes.  Then strain and place in an ice bath to cool completely.  The peas will be this bright green and a little softer than raw but still crispy. Remove from the ice bath and place them on an absorbent towel to dry.
blanched sugar snap peas
Heat 1 Tbs of the olive oil in a fry pan and add the prosciutto slices.  Cook 1-2 minutes on each side until crispy.

Now for "supreming" an orange:
Cut the top and bottom ends off of the orange.  Then use the knife to remove the side peel leaving no pith.  Cut on either side of each membrane and remove segment.....each segment is called a supreme

navel orange to supreme
Place the orange juice in a large bowl and add the onion slices and orange supremes while you finish the rest of the preparation.  The orange juice will slightly "cook" the onion and take that raw taste out a bit.

supremes and red onion slice in orange juice
Now for the remaining ingredients:

what's left
Add the sugar snap peas, the remaining 2 Tbs of olive oil the radishes, prosciutto and the herbs to the bowl and toss. 
Salt and pepper to taste.
Add the goat cheese right before serving.

ready to serve
This salad is fresh and crispy and very satisfying.  I love the goat cheese addition but when I helped myself to a serving the next day the goat cheese and dissolved into the salad and lost its zip.  If you plan on having this for left overs keep the goat cheese and the prosciutto on the side and add before you serve it....even the next day.

Thank you Valerie!
Buon Apetito!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Restorante Zepplin, Orvieto, Italy, revisited

Chef Lorenzo and me
Eight years ago I was in Orvieto, Italy on a week long watercolor workshop.  One afternoon as part of an excursion our group went to Restorante Zepplin to "cook" the dinner menu.   Well that was right up my alley and I was not shy to jump in.  First assignment: "gnocchi"  That was my first time at making gnocchi from scratch.  And now  I have been asked to teach a cooking class that would include this Italian comfort food dish.  I had to dust off my old notes to find my recipe.  This morning I jumped right in again to see if I could be successful before I reported to my requester that I could do it.
Here is my culinary journey for the day:

gnocchi with kale pesto 
Gnocchi recipe:

1 2/3- lb  that's  1 lb, 11 oz russet potatoes - don't substitute for a less starchy potato
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

Place unpeeled potatoes in a saucepan and cover with 1 inch of salted water.
Bring to boil then reduce temperature and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife.
Drain the potatoes and rinse with cool water until they are cool enough to handle.
Peel the potatoes and return them to the saucepan.
Cook over medium low heat, taking the pan often to evaporate the excess moisture. About 2 minutes.

Press the warm potatoes through a ricer or a course mesh sieve into a bowl.

potato through the ricer
Stir in the eggs and the 2 tsps of salt.

add 2 delicious eggs
Gradually stir in enough of the flour to make a soft dough, taking care not to add too much.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently a few times until it is smooth, adding just enough flour to prevent sticking.
Divide dough into 4 equal portions.

add flour until a perfect dough consistency has been reached
Lightly four a rimmed baking sheet.  Using floured hands, transfer 1 portion of the dough to a lightly floured work surface.
Using your palms, roll the dough to make a rope about 3/4" in diameter.
Cut the rope into 1-inch lengths and roll each piece against a wooded gnocchi roller or make design with a the tines of a fork.
Place on the baking sheet until all are made

roll out into 3/4 inch rope
use gnocchi roller to add those adorable recognizable marks

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add half of the gnocchi and simmer until they rise to the surface, then cook 1 minute more.

place in salted boiling water until the gnocchi starts to pop up to the top

now that they are all floating boil for one more minute
Using a skimmer or birds nest carefully transfer the gnocchi to a warmed serving bowl and cover to keep warm.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water
Add the pesto and about 1/4 cup of the cooking water.  Add more water if needed to make a creamy sauce.
Serve immediately
Top with extra cheese

Now the pesto sauce  X 2

Classic basil pesto:

1-2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil-- I love my new oil from Katz farms in California
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese
salt and fresh pepper to taste:

pesto mise en place
To make the pesto:  With a food processor running, drop the garlic through the feed tube and process until minced.
Turn off the processor, add the pine nuts and purse a few times to chop.
Add the basil and pulse a few times to chop coarsely.
Then with the food processor running...add the 1/2 cup olive oil through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream and process until a smooth, moderately thick paste forms, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese.
Season with salt and pepper.

finished basil pesto

gnocchi with basil pesto
This was really fresh and tangy.  But wait there's more:

Brad suggested a pesto that he had liked from Sur La Table and then I changed it a bit.

Kale and goat cheese pesto:

1/2 lb Tuscan kale, ribs removed
1/2 cup walnut pieces (California walnuts are the best) toasted
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup goat cheese (fresh chèvre)- Thank you CoCo!
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated, more for serving
fresh sea salt and ground pepper to taste

kale pesto mise en place
Cook the kale in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then blanch them in ice water.  This will soften the kale and make it more palatable.  
Dry thoroughly or use a salad spinner to dry then:

The method is the same as for the classic:

In a food processor:
first the garlic
then the walnuts
then the kale
and the goat cheese
then the olive oil through the feeding tube drip
add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste

kale pesto complete

gnocchi with kale pesto 
This pesto is a great choice when you can get kale and not fresh basil.  It is a little more mild but really very little difference in taste.

Try them both!!!!

Buon Apetito!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Time to get out in the garden

It's time to plant peas!!!!!  Sugar snap, snow or shelling.  St. Patrick's day is the rule of thumb whether in California, Washington or Denver.  It's predicted to snow tomorrow but today was a good day to get the peas in to the ground.  My five year old chicken, Zinnia, was right at my pitchfork's edge.  I had forgotten that she is my garden helper.  Why?  There are juicy worms in each turn of the fork.  Zinnia has a full chicken belly tonight and my peas are planted.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Hotel silver- old and shiny

partial collection

I have been on an early Spring cleaning marathon.  Maybe I just wish it were Spring and get this Winter over with.  These last two weeks I have spent in the kitchen cleaning out and organizing the pantry, pulling out the stove and cleaning behind it followed by a fresh coat of paint on the walls and most recently going through my buffet and sifting through the treasures I have collected through my years knowing that it is time to part with some of this stuff.  I came across my collection of hotel silver and decided to give it some love and use it again.  Hotel silver was used in the 19th century in hotels.  The flatware is silver plated and was often marked with the hotel logos.

simple to elaborate

Sheffield, England

Most of the pieces were made in Sheffield, England but not all of them.

German stamping

Here is one from the Jefferson Hotel in St. Louis and one for Louise:
Louise, St. Louis- Jefferson

A couple of years ago I did a watercolor of these beauties:


Even the backs are beautifully designed:

I love the horse on this handle:

and a few more.  One with the letter "K"  I bet this one finds its way to my Kate.
"K" for Kate

beautiful design

No  I'm not letting go of any of these today.  I have about 50 more to polish and tidy up and then I plan on using them for every meal.   I'm happy with washing them by hand.

Hotel silver

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

These two flavors marry together so fresh, lightly sweet and tangy.  When I saw rhubarb in the produce section the other day I was inspired to make this dessert.
strawberry rhubarb crisp

Start with fresh rhubarb-usually fresh in the spring...I got lucky.  I followed Ina Garten's recipe.  I thought about a crostata; a pie would have been nice; but I came back to Ina's recipe:

strawberry rhubarb crisp filling mise en place

Strawberry rhubarb crisp:
4 cups rhubarb, cut into about 1" pieces
4 cup strawberries, use whole if small, cut in half or quarters if large
3/4 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tbs cornstarch

Put rhubarb, strawberries, orange zest and sugar in a bowl and toss.

strawberries, rhubarb and sugar

fruit macerated in sugar
This is what it should look like after the sugar has drawn out the juices of the fruit

Add 1 Tbs of cornstarch to 1/2 cup orange juice.  Mix well and add to the fruit mixture.
Pour into an 8" by 8" baking dish.  This is a gorgeous heart baking dish from Williams-Sonoma

fruit in baking dish, heart

OK Ready for the crisp topping:

crisp topping mise en place
 Topping recipe:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal ( not instant)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
12 Tbs butter, cold
1 tsp salt

In your Kitchenaid fitted with the paddle add all ingredients except for butter.  After well mixed and the 12 Tbs butter in small pieces and blend with the paddle.  This will render a lumping consistency with larger pieces of butter still in mixture.  Sprinkle all ( or some if you want fewer calories) over the filling.

ready for the oven

Place the baking sheet on a parchment lined baking sheet. This will bubble over.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

crisp complete!

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream while still warm.
Bon Appetit!!
Kate's special
Kate and I made an additional crisp - gluten free.  We had only one cup of rhubarb so our math brains had to go to work and down size to one fourth of all the ingredients.  First we found the right size pan.
Use all purpose gluten free flour and gluten free oatmeal instead of regular..  That's all!
How do you divide a tablespoon or a fourth of a cup by 4?!?----Math rocks!

ready for ice cream

footnote: This did bubble over and left a thin layer of syrup on the parchment paper.  It peeled off like a fruit leather.  Delish.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Chipotle Deviled Eggs---Yum

Who doesn't love deviled eggs?  I am so lucky to have fresh eggs every day even when it's zero degrees outside and am always looking for new ways to use them.  A couple of weeks ago I taught a cookbook class on the Instant Pot at Williams-Sonoma and one of the recipes was for Srirachi deviled eggs. They were delicious.  So I decided to give this recipe a try with really fresh eggs.
Fresh eggs are hard to peel once they are hard boiled.  The Instant Pot corrects this problem by cooking them under the pressure cooker mode- 5 minutes.  But honestly I don't have an Instant Pot and thanks to the research of Cooks Illustrated I have resolved that problem without one.   Solution: steam the eggs for 11 minutes.  This allows both the yolks and the whites to cook evenly and release the tight bond from the white to the shell.  Then plunge them into an ice bath and they are simple to peel.

Chipotle deviled eggs

Here's the recipe for Srirachi deviled eggs - actually Chipotle since that's what I had


  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) mayonnaise
  • 5 tsp. sriracha sauce (or chipotle hot sauce)
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

For the bread crumbs:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g) fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Peel and half lengthwise each hard boiled egg
Use a spoon to scoop the yolks into a bowl
Set the egg white halves on a serving platter
******** the one in the picture is from Target, Magnolia farms spring

To the yolks, add mayonnaise, hot sauce, mustard, and vinegar and whisk until no limps remain.
Season with salt and pepper

Bread crumbs:
In a frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil
Add the bread crumbs, garlic, paprika, cayenne, and parsley and cook, stirring constantly until the crumbs are well toasted - about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool.

Either with a spoon or in a pastry bag ( this puts a professional touch on these beauties) with a large star tip pipe about 1 heaping tablespoon into each egg white half.  
Top with bread crumbs and a sprinkle of parsley and serve.

Bon appetit!!

Deviled eggs are so perfect at Easter after the Easter egg hunt is over and you have plenty of eggs to eat.  They are also great for a summer picnic.  It is almost a luxury to have a platter just for deviled eggs but when I saw this one at Target for a reasonable price I brought it home.  Williams-Sonoma also has a pretty good affordable one and also one with a place to put ice in the lower bowl to keep the eggs cool on a summer picnic.