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Drink This Now, Call Me in the Morning

26 Feb

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I was having one of those days. Or nights to be exact. When there was miscommunication, hurt feelings, and then silence. Those nights are the worst and often make me turn to my kitchen, aka my therapist. I was seeking comfort but also knew I didn’t want to sabotage an otherwise pretty healthy day of eating, only to feel guilty about it later. Guilt was about the last thing I needed. Therefore my therapist prescribed this: a banana milkshake. Well, it’s a nearly vegan banana milkshake sans ice cream but you could’ve fooled me. It did the trick either way. Hopefully it’ll brighten your day (or night) when you need it most.

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 frozen bananas cuts in half
  • 1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt (optional)*
  • 2 Tbs. Almond Butter
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 5 ice cubes

Blend baby, blend. Milkshake glass and bendy red straw are also optional.

*the yogurt is optional and if omitted turns this into a vegan delight. Personally, I love the tang and richness that it added.

Breakfast: Home

17 Oct

Not gonna lie. Husband and I recently joined the juice craze. Based on a friend’s recommendation we watched two food documentaries, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Forks Over Knives. Inspired, I convinced my mom to retrieve the Juice Tiger from her basement and put it out on loan. After dusting the ancient relic off, E. Dohrmann and I proceeded to embark on a five day cleanse where we consumed nothing but juice. At the end of it, our skin and allergies were noticeably better. We also felt like we were sleeping better. In other words, the cleanse worked miracles in our lives.

In the beginning we tried juicing every fruit and vegetable under the sun, including a recipe that once combined  carrot greens, pineapple, beets and radishes. Let’s just say some combinations work better than others. A good general rule of thumb is lemon and ginger make everything taste better. We’ve since upgraded to a Breville juicer which has turned out to be a life changing event. We now try to make juice at least once a day. Here’s the recipe to our favorite:

Mean Green Juice

  • 1 Bunch Kale
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 Green Apples
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 inch piece of ginger

One of Those Days

10 Oct

Apparently busy cooks with children rely on recipes like this when they’re tired and on edge. I also rely on recipes like this when I’m tired and on edge (minus the kid part).

Creamy Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken and Peas

(adapted from Melissa Clark‘s recipe, adapted from Jamie Oliver‘s recipe)

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound angel hair pasta
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 1 shallot, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2/3 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until aldente.

Simmer cream, shallot, basil, and lemon zest in a saucepan over medium heat until slightly reduced and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in peas and chicken breast. Simmer 2 minutes. Stir in the pasta, cheese, and nutmeg and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with more cheese.

Birthday Cookies for All

22 Sep

I made a life changing decision this summer: to finally put an end to my suffering over buying birthday gifts for loved ones. For some people just a card is appropriate. For others, you feel like you owe them a boat bedazzled in diamonds. At the moment of truth I always seem to be too broke or wrapped up in my own pity party to actually make the present of my gift-giving dreams come true. Recipients usually end up with a card and some truly pathetic story about the gift I wanted/tried/dreamt to give them if only I…(fill in the blank). More often than not they don’t care about my story (or the card) and I end up feeling like an idiot, already dreading the upcoming year when I’ll likely be standing in the same place having the same argument with myself.

Then it dawned on me: Don’t I have more important things to have anxiety attacks over? Life health insurance? (OrLackThereOf.)

Henceforth my brilliant declaration that all birthday presents shall now be made up of cookies. What says “I love you” more than a homemade customized cookie? If your friends don’t like cookies then they’re NOT MY FRIEND. So far we’ve had four loved ones with birthdays this summer and each one received a batch of freshly baked cookies. Kendra got compost cookies with healthy notes likes raisin bran, oats, flax and sesame seeds. (Kendra’s kind of granola- with a twist of PBR). Tim and Logan both received the less healthy version with potato chips, buttered popcorn, Twix bars, and coffee. (It’s cool- they can handle the calories; they ride fixies). This week we celebrate the  life of one of our loveliest and most delicious friends ever, Delane, co-owner of Portland’s favorite cornmeal crust pizzeria Dove Vivi.

Here are some FUN FACTS about Delane:

  • She is a salad goddess. You will never make a better salad than her. Try. You WILL FAIL.
  • She bakes the very best chocolate cookies I have ever tasted. EVER.
  • She was the first person to teach me how to grill a pizza on the bbq. Pizza contained: bacon, strawberry jam, blue cheese and local salad greens (I shamelessly stole this exact flavor combination for an egg sandwich at our cafe the very next day and named it affectionately, “My New BFF”).
  • She can build things. Lots of things. With wood. Like bookshelves, entertainment centers, tables and living structures.
  • She is the mother to an awesome toddler, a devoted dog and two adorable goats.
  • She is a gifted potter. (The vase she gave us for a wedding present is proudly displayed on our mantle)
  • She has an outdoor shower at her house (I know!). That she built. (Right?!?)
  • She’s from ALASKA.
  • She is a professional fisherwoman.
  • SHE IS FROM ALASKA.

As you can see, Delane is a multifaceted person. For this reason (and because chocolate chip cookies are SO OUT of the question– DUH) she requires a special cookie. For Delane we baked Mocha Buckwheat Shortbread. Luckily for you I’m sharing the recipe. See if you have a friend they would be a good fit for. They make an excellent gift (for your own sanity). I speak the truth.

Mocha Buckwheat Shortbread Cookies with Cacao Nibs

  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar (I used a combination of confectioners, brown, and white)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup espresso beans, coarsely ground
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour

Cream the butter, sugar and salt together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, nibs, and espresso beans and mix for 30 seconds. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the cocoa powder and both flours, mixing until the dough is smooth and the flour is just incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto wax paper. Using the wax paper, roll the dough into a thick log as evenly as possible to a thickness of 2-inches in diameter. Wrap in remaining wax paper and chill at least 4 hours, or for up to 2 days.  This dough also freezes well (up to 2 months).

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the log into 1/2-inch thick slices and place on the baking sheet, leaving at least an inch of room in-between. Prick each cookie twice with the tines of a fork. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets half-way through. A slightly shorter baking time will yield a softer, fudge-like shortbread; a slightly longer baking time will yield firmer cookies.

Allow to cool before transferring to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for a month. Many believe these cookies get better the longer they sit.

Yam Yam’s Tortilla Española

31 May

My friend Maryam celebrated her birthday this past weekend with a Spanish themed potluck. My initial plan was to make gazpacho for the event but Portland’s dark skies were pregnant with rain clouds, convincing me to improvise using ingredients I had in the fridge. This dish pairs perfectly with steaming pans of seafood paella studded with spicy sausage, falling-off-the-bone Catalan chicken stewed in wine, prunes and pistachios, juicy bits of melon wrapped in salty jamón serrano, and a punch bowl full of “jungle juice” sangria. Finish dinner with homemade flan and a strawberry-topped tres leches birthday cake, complete with candles. Feel free to throw in a passionate game of bocce ball and a karaoke jam session…if you’re in to that sort of thing.

Egg, Cauliflower and Fingerling Potato Tortilla

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium head of cauliflower cut into 1-inch florets (2 cups)
  • 6-7 fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/8″ thick slices
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • generous pinch of red chili flakes
  • 5-6 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, stems removed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • Italian parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine cauliflower, potatoes and garlic in a bowl and mix them together. Season the mixture with cumin, oregano, red chili flakes and salt.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a deep 10 inch skillet or saute pan with an ovenproof handle. Heat over medium high heat, adding cauliflower and potato mixture and saute. When the vegetables start to brown and tender remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.

Blend eggs in a blender with milk, cottage cheese, thyme and some salt and pepper. Blend on the highest speed.

Re-heat the skillet over medium heat and season with the remaining butter and oil. Pour 1/2 of the egg mixture into saute pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Once the bottom is set, evenly distribute the cauliflower/potato mixture and the chopped hard boiled eggs.  Top with the remaining egg mixture. Lift the edges of the tortilla tilting the pan to allow the uncooked egg mixture to seep underneath. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake 16-22 minutes until the middle is set and the top is slightly browned. Remove from the oven.

Use a flexible spatula to loosen the edges and bottom of tortilla. Using a large serving plate (12”), invert the tortilla by placing one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate and quickly turning over the frying pan until the omelet falls onto the plate. Cut the tortilla into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature, topped with parsley and your favorite aioli.

Bocce Mania

Photo by Linette Padilla

What to Do With All Those Eggs

27 Apr

Are you still struggling trying to find ideas for all of those hard boiled eggs leftover from Passover Seder and Easter? When my dad was a little boy his mom used to make him a dish called Eggs Goldenrod. Later in life, he asked my mother to make it for us. I’ve since carried on the tradition in my own home. Allow me to reassure you, the Jepson family would honored if you chose to adopt the tradition in your own home.

Based on my own experiences trying to get my husband to not only eat but like this dish, I’d say that traditional Eggs Goldenrod, or Eggs à la Goldenrod (as they’re called in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook) are an acquired taste. I’m sure it’s the many memories I have from growing up that have put this dish so close to my heart. Below you’ll find Fannie Merritt Farmer’s recipe. I’d suggest using this as a guideline and adding to it as your personal taste sees fit. I’ve tried adding everything from garlic, tarragon and lemon zest to my white sauce, as well as a nice sharp white cheddar cheese. I’d say the only “rule” to follow is putting the eggs yolks on top. Somehow that burst of creamy yellow makes the dish.

3 “hard-boiled” eggs 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter 1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon flour 5 slices toast
1 cup milk Parsley

Make a thin white sauce with butter, flour, milk, and seasonings. Separate yolks from whites of eggs. Chop whites finely, and add them to the sauce. Cut four slices of toast in halves lengthwise. Arrange on platter, and pour over the sauce. Force the yolks through a potato ricer or strainer, sprinkling over the top. Garnish with parsley and remaining toast, cut in points.

Pretty Eggs

24 Apr

These beautiful brown eggs were tinted using dyes made from vegetables. (Recipe coming soon.) I spotted these at my sister’s local butcher shop, Marlow and Daughters, on a recent trip to New York. Happy Easter, for all you believers.

UPDATE: Recipe courtesy of Marlow and Daughters

Beets: pink, Turmeric: yellow, Red Cabbage: blue/lavender, Red Onion skins: dark reddish brown, Yellow Onion skins: mahogany

1. For every quart of water, you’ll need about 2 cups of vegetable solids, plus 2 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar. Bring water, vinegar, vegetable/spices to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes, then strain liquid, discarding solids. Do this for each color. More vegetable matter= stronger dye.

2. Once you have a line-up of homemade natural dyes, you are ready to go. You can dye hard-boiled or uncooked eggs. The longer you leave the egg in each dye, the stronger the color will be. For the very patient, overnight is best, though more delicate shades can be achieved in 10 minutes of less.