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spring vegetable galette

Making this Spring Vegetable Galette was the most fun I’ve had in the kitchen in a while. Pie dough might seem like work, and you could certainly pick up a store bought pie dough to make this fast,  but for me it was a lovely excuse to hang out in the kitchen for a while without being in a rush. I’ve been thinking about a lot about slowing down and leaning into the tasks at hand.

When I worked in restaurants it was easier to do this. Actually it was a joy and make up many of my favorite memories. Cleaning vegetables, prepping before service to get everything in it’s place, working a station and floating between keeping track of tickets, cooking, plating and getting food out to hungry guests. But now I’m home most days with my kids and there is very little time to internally get into any kind of zone. I float between their needs; diapers, food, hugs, conversations, snacks, water, sunscreen, mornings at the park, walks around the neighborhood, finding our escaping puppy Saturn, more snacks, searching for missing water bottles, etc.

This is by far the most demanding and challenging work I’ve ever done. And there’s all these huge feelings like counting down the hours until bedtime while in the very same breath longing for time to stop in its tracks so they stay this playful and happy forever. So it’s super easy for me to get into the groove of doing one thing just so I can get to the next thing. I am so good at getting in this groove that I can do ten things in a row without ever making the room to enjoy any of it. But enjoying this time, these moments…this is kind of what it’s all about.

All of this (above) is what inspired me to make this Spring Vegetable Galette. It’s a show stopping celebration of spring. There is no other choice than for the person making it and the people lucky enough to eat it, to stop and stare (if only for a moment). And sometimes a moment is all we need.

Suggestion: Make double the pie dough. Divide it in half and freeze half for later use. It’s so easy to just 2x the ingredients. The next time you go to make a pie you will be oh so happy.

Ingredients
for the pie dough:
1 3/4 (196 grams) sticks unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup (118 grams) cold water
2 1/4 cups (333 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (12 grams) kosher salt

for the spring vegetable galette:
1 T. butter
2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and sliced (white and light green parts only)
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
½ c. cream, plus more for brushing on crust
½ c. parmesan, finely grated
1 ½ c. yukon gold potato slices

for the garnish:
1 T. butter
6 spears of asparagus, tips sliced and stalks peeled into strips
½ c. peas
1 t. herbes de provence
salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Make the pie dough: Cut butter into small cubes and put in freezer.
  2. In a cup mix the cold water and vinegar and set aside.(to keep the water cold sometimes I throw in an ice cube if my kitchen is hot)
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt and sugar.
  4. At this point the butter should be super cold but not frozen. remove butter from the freezer and add to your flour mixture.
  5. Using your fingers (or a food processor if you have one as this produces the best pea size butter pieces) squeeze the butter pieces into the flour until the butter is blended into the flour and resembles small peas.*
  6. Add 6 T. of the vinegar and water mixture. Stir with your hands or a wooden spoon. At this point the dough will probably be crumbly. Continue adding and stirring in 1 T. of vinegar-water at a time until dough comes together into a ball.
  7. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. If you want to keep longer, freeze and thaw the day before you want to use it.
  8. Make the galette: Preheat oven to 350 f.
  9. In a large pot over medium heat, add butter until melted.
  10. Add leeks and cook for a few minutes.
  11. Add garlic and spinach and cook a few more minutes. We want to get as much water evaporated as possible.
  12. Add cream, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Let cook a few minutes more then take off the heat. Reserve.
  13. Assemble the galette: on a lightly floured clean surface, roll on the dough into a 10 inch round. Transfer dough to a large sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
  14. Spread a thin layer of the spinach filling on the surface of the dough leaving a 1 inch border.
  15. Lay potatoes over the filling, just barely overlapping. repeat.
  16. Fold the edges up and over the filling using the 1” border as a guide. This is a rustic tart so don’t worry about it being perfect. Tuck and crease as needed.
  17. Continue layering potatoes and filling until they are gone.
  18. Brush cream over the top of the pastry. Crack some sea salt over the entire tart.
  19. Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
  20. While the galette is cooling: In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter. add the asparagus, peas, herbes de provence, salt and pepper and cook for just a few minutes until tender but still crisp. Spread over top of the galette. Serve immediately.

happy morning cakes

Trust me, mornings will be happier with these little cakes in your life. These Happy Morning Cakes are packed with a powerhouse of morning goodness. Really they are muffins. But it’s just more fun to call them cakes. You could add your favorite nuts, seeds or other dried fruit to the mix.  I love making a batch of these on Sunday and then have them for the week, perfect to grab & go.

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose or whole wheat flour
1 c. oats
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (or other nut)
¼ c. chia seeds
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas
2 c. peeled and grated carrots
1 large apple cored, grated
2 cups of kale leaves, washed then finely chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ c. maple syrup
½ c. brown sugar
1 orange, juiced

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 f.
  2. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients: flour, oats pecans, chia seeds, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. In another large bowl combine bananas, carrots, apple, kale, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, brown sugar, maple syrup and orange juice.
  5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined and pour batter almost to the top of each paper muffin liner (they don’t rise much).
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until knife is clean when inserted and removed from muffin.
  7. let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Component in Action
-add other nuts, seeds, dried fruit
-crumble over plain greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

I have been on a mission to come up with the perfect combination of crunchy edges and chewy centers. Finally, SUCCESS! If you want more crunch, use the flat bottom of a cup and gently press down before baking. If you want more chew, don’t flatten before putting in the oven. Both versions are a home-run and I think it’s safe to say my search for the perfect oatmeal chocolate chip cookie is over.

Ingredients

1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
3 cups rolled oats
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 c. butter, softened
¾ c. packed brown sugar
½ c. granulated sugar
¼ c. maple syrup
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla extract or paste
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375 f.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, oats, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. (If you are using unsalted butter, add a generous pinch of kosher salt to the bowl.)
  3. In a large bowl cream together butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple syrup, egg and vanilla until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  4. Fold in the dry ingredients until combined well.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  6. Scoop cookie dough onto parchment paper or silpat lined cookie sheet and flatten gently with the back of a spoon or flat bottomed cup. leave about 2” between each cookie. (you can make these whatever size you like)
  7. Bake on a parchment paper or silpat lined cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes or until the edges start to look golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool for a couple minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to complete cooling. Enjoy warm or let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.

Component in Action
-make ice cream sandwiches!
-add 1 cup of your favorite nuts (chopped)

Everyday Granola

In our house it is always nice to have a jar of granola on the shelf ready to go, for breakfast, for snacking, for topping something like yogurt to make it that much better. My favorite kind of granola is super crunchy and in clusters. I’ve totally been guilty of standing over a bulk bin of granola at the grocery for way too long, trying to get all the big clusters in my bag and none of the “granola dust” with the big awkward scoop. This recipe for Everyday Granola is even better because not only is it super crunchy but it also bakes into one big sheet, so YOU get to decide just how big your granola pieces are. The little crumbles that fall during the breaking process are amazing too, to top on just about a million things.

Everyone has their favorite granola combos. Here are three of my favorites; almonds, coconut and pecans. You can swap out any of these for a cup of your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruits, even cocoa nibs. Follow your morning cravings. Eat this on its own, over yogurt, or with your favorite milk.

Ingredients
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
½ c. maple syrup
⅓ c. honey
1 T. vanilla extract
1 t. ground cinnamon
generous pinch of salt
5 c. rolled oats
1 c. almonds, sliced
1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
1 c. pecans, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325 f.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the oil, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Fold in the oats, almonds, coconut and pecans.
  5. Pour the oat mixture onto the baking sheet and press mixture firmly with a flat bottomed cup.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes then rotate pan.
  7. Bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for one hour.
  9. Lift the granola off the parchment paper with your hands (it will be one big piece) and break into pieces.
  10. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.

Component in Action
-make your own by adding your favorite nuts or seeds
-gently fold in your favorite dried fruits after you cook, cool and break apart the granola into pieces.
-leave in bigger pieces for “granola bars”
-serve over plain greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey for a breakfast treat.
-serve over ice cream.
-put granola in a quart mason jar with a bow and give as a gift to a friend.

Chocolate Mousse (no sugar added)

This is not a typical chocolate mousse recipe. This is a super easy, kid friendly (no extra sugar added), egg-free version that will not disappoint! It also has a great texture so you don’t have to worry about waiting around for a few hours for it to set like with a classic chocolate mousse.

This is also a great excuse to get the kids helping out in the kitchen<3.

Ingredients
½ c. water
1 t. vanilla extract, paste, or half a vanilla bean scraped
3 dates, pitted
Pinch of salt
2 T. cocoa powder
½ c. 70% dark chocolate, cut into pieces if needed
2 c. heavy cream

Method

  1. In a blender or food processor, blend water, vanilla and dates until it’s as smooth as possible.
  2. Make a double boiler. Fill a medium saucepan with 1-2” of water. Bring the water to a simmer. Find a stainless steel or glass bowl that sits snugly on top of the top without touching the water.
  3. Add your date mixture to the bowl along with the chocolate and cocoa powder. Stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is all the way melted. Turn off heat and carefully remove bowl with a dry towel (being careful not to get burned by the bowl or steam). Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. You can do this by hand with a large whisk or with a mixer.
  5. With a rubber spatula, fold melted chocolate mixture into whipped cream. Spoon into ramekins or jars and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Component in Action
-Use as a dip for fruit
-Layer with fruit and freeze. Slice for a light and airy dessert.
-Spoon into jars and top with shaved chocolate, fruit or nuts.

Kids in the kitchen! Five holiday recipes just for them

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been on hold for almost twenty minutes with a certain shipping company who will remain nameless. At the exact moment the agent came on the line, my two year old stood up and started the show that only occurs when I talk on the phone. He started shaking the maraca, jumping up and down singing Jingle Bells at the top of his lungs. I didn’t even know he had heard the song, let alone memorized it.

A couple days later, he informed me it was Christmas day. It was still November, and it occurred to me that if he was already anticipating the holidays at two years old, then he was certainly old enough to get in on a bit of holiday cooking action. So in the hustle and bustle, pull the kids into the kitchen. Give them an apron, a hand wash, and one more reason to love the holidays. Depending on the age of the kids in your life, some might need more help than others, so I’ll leave that up to you.

Continue Reading…

Elderberry Syrup

It’s the time of the year to pull out all the stops when it comes to finding ways to boost our immunity. I just recently learned the hard way about the joys, oh wait I mean germs that come along with the 12 little preschoolers my son is hanging out with in the mornings. Little. Germ. Spitting. Sponges. Good thing they’re so dang cute.

Then thankfully my friend Lisa Jane introduced me to a recipe for Elderberry Syrup. Elderberries are known for their immune boosting properties. The syrup can be slurped from a spoon, drizzled on yogurt, pancakes, waffles, ice cream, made into gummy bears (still on my to-do list), or added to popsicles or smoothies.

There has been lots of studies on the health benefits of elderberries. Aside from being full of minerals, vitamin C and antioxidants, it has also been found to inhibit certain strains of influenza. I have heard 1-2 teaspoons a day is a good amount for prevention. The general consensus is to 3 teaspoons, 4x a day is a good amount if you are sick.

The syrup will stay good for months in the fridge. May you and yours enjoy this in good health.

Ingredients
3 c. filtered water
1 c. dried elderberries
1-2 inch piece of ginger, chopped
3/4 c. raw honey (local if possible)

Method
1.) In a small saucepan bring water, elderberries and ginger to a boil.
2.) Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by about half.
3.) Strain elderberry mixture through a fine mesh strainer or through a strainer lined with cheesecloth.
4.) Let cool to room temperature.
5.) Stir in raw honey.
6.) Store in the refrigerator.

Conponent in action
-spoon over yogurt or ice cream
-drizzle over waffles and pancakes
-add to smoothies and homemade popsicles

The Best All Butter Pie Dough

It is so hard to choose what to publish during summer. There is so much to cook and so little time before the tomatoes, berries, eggplant, sweet corn, peaches and cherries fade into a luscious memory until next year. Can you tell I’m a bit hungry as I write this?! This week an unexpected surprise, our peach tree with little green peaches that I thought might be little and green forever, has sprung to life growing big peachy peaches in our little wild yard. I say wild because before we moved to Santa Fe…i think it’s safe to say I would describe us as city folk with a dream.

And now this dream is real life and in our yard lives a array of plant and animal characters that are keeping us in a steady state of wonder and curiosity along with a generous pinch of bewilderment. We have met many a lizard, a few black widow spiders, prairie dogs, gophers, hummingbirds, snails that suddenly appear on the stone patio in the back any time it rains, frogs, a snake who lives right outside our side door and sleeps in a little hole in the side of the house (deep breaths, deep breaths, oohhhmmmmmm) and certainly not least is the little skunk who visits our yard after dark and occasionally brushes its straggly white tail across the outside living room window, usually while we’re watching a movie so then we jump with the heebie-jeebies and then scramble to the window to get a closer look before it disappears under the fence.

We have a peach tree, two big lavender bushes, honeysuckle, mint and blackberries all which we discovered after moving here. Each new discovery felt like finding buried treasure. Then we built a raised bed and have been trying (trying is seriously the operative word here) to grow herbs, onions, eggplant, beets, tomatoes, peppers, kale and corn.  The kale and onions are showing the most only promise, especially with all the rain we’ve been getting the past few weeks, but the rest, well, let’s just say there’s always next year.

So now that there are a lot of peaches in my future, I have pie on my mind. And not just any old pie, but the best pie I can possibly make. So for that, I’m going straight to the source of where I first experienced the best pie I had ever had and that was from Hoosier Mama Pie Shop in Chicago, IL.

This is closely adapted recipe from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie. I feel like I should probably be punished and sent to the corner by a bunch of pastry chefs, but I always use salted butter when making this pie dough and I have never once felt sad about it. I also increase the sugar from 1/2 T. to 1 T. because for some reason on the day that I made the blueberry tart pictured above, it just seemed like the right thing to do. So cheers! I am fairly confident this is the best all butter pie dough you will ever stumble across. Haha. I have been trying to stay disciplined and write shorter blog posts getting to the recipe faster. I guess just like my little grumpy garden, there’s always next time <3.

And if you’d like to watch the master, Hoosier Mama’s own Paula Haney walk you through a step by step pie dough session, you can find that here.

Ingredients

1 3/4 (196 grams) sticks unsalted butter, divided
1 T. (12 grams) sherry, apple cider, white wine or red wine vinegar 
1/2 cup (118 grams) cold water
2 1/4 cups (333 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (12 grams) kosher salt
1 Tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar

 

Method

  1. Cut butter into small cubes and put in freezer.
  2. In a cup mix the cold water and vinegar and set aside.(to keep the water cold sometimes I throw in an ice cube if my kitchen is hot)
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt and sugar.
  4. At this point the butter should be super cold but not frozen. Remove butter from the freezer and add to your flour mixture.
  5. Using your fingers (or a food processor if you have one as this produces the best pea size butter pieces) squeeze the butter pieces into the flour until the butter is blended into the flour and resembles small peas.*
  6. Add 6 T. of the vinegar and water mixture. Stir with your hands or a wooden spoon. At this point the dough will probably be crumbly. Continue adding and stirring in 1 T. of vinegar-water at a time until dough comes together into a ball.
  7. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and cut in two pieces if you’re making a pie or just leave whole if you’re making a big rustic tart.
  8. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. If you want to keep longer, freeze and thaw the day before you want to use it.

Component in Action

-make big rustic tart with your favorite fruit filling
-make a two crust pie
-bake little tart shells and fill with whipped cream and fresh fruit
-make little pie pockets with circles of dough that you fill, fold over and then crimp with a fork before baking.

Summer Fritatta

My cooking has changed since becoming a mom. It’s become less about me expressing myself as a chef and more about the needs of my family. I have grown to love this and I love and am surprised that this small shift has made me a better cook.  I actually spend less time cooking, I think more about nourishment and health and I have been forced to get creative in new ways to meet the needs of my opinionated crew of eaters.

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, cooking for a toddler can be more challenging than a packed restaurant on a Saturday night. Sure every child is different, I just happen to have one who, for example, upon catching the slightest whiff of a beef stew I have spent the afternoon making, proceeded to tear up and then projectile vomit across the kitchen table just because “it smelled like meat”. Real fun as a mom who wants nothing more than to cook food for my family and have them love it.

So I guess I’m sharing this because I’m as much on this journey as any mom out there despite having cooked in kitchens across the country. And my goal, despite the obstacles of a picky toddler with a killer gag reflex, is to cook my family food that will nourish and bring them joy.

My four year old still doesn’t eat eggs. One day after reading a book about all the different ways kids like to eat eggs, he was excited to try them out and I was more than happy to oblige. We made eggs scrambled, sunny side up and hard boiled.  He couldn’t bring himself to try the scrambled or sunny side up even though he was glad I made them because they looked “pretty” (so I have that going for me), but he did try the hard boiled egg white and then the yolk with a tiny bit of salt sprinkled on top before the gag reflex kicked in.

I still have hope that someday he’ll eat this fritatta with us. In the meantime I love the fact that I can make this on a Sunday night and my husband and I can throw a couple of pieces in the oven throughout the week for a super fast breakfast that doesn’t taste fast at all. You can even eat this for lunch or dinner and pairs beautifully with a simple salad of greens with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

You can sub out ingredients if you want. This just happens to be my favorite fritatta combo at the moment. You can also double this recipe if you have a big pan or even a baking dish.

The most important thing to keep in mind when making your own fritatta is to cook most ingredients in advance, especially those that you want to caramelize (like bacon or onions) or that have a high water content like tomatoes and bell peppers.

Ingredients
2 pieces of bacon (diced) (optional)
1 T. butter
½  onion
1 Red bell pepper
½ c. halved cherry tomatoes
½ c. basil leaves (finely sliced aka chiffonade)
1 T. thyme leaves (finely chopped)
1 c. fresh spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
6 eggs
¼ c. whole milk yogurt
Salt and pepper
½  c. cheddar cheese (diced)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°f.
  2. Butter a (approx. 8”) cast iron pan or baking dish.
  3. In another pan over medium heat cook the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp.
  4. Add the butter, onion, red bell pepper and cherry tomatoes. Cook until they soften, about five minutes.
  5. Add basil, thyme, spinach, salt and pepper to taste and cook for another minutes until greens are wilted. Take mixture off heat.
  6. In a bowl whisk eggs, yogurt and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour into buttered pan.
  7. Spoon bacon-veggie mix evenly over eggs.
  8. Sprinkle cheese evenly over eggs
  9. Bake for around 30 minutes or until the eggs are set when you jiggle the pan.
  10. Let cool before slicing and serving.
  11. Enjoy cold or warm.

Component In Action
-enjoy for breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner
-Enjoy cold or warm
-don’t be afraid to switch the ingredients up..
-in spring try pancetta, fresh peas, green onion and lavender
-in summer try mozzarella, basil and tomatoes
-in fall try maplewood smoked bacon, mushrooms and gruyere cheese
-in winter try spinach, goat cheese and caramelized onions

Rhubarb Coulis – The sauce of early summer

There is no question, rhubarb is my favorite fruit of early summer.  It begins raw and inedible, streaky red and green stalks that are usually in need of a good scrub when I lug them home, sticking this way and that out of the bag, already tart and sassy before I even get them home. All that’s needed is care and a bit of time, to coax out their bright flavor and luscious texture. With a bit of sugar to balance out their natural acidity, this humble fruit transcends to its full potential and is always the highlight of the season.

A few weeks ago my husband was making his famous Swedish pancakes for brunch. At the store I was looking for a jar of lingonberry jam (if only we lived near Ikea!) and couldn’t find any, so instead I picked up a few stalks of rhubarb. I ended up making this coulis and to everyone’s surprise, even the Swede in the group, it was a perfect match for the light and airy pancakes. The next day I served the left over coulis with some soft cheese and that awesome. The next morning, we drizzled it on plain greek yogurt for a delightful breakfast treat. I’m only sad we used it all up before I could spoon it on ice cream, but hey, I still have a little time before the rhubarb harvest is over.

A coulis is a French sauce, thick and velvety smooth, made with vegetables or fruit. I could have just cooked the rhubarb and not blended the mixture. This would have been called a compote. Enough cooking vocab, let’s get to the sauce of the season<3.

Ingredients
1.5# rhubarb (washed, trimmed and sliced)
1 c. sugar (granulated or raw)
2-4″ strip of orange peel (or lemon..or both<3)
1 c. water

Method
1.) Bring everything to a boil.
2.) Simmer for 20 minutes.
3.) Turn off the heat and let the fruit steep (just sit around like you’re making a cup of tea) for 30 minutes.
4.) Blend until smooth.
5.) Taste. If is tastes too sweet, add some fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Component in Action
-drizzle over pancakes, french toast, crepes
-spoon over ice cream
-serve with goat and soft cheeses
-use to flavor your own yogurt
-use as a jam substitute (think toast & biscuits)
-make with other fruits too! blueberries, strawberries, cherries, plums, peaches…