Archive for May, 2012

Spring Tartines

May 30, 2012

I’ve written a bit about Book Larder, the amazing cookbook store where I am lucky enough to work.  The shop opened in October and it has been gangbusters ever since.  I was hired with the idea that I would teach classes there and coordinate with other teachers around town to bring them in for classes as well.  As the months have passed, my job has morphed a bit and my official title is Culinary Director.

What does that mean exactly?  The easiest way to explain it is that I get to handle all things food related.  I teach classes and I also work as the assistant when we have other teachers or chefs in the kitchen.  If we have an author come to town for an appearance, I bake or cook from their books.  I do all the shopping for classes and events and any prep that needs to be done.  I love it.  LOVE IT.  Imagine cooking in a lovely kitchen surrounded by 3,000 beautiful cookbooks.  And then imagine getting to meet people like Christina Tosi, Alice Medrich, Paula Wolfert, Patricia Wells, Lynn Rosetto Kaspar.  Making their food from their books for them.  It is crazy-town cool.

A few months ago, we threw a party for Willi Galloway, an amazing gardener and cook.  She used to live in Seattle but now calls Portland home.  Her book, Grow Cook Eat, is a gorgeous example of how beautiful and delicious fresh garden produce can be.  I am about the furthest thing from a gardener, but the book makes me want to get out in the dirt.  (Except there are bugs there, right?)  We hosted a book release party for her and I was lucky enough to cater the event.  Willi chose four recipes from her book and I made enough food to feed an army.  Everything was so good, it was basically demolished by the end of the night.  I credit Willi’s recipes, not my cooking.

I loved everything I made but my favorite was the the Radish Tartines.  You mix a bit of butter with Gruyère cheese (one of my favorite cheeses), a healthy spoonful of mustard, chives, and diced radishes, spread that on a piece of hearty bread, then bake it in the oven until it puffs and browns.  Then you top that loveliness with the sautéed radish greens.  I love a recipe that uses all parts of a vegetable but I have to admit that, unless I am using über fresh farmers’ market radishes, I opt for mustard greens instead.  (I think any other “soft” green would work, including the extremely easy to find spinach.)

Side bar – what is a tartine?  Without looking anything up, this is my take.  Please be advised I could be totally wrong here.  I think of crostini as a thin slice of toasted bread with a topping.  I think of bruschetta as a thicker and heartier slice of bread, again – toasted, with a topping.  I think of a tartine as more of a open faced sandwich, the bread not toasted before the topping goes on.  A little easier to eat, no scraping the roof of your mouth.  Anyone else?

I’ve been making these beauties ever since that party and I love them more each time I eat them.  I made them for our last yoga retreat and they were at the top of the “Are you going to post this recipe on your blog?” list.

(Yes, this is the same photo as up above.  I only got one before they were snatched up!)
One Year Ago:  No-Knead Olive Bread
Two Years Ago:  Pull Apart Cheesy Onion Bread
Three Years Ago:  Individual Vegetable Tarts

Tartines with Gruyère and Greens

Adapted from Grow, Cook, Eat
Makes 6 large tartines

If you make them this way, they are kind of meal size.  Terrific with a bowl of pea soup or a hearty salad.  If you want more appetizer servings, use smaller slices of bread.  The topping can be made a day in advance and refrigerated, but definitely serve these just out of the oven.

2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces)
3 tbsp. very soft unsalted butter
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ cup finely chopped radishes
2 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
Pinch of salt and few grinds of pepper
6 ½-inch thick slices good bread, such as pain de campagne
Olive oil
1 small bunch soft greens, such as mustard greens or spinach

Preheat the oven to 375F.  In a medium bowl, use a fork to really mash the butter.  Add in the cheese and mix well to combine the two.  Add the mustard, radishes, chives, and salt and pepper.  Divide the mixture between the bread slices, pressing down slightly.  Place the bread on a baking sheet and toast until the cheese puffs up and is lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a skillet over medium heat.  Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the greens.  Cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the green.  Spread the wilted greens on evenly over the cheesy toasts and serve immediately.



A Slice of My Life – Week 22

May 29, 2012

Scenes from my front yard.  Quick!  Guess what my favorite color is.

Last week was another somewhat frantic one in our house.  I worked two events at Book Larder, taught a Seasonal Feast class at home, and got ready to go to San Francisco.  The trip was a packed one.  We saw and did a lot.  We also got to eat at Greens – a vegetarian paradise on the water in Fort Mason.  I have been there many times over the years but never for dinner.  It was a real treat.

Our hotel was beautiful and literally across the street from the Ferry Building.

Saturday morning, we were able to hit the incredible farmers’ market before heading out for the day.  I, of course, wanted to pack my suitcase full of the beautiful produce but I settle for these non-perishable things.

The trip was mainly to fish out whether or not we felt like the Bay area is somewhere we could live.  So we looked in a lot of neighborhoods and at a lot of houses.  I loved this one, which was in Oakland.  Imagine the parties!

We also looked, and ate lunch, in Berkeley.

My hair looks better in a less wet climate.

I could not get enough of that view.

We ate dinner at Nopa with some good friends.  It was a truly terrific meal.  I fell hard for this salad.  Thick herbed Greek yogurt, perfect avocados, pickled cucumbers and onions, radishes, English peas, and a few croutons.  Re-creation will happen soon here!

After returning home, we had a family dinner at my parent’s house to celebrate my brother Alex’s birthday.  My parents have an amazing art collection.  This has long been my favorite painting of theirs.  When they bought it, I was reading The Color Purple, so the two will always be intertwined for me.

I’ve spoken often about my brothers but have never posted a picture.  Michael is on the left.  He is the youngest.  He is an English teacher in a high school.  Alex is on the right.  He is the middle (I am the oldest).  He owns a personal training gym.  They are 6’1″ and 6’4″ respectively.  I feel like a shrimp around them.



The Dole Summit

May 25, 2012

(There is, believe it or not, a recipe at the end of this post.  Thank you all for your patience with my lack of food posts lately.  Thank you for your support during this uncertain time.  And thank you to Dole as well for being patient while I took my time writing this post.)

I would imagine that each person who starts a blog has several hopes for it.  Some people might want to make money, others might want to make friends.  Others want to convey a message.  I think I have four hopes for my site.  I want to capture my cooking and my family life as we eat and live it.  I want to share the beauty of homemade treats.  I want to help people see that vegetarian cooking is not about a lack of something but instead a bounty of almost everything.  And I want people to find joy in salad.

Yes.  Salad.  If you have spent any time here, you probably know how I feel about salad.  It is not a way to shovel vegetables in you mouth and it is not a deprivation thing, as in “I will have salad instead of what I really want.”  Salad is a beautiful and delicious thing unto itself.  I truly believe this and perhaps that is why there are currently 53 salad recipes on this site.

So, it made sense to me that when the good people at Dole invited me to Monterey for the Dole Summit, that I should go.  Each time I get offered something because of my blog, whether it is a product to try out, a new tool to use, or a trip, I carefully consider whether it makes sense for me to accept.  In the case of Dole, I did pause.  In the past few years, I have come to really love buying big heads of lettuce from my local farmers’ market.  In my cooking classes, I encourage people to do the same.  Would it be contradictory of me to say one thing and do another?  And then I had to realize that, as much as I do love those big heads of local lettuce, at least half of the year they are not available.  Lettuce still has not made an appearance at my market this year.  So what do I do in the off-season?

Sometimes I buy whole heads of lettuce but truthfully, they are often waterlogged and tasteless.  I’ve realized that I am better off either buying lettuce in a bag or buying the newer clam-shells that hold small heads of lettuce.  Dole has a terrific one with one head of red leaf and one of green and, once you cut out the core, the leaves are perfectly bite size.  Basically, once I got over myself, I said yes to Monterey.

And I’m so glad I did.  I had been to Monterey once in my life, at a time when I was personally very unsettled.  How nice to be back in such a beautiful place in a much happier (albeit a bit uncertain) time of my life.  The Dole folks set us up in a beautiful hotel, The Clement Intercontinental, and planned a lovely and informative two days for me and some wonderful bloggers.  Truthfully, what I like best about these trips is getting to meet new people and reconnect with old friends.

Our time together was nicely split between fun and learning.  We got to visit the Dole headquarters where we learned that this company, which is the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, actually contracts with as many as 9,000 individual farmers around the country.  We learned about the tremendous amount of research that goes into every product they take to market and about some of the science behind the bags.  We got to taste several different salad blends that all tasted wonderful to this savory breakfast fan.  Then they sent us to lunch in Carmel.

 

I can tell you, without question, that this was the best lunch I have had in a long time.  Perhaps ever.  The amazing people at La Bicyclette put together an incredible spread for us, using Dole’s produce, and every single thing I tasted was amazing.  I happened to be sitting at a table with a number of gluten-free or vegan or gluten-free/vegan folks and the restaurant did an amazing job taking care of everyone.  If you have read any account of the Dole Summit, you have probably heard about the carrot risotto.  Superlatives are not enough praise.  It was to die for.  I had the added bonus of being able to taste the vegan version which was just as good – just different.

From Carmel, we headed to where some of the lettuce was being harvested in the incredible fertile Salinas valley between the mountains.  It was mind boggling to realize that much of our country is being fed off what is harvested in that valley.

After donning our hair nets (Irvin looks particularly handsome in his, don’t you think?), we walked out to where a group of people were, one by one, picking heads of iceberg lettuce and preparing them for shipment.  They worked with assembly line precision although this assembly line was out in the fresh air and sunshine.  I’ve never been a big fan of iceberg lettuce, but seeing them perfectly ripe and tasting them just after picking, I think iceberg can have a place at my table.

We concluded our trip the next day with a beautiful tour of the legendary 17-mile drive, taking us along spectacular scenery of the Pebble Beach Resort.  We stopped for the views, took lots of pictures, chatted about seeing each other all again at BlogHer, and contemplated what we were going to make when we got home.

One of the salads that they served us on that first morning had an intoxicating sun-dried tomato dressing.  They were kind enough to share the recipe for the salad and I made it almost as soon as I got home, with some tweaks.  I am the kind of crazy person who has burrata in my refrigerator (just in case!) so I used that but a good fresh mozzarella would be delicious too.  This is hearty, almost main course salad, the kind that I so advocate here on my site, and I’m thankful to Dole for the inspiration and for a terrific trip.


Greens with Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing and Parmesan Cheese
Inspired by Dole
Serves 2-3

For the dressing:
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup marinated sun-dried tomatoes
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup water
1 clove of garlic
3 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad:
5 ounces bagged salad greens
½ pint cherry tomatoes
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese (a carrot peeler is good for this)
4 ounces burrata cheese, pulled into small pieces (or fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces)

Make the dressing:
Place the olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, water, garlic, and Parmesan cheese in the blender.  Blend until smooth.  You may need to add more water to get a thinner consistency.   Set aside.

Make the salad:
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Place the cherry tomatoes on a small baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven until softened and starting to brown in spots, about 15 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Place the olives in a salad bowl.  Shave the Parmesan cheese into the bowl.  Place the greens on top.  Spoon in a bit of the dressing and toss well.  Add more dressing if you wish.  Place the burrata or mozzarella cheese over the surface of the salad and serve with additional dressing on the side.



A Slice of My Life – Week 21

May 22, 2012

Dear Friends,
Thank you for understanding why my Slice of Life post is appearing today.  I aim for Sunday.  This week it’s Tuesday.

Dear Friends,
Oh!  And thank you for being patient with me as the days stretch between posts and the amount of food being written about dwindles to almost nothing.

Dear Instagram,
I am totally hooked on you.  I was late coming to this party but I’m a total believer now.  I use you for almost all my Slice of Life posts.  (Want to follow me?  I’m @danatreat.)

Dear Uncertainty,
I’m trying to not let you get the best of me, but living in this place, not knowing what our future looks like, is starting to get to me.

Dear San Francisco,
We are coming to visit you this weekend.  I am simultaneously excited and terrified.  What if I could imagine myself living there?  What if I couldn’t?

In better news, Alice Medrich, queen of amazing baking books, came to visit us at Book Larder this week.  I along with three other local bloggers, baked goodies for her and the crowd that came to see her.  She was lovely and delightful and I got to go to dinner with afterward.  Swoon!

The spread.  I made the mousse.

Every Wednesday, I spend the day with just Spencer.  He is my little buddy.  Inevitably, we end up running errands for a class or an event and he comes along willingly.  He is great company.

Last Wednesday was early dismissal day for Graham.  In our house, that means a special treat.  This is the hot dog place near our house which also serves frozen yogurt.

Thursday I taught a Spring Seasonal Feast class.  This was the prep.

I cook for a lot of people.  Not that many people cook for me.  My lovely friend Julie invited us over for dinner, I looked forward to it all week, and then she totally spoiled us by making three different pizzas, a huge and beautiful salad, and then making Nutella filled donuts to order.

Saturday was about as beautiful as it gets here.  We took the boys down to the little lake near our house and rented a paddle boat.  We knew rain was coming so we tried to soak up the sunshine as much as possible.

Found in a neighbor’s garden.  This poppy was almost the same size as Spencer’s head.

These two ducks live in the parking lot of my grocery store.  Actually, I can’t imagine that they live there, but I see them there every time I go.  People always take pictures of them.

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette, made to celebrate one of our favorite friends’ birthday.  Recipe coming…one of these days.



Disappearing Dip

May 15, 2012

About 3½ years ago, my friend Jen asked if I would be interested in co-hosting yoga retreats with her at her Bainbridge Island studio.  I have known Jen since seventh grade and we have been very close friends since we spent three months riding on bikes through the French countryside.  She is one of my favorite people in the world and I have nothing but respect for her as a teacher and a business owner.  So it took me about four seconds to say yes.

On Saturday, we did our 13th retreat.  Once a quarter for three years.  We have slipped into a well established pattern.  The morning starts at 9:30 with introductions, followed by an intense hot yoga class.  The group gets to take part in a meditations exercise of some kind while I run up to the house, shower, and get lunch going.  When I first started doing these retreats, I realized that people would be hungry and I would not necessarily have every 100% ready by the time they were ready to eat.  So I always plan on having some kind of nibble in case I need to buy a little time.

Now you see it.

Now you don’t.

This was my nibble on Saturday.  A smooth layer of goat cheese topped with an unusual but incredible mixture of sweet jam, spicy peppers, mustard, and onions.  I did a test run of it the night before so I knew it was super delicious but I did not anticipate how quickly it would be inhaled.  I had intended to get a shot with a few swipes of dip taken out but by the time I started bringing out the lunch food, the dip was all but gone.  One of the things I like best about making lunch for yoginis is how hungry they are.  In my experience, women can sometimes be funny about food.  Dieting and all that.  But not this group.  They eat with gusto and deep appreciation and those are the best kinds of people to cook for.

One Year Ago:  Cheddar Crackers, Kaye Korma Curry, Stir-Fried Sesame Broccoli and Tofu with Rice Noodles
Two Years Ago:  Corn Salad Sandwich with Poblano Peppers, Chickpeas with Lemon and Pecorino Romano
Three Years Ago:  Mexican Brownies, Quinoa with Grilled Zucchini and Chickpeas, Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Pepper-Glazed Goat Cheese Gratin
Food & Wine
About 8 servings

I made this using 30 ounces of goat cheese and roughly doubling the topping.  I put it in a 8×12-inch casserole dish and it fed about 20 people.  But I could have made more easily and I’m sure it would have been devoured.  The combination of creamy, sweet, and spicy is amazing.

1 pound creamy fresh goat cheese, softened
6 tbsp. apricot preserves
4 Peppadew peppers, finely chopped
1 pickled jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp. minced cocktail onions
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1½ tsp. dried sherry
Pita chips, crackers, or baguette slices for serving

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Spread the goat cheese in a 5-by-8-inch gratin dish in an even layer.  In a small bowl, whisk the preserves with the Peppadews, jalapeño, onions, mustard, and sherry.  Spread the mixture over the goat cheese and bake on the top rack of the oven for about 5 minutes, until warm.  Turn on the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, until the topping is bubbling and lightly browned at the edges.  Serve hot.

(DT:  I assembled the dish the night before, refrigerated it, transported it to Bainbridge and baked it off there.  Worked beautifully.)

 



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