Thursday, March 16, 2017

Lemon Lavender Bars

I've been meaning to make these for the longest time. I adapted the recipe from a country living lemon lavender bar recipe I clipped a while back. It's so satisfying to have finally made them. Even my two year old son loved this more sophisticated treat. These bars are the perfect balance of tart and sweet, and the added lavender gives them a light herbal flavor. The contrast of bright yellow and deep purple make them pop. Don't wait as long as I did to make these bars! 

2 cups flour 
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tsp salt
2 sticks butter
3 tsp lavender
2 cups sugar 
6 large eggs
2 large egg yolks 
1 cup fresh lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9x13 with parchment paper leaving extra over the rim of the pan. In a food processor or blender, pulse 1 1/4 cups flour, confectioner's sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add butter, 2 teaspoons lavender and pulse until mixture forms large thick crumbs. Place dough mixture into lined pan and evenly work dough, pressing it thinly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Bake crust until golden, about 22 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. 
Reduce oven temperature to 325°. In a large mixing bowl, beat together sugar, eggs, and egg yolks until pale yellow. Beat in lemon juice and zest, remaining flour and salt until completely combined. 
Pour filling into crust and sprinkle with remaining lavender. Bake until set about 25 minutes. Remove from pan and cool for 20 minutes. Then refrigerate for 1 hour. Dust the top with confectioner's sugar and cut into even squares. 

Yields: 30 squares

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Parsnip Chicken Soup

  Soup is one of my favorite things to make in the kitchen. I love how easy it is to throw things together- chopping, sweating vegetables, adding chicken or meat, or fish. Sprinkling a light pinch of salt and pepper, or marrying flavors like saffron, lemon, and leeks. Soups always taste even better the next day, and freeze well too- making it a great week night dinner option that lasts all week. 
4 large leeks, washed, halved, and medium chopped 
2 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, rinsed and chopped
3 cups fresh spinach
1 cup fresh cilantro 
6 baby chicken legs + chicken net
kosher salt 
coarse black pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Heat oil in a large pot over a medium high flame. Once oil is hot, add the chopped leeks. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, stir, and cover to let leeks sweat about 3-5 minutes. Once leeks are translucent uncover pot and continue to gently stir until leeks begin to lightly brown. Add chicken legs to chicken net with cilantro and tie closed. Place chicken net into pot. Pour 5 cups of water over chicken, submerging the chicken legs. Cover pot, and bring water to a rapid boil for about 15 minutes, and reduce flame to a medium heat continuing a light boil for about 40 minutes. Remove chicken net from pot and reserve chicken for later. Add chopped parsnips and potatoes to water. Bring water to a boil, cover pot for 15 minutes. Once vegetables are soft, puree soup. Remove skin from chicken, chop chicken up and return to soup. Give a nice stir to incorporate all chicken pieces. Add fresh spinach to soup. gently stir in. Season with salt and pepper. lightly drizzle soup bowls with olive oil, and a little cilantro before serving. 

Yields: 8 servings 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Orange Chicken & Kabocha Squash Puree

This is a vibrant, and extremely flavorful dish, that is simple to cook and quickly prepared. Here's a realistic dish- if you're short on time but want to make something new and beautiful. After crisping the chicken skin it is important to keep it uncovered, and dry to keep it from becoming soft.

4 Chicken Capons
2 blood oranges, thinly sliced
1 naval orange
1 tbsp orange zest
kosher salt
coarse black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh mint

Squash Puree
1 kabocha squash, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup coconut cream
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp coarse black pepper
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat oven to 425°. Rinse and pat dry chicken capons. sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large cast iron, or nonstick pan. Once oil is hot add capons, skin side down, letting chicken skin brown for 2 minutes. Remove chicken from pan skin side up (to keep it from uncrisping). Line a large baking sheet. Add the oil from the pan, and squeeze juice of naval orange as well. lay out sliced blood oranges. Top oil and orange slices with capons, skin side up. Sprinkle with a mint, and orange zest. (you don't want to wet the skin of the chicken to keep it crisp) Bake on the middle rack of the oven, uncovered from 20-25 minutes. Once chicken is golden brown and crisp remove from oven.

In a large pot add squash and cover with water. bring to a rapid boil. Once squash is soft about 20 minutes, drain water from pot. Add coconut cream, kosher salt, pepper, and orange juice. Stir well.

Top puree with chicken, and orange slices. Spoon over sauce from pan.

Yields: 4 servings

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Chocolate Coconut Cookies

   Since coconut flour is super absorbent this recipe calls for a lot of liquid. Be sure to stir dough well, and while forming cookies gently placing them on the cookie sheet for baking. Do not skip the salt in the dough, or in the topping. The cookies plain are extremely concentrated in coconut flavor so I only recommend making these if you'll go ahead with the rest of the recipe- and cover them in the ganache, and topping with salt- since this balances out the flavor. 

Yields:40 cookies
1 2/3cup coconut flour 
3 eggs 
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup cane sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
5 tbsp coconut cream 
1 tsp vanilla extract 

2 cups desiccated coconut
1/4 cup Maldon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°. In a mixing bowl mix all cookie ingredients until well combined. Form dough into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes. On a floured surface roll out dough to 1" thick. With a floured triangle cookie cutter, cut out dough. Gently place cookies on a lined baking sheet. Bake cookies on the middle rack of the oven for 7-10 minutes until cookies are golden. place cookies on a cooling rack until cool. In a microwave proof bowl add the chocolate chips, peanut butter, coconut cream, and vanilla. Gently stir and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring every 30 seconds, until ganache is smooth and completely melted for a total of 3 times. Dip each cookie into ganache until completely covered. place on a line baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt and coconut. continue the process for all the cookies. Refrigerate cookies for 2 hours until ganache has completely hardened. Keep cookies in an airtight container for 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Filet Mignon & Broccolini Over Spicy Polenta

 Making steak at home is really simple. All you need is a good kitchen pan to help you get a nice crust, and hot oven to finish it off. It's really that simple- do not be intimidated by this! It's honestly harder to make a chicken. For the Polenta you can substitute the almond milk for soy or rice milk- just use the unsweetened version of whatever you chose. 

2- 2 inch thick filet mignon
kosher salt 
coarse black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups polenta, medium chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp crushed chili flakes 
1 tsp kosher salt 
coarse black pepper 

1 bunch broccolini
2 tbsp tamari sauce or soy sauce
1 tsp coarse black pepper 
1 tsp kosher salt 
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Over a high flame, heat a large oven proof nonstick pan. Rinse and pat dry filet mignon well, until no moisture remains. Generously sprinkle kosher salt and black pepper on each side of the filet, rubbing it well to create a layer for a crust. Once pan is smoking hot add olive oil. Add filets to pan, gently pressing them down for a second. Let first side cook for 2 minutes in pan, then turn over filet-gently press down, and let it cook for 2 more minutes in pan. Place whole pan in oven for 2 minutes. remove from oven. Set filets to rest for 10 minutes, then slice for the perfect medium rare. (recipe for a 2" thick filet mignon) 

In a medium sauce pan add onions, olive oil, and brown sugar. cook onions over a medium flame until golden and brown. occasionally stirring, about 15 minutes. add the chopped polenta, almond milk, chili flakes, 1 pinch of kosher salt and pepper. with a masher mash polenta until smooth, finish by mixing with a fork until onions and polenta are creamy. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. spread out broccolini. Sprinkle and toss in tamari sauce, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Broil until lightly crisp. 

Spoon polenta onto plate, top with sliced filet mignon, and broccolini. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Grain Bowl

Having a grain bowl can be the perfect meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Adding just 1/3 cup of rice to every bowl, mixed with proteins and vegetables, drizzled in a tangy sauce, makes it a filling, beautiful, and wholesome dish. Here's an example and excellent option for you to put together. You can also add sliced lean meat, fish, and chicken to this as a more filling dinner option. 

1 cup brown and wild rice, cooked
4 eggs, soft boiled
3 cups tuscan kale, steamed
3 cups shiitake mushrooms, steamed
3 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 tsp kosher salt 
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 toasted sesame oil
2 tsp crushed ginger
1/4 cup maple syrup

1. Cook rice according to box instructions. Steam kale and mushrooms in a steaming basket, or in a dutch oven/large sauce pan(with lid) by adding 1/2 a cup of water, closing lid of pan and steaming for 1 one minute until just wilted. Remove kale and mushrooms from steamer basket or saucepan and set aside. 
2. Preheat oven to 425°. Toss grape tomatoes in salt and olive oil on a lined baking sheet. Roast tomatoes in the oven for about 1 hour until they are blistered and soft. (you can do this step ahead of time and keep tomatoes in a container until ready to assemble). 
3. Bring water to a rapid boil in a small saucepan. reduce to a rapid simmer and gently place eggs into water. Beginning the timing for 6 minutes. This will give you a soft boiled egg. Run eggs under cold water when time is up. Peel and halve each egg. 
4. Add rice to bowl, top with kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, and egg. Lightly sprinkle bowl with sea salt. Drizzle dressing over bowl and eat.
Yields: 4 servings 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken

  If Ari agreed, we'd be eating chicken every night for dinner. I love chicken roasted, baked, broiled, barbecued and poached. This technique of pan roasting chicken before baking it in the oven adds a tremendous amount of flavor to the chicken; It will also add lots of chicken flavor to the rest of the dish, and will keep the chicken juicy without having to over bake it in the oven. 
2 cups chopped Kabucha squash
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup garlic cloves
1 bunch cilantro, medium chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp coarse black pepper
8 pieces chicken thighs 
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

Directions: Preheat oven to 425°. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Meanwhile, on a baking sheet toss the squash, tomatoes, onion, garlic, half of the cilantro, turmeric, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and remaining oil. Lay vegetables evenly. Once chicken is browned nestle pieces over the vegetables. Pour over chicken drippings from pan. Bake chicken on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes until vegetables are cooked through and chicken is soft and golden.

yields: 4 servings