I love giving you 15-minute recipes, but once in a while there comes a dish that is worth the extra effort. This Layered Summer Vegetable Torte is just that. Yes, you have to grill some vegetables and make a simple vinaigrette, but this is a hearty, delicious, veggie-centric showstopper. Every summer I have a few recipes that I put on repeat when I entertain at home, and this was one of my go-to’s from the Summer of 2021 and now it’s back in the rotation!Continue reading
I am kicking myself for all the almond pulp I have thrown away in my lifetime. It honestly makes me crazy to think of how much perfectly good raw, soaked, organic almond pulp I wasted because I didn’t know it would be amazing in banana bread or pancakes, among other things. I make so much almond milk and the only things I used to be able to think to do with the leftover pulp was to add it to smoothies and stir it into oatmeal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it just got boring after a bit.
Then a light bulb went off in my head and I tried using the pulp (which is different from store-bought almond meal because it is wet) in banana bread and it was amazing! Have you seen this recipe yet? It’s was so delicious and after my first attempt baking with almond pulp, I assumed every cookie and cake recipe would turn out great. Not the case. I actually had a few failures using almond pulp.Continue reading
One of my guilty pleasures is a traditional English tea. We used to live within walking distance of the Penninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills which (in my opinion) had the best tea in the city. I used to take my girls on their birthdays for a special treat and I also remember celebrating my one of my birthdays there with some friends. When we were in London with the kids two years ago, I could have cared less about any meal other than tea. I really indulged that week and I enjoyed every glutinous (and gluttonous) crumb. I love every aspect of a proper tea, from the tea itself to the sandwiches to the scones and clotted cream. Lucky for me, by the time the small desserts are served, I am usually too stuffed to bother.
My girls always lit up when the scones were served. And so did I. I would take a scone over a muffin any day. Scones are a low-sugar (but high-flour) biscuit, basically. They are are supposed to be light and tender and not too sweet since they are served with fruit preserves. What’s funny is that even though scones feel light, they are anything but. Most scone recipes call for lots of butter and heavy cream to keep them from being a dry hockey puck!
I like plain scones just as much as ones with currants. And a warm scone with a cup of tea makes me instantly relax for some reason. Ironically, even though I love classic scones, I don’t make them that way at home. I think we have spent enough time together to know that I don’t use white flour unless it’s absolutely necessary. Same goes for sugar. So naturally my scones will use whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour instead. I have a taste for the nuttiness of whole grain flours as well as a preference for lower glycemic and more nutritious foods. But if you don’t, or you want these to taste more like “regular” scones, feel free to sub an equal amount of white flour. Or use half whole wheat pastry and half white flour.
To further deviate from traditional scones, this recipe includes fresh strawberries and on occasion dark chocolate chunks. Gasp! I started testing this recipe with freeze-dried and regular dried strawberries and the scones were amazing. And then I realized how much money I was spending on bags of dried strawberries and I thought it was a little silly to make such expensive scones. So I turned to fresh strawberries which are actually a little tricky to work with because they’re a tad wet. So the scone recipe can actually support 1 1/2 cups of stuff, but not 1 1/2 cups of fresh strawberries. You can do 1 cup of fresh strawberries + 1/2 cup dried. Or 1 cup fresh strawberries + 1/2 cup fresh blueberries. Or you can take this recipe and turn it into blueberries scones, using 1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries.
Well, it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday and I’m just saying that moms like a little attention. They like to feel appreciated. To wake up on Mother’s Day with breakfast in bed is a very nice way to start the day, especially if the breakfast-makers clean up after themselves in the kitchen, too. (This is very important!) These scones would be a good idea. If you don’t have time to make scones on Sunday morning, why not make them today and freeze them today? Pull them out of the freezer the night before and warm them in the oven the next morning. One of these scones with a hot cup of tea and a little love from my kiddos, who would also abstain from bickering the whole day, is my dream morning. Hint, hint.
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour (GF version on reverse)
1 Tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ sticks (12 Tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
1 cup diced fresh strawberries
1 cup buttermilk, plus more as needed and for brushing tops
⅓ cup grade A maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
optional add-ins: ½ cup fresh blueberries or ½ cup dark chocolate chunks
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Grate the butter into the bowl with a hand grater. Use the paper wrapping to hold the butter. Or cut the butter into pieces and working with a few pieces at a time, scoop some flour and butter mixture into your hands. Squeeze butter with your fingertips pressing your thumbs across your fingers to flatten the butter into petal shapes. Repeat until all butter is flattened and coated with flour mixture.
Add strawberries (plus blueberries and/or chocolate if using) to flour/butter mixture and combine.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Slowly add buttermilk mixture to flour/butter mixture, whisking constantly to combine, just until mixture begins to form clumps. Add more buttermilk if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time, until no dry flour remains in the bowl.
Transfer mixture to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly dust your hands with flour and gather mixture into a ball, squeezing to form a dough (it may still crumble slightly).
Flatten dough to a 1” thickness and fold in half. Flatten and fold once more. Gently shape into a 1” thick, 7” diameter round. Cut into 10-12 wedges (or you can do a rectanglar and cut into squares), then separate them ½” apart.
Brush tops with buttermilk. Bake scones until puffed, golden brown on top, and hollow-sounding when tapped on bottoms, 15-18 minutes. Let cool slightly on a wire cooling rack.
optional add-ins: ¼ cup fresh blueberries or dark chocolate chunks
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.
Grate the butter into the bowl with a hand grater. Use the paper wrapping to hold the butter. Or cut the butter into pieces and working with a few pieces at a time. Scoop some flour and butter mixture into your hands. Squeeze butter with your fingertips pressing your thumbs across your fingers to flatten the butter into petal shapes. Repeat until all butter is flattened and coated with flour mixture.
Add strawberries (plus blueberries and/or chocolate if using) to flour/butter mixture and combine.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. Slowly add milk mixture to flour/butter mixture, stirring to combine, just until mixture begins to form clumps. The dough should be cohesive, but very sticky.
Drop the dough by the 1/3-cupful onto the prepared pan. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Something I really hate to do is to waste food. One of the reasons I plan out a week of meals is that I can shop accordingly and only buy what I know I will use. But what about that leftover almond pulp? Despite my best efforts to use up the almond byproduct that results every time I make almond milk, it just doesn’t always happen. And raw almonds are so expensive that it actually pains me to throw the pulp in the trash. It’s perfectly good food, especially since the almonds were previously soaked, making them much more digestible and nutritious!
So what do I do with it? Of course, there’s the obvious — add it to anyone’s smoothie or stir it into a warm porridge or muesli. And almond pulp freezes well, so I can save it for another time. But I am just way too lazy to get out my dehydrator and dry out the pulp to use as almond meal. And then I thought to myself, what if I just tried the almond pulp in a quick bread in place of some of the wheat flour? Well, guess what? It worked! Although apparently, a million other people already knew this and I am extremely late to the almond pulp party!
I decided to take one of my banana bread recipes and tweak it a bit with almond pulp that was leftover from 1 cup of whole, soaked raw almonds. Remember, almonds have a lot more fat than grain flours, so we can cut back on some of the added fat. But almonds have no gluten, so I was reluctant to make an all-almond pulp bread this first time. I know this will be neither Paleo nor gluten-free (although I am confident you can swap the gluten flour for a good GF all purpose mix + a little xanthan gum), but I think we can fix that with a few more tweaks. Using half whole wheat flour and half almond pulp, this bread came out to be ABSOLUTELY PERFECT! Moist but hearty, not crumbly, and not too sweet. It’s perfect banana bread, in my book. My life changed instantly!! Let’s all imagine the possibilities of subbing some almond pulp for flour in different recipes! Is this exciting or what??
Most of the recipes on my site have been made in my cooking classes and at home about 20 times, but this one I just did once so I haven’t tested all the permutations, e.g. all almond pulp, no bananas, butter for coconut oil, and so on. But you can bet I will! I am planning on making my Millet Blondies today with almond pulp. Check my Instagram for updates! And please share your experiences with subbing in almond pulp in any recipes — I’ll try anything!
One last favor — I love Saveur Magazine and they’re conducting their annual food blog awards right now. If you like my blog, would you kindly take 15 seconds out of your busy day and nominate me for a Saveur Food Blog Award? I think the category of Best Special Interest Blog (healthy cooking) would be great. Thank you so much! Here’s the link (and I promise it takes 15 seconds!) http://www.saveur.com/article/contests/blog-awards-2015-nominate
My friend Alex sent me an email a few weeks ago with the subject line: “new obsession”. Alex and I have very similar tastes in food and she is also not one for melodrama, so I knew this was an email I was interested in reading. She proceeded to write: ” I have a new obsession. Full out obsession” with the recipe for a delicious-sounding “Turmeric Tea.” Thank you, Alex! Right up my alley. Print!
I don’t know what has taken me so long to wind down an evening, any evening, with a cup of warm, anti-inflammatory turmeric tea or latte. It’s everything I love — soothing, nourishing, delicious and might even help me sleep better to boot. The same day I received Alex’s email, a text came through from another girlfriend, whose husband was instructed to follow and anti-inflammatory diet. “Can you tell me what foods are anti-inflammatory? Need to get on this pronto!” First thing I wrote back was … turmeric.
I love turmeric in curries, stews, juices and I even add it to my homemade taco seasoning. Because turmeric runs bright, flaming yellow, I also use it in place of saffron sometimes (like in Mediterranean fish stew and paella.) It is truly one of the most healing, powerful foods on earth. I already mentioned turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties, but it is also an antioxidant, wound healer, digestive stimulant, liver detoxifier, helps to lower cholesterol, and has a warming thermal nature. I use fresh turmeric in juices, and ground in everything else for practical reasons. Turmeric has a very distinct, but mild flavor. Since it is related to ginger, it does have a faint hint of ginger, but also a bitter, tart, chalkiness, too. A little is nice, but a lot can be offensive. It also stains like crazy — from clothing to countertops — so be careful!
Since Alex’s email, I have made this beverage many, many times and guess what? I’m OBSESSED! It’s my new favorite drink, just in time for winter when I don’t really drink cooling juices as much. However I’m calling this a Turmeric Latte, since the base of it is milk. I use almond milk, because it’s my go-to and I always have homemade on hand. Of course you can use regular milk or your favorite alternative milk, or a combo of milks. I recently started playing around with adding a little cashew milk to almond to add a thick, creamy richness. More on that another time!
This turmeric latte is beyond delightful and the perfect way to settle into a restful evening. It is also quite easy to prepare and you might even have all the ingredients on hand. I would start with the basic recipe below and then change it to suit your taste/needs. For example, it would be perfectly easy to use a few drops of stevia to sweeten instead of the maple syrup. Or a couple pinches of ground ginger instead of fresh. If you love turmeric, feel free to add more.
As we near the end of 2014, I know many of you have resolutions of better health and adopting new habits on the brain. I hope this post catches you in time, as I think drinking a turmeric latte a few times a week is a resolution I can stick to. How about you?
My grandparents had a cute place in the Pocono mountains when I was growing up. We would go for a week in the summer and occasionally for a long weekend during Thanksgiving and Presidents’ weekend. Summers were the best though, because we were always outside playing badminton or bocce on the bocce alley my grandfather built. Or picking wild blackberries until our arms were scratched from top to bottom.
My grandmother, my aunt and my mother would go to the market every day it seemed. I swear we weren’t done with breakfast before my grandmother nervously asked, “Ok, now what are we doing about lunch?” Everything revolved around food and mealtime. “Don’t go out now or you’ll be late for supper!” “What time does everyone want to eat?” “What should we make tonight for dinner?” And so on. Now that I direct mealtime at my parents’ house in the summer when I visit, I sort of see the obsession. You can’t just wing it when you’re feeding a crowd and it’s no picnic when you’ve got hungry kids (or adults!)
I always loved everything the ladies cooked, but there was a special dessert that my uncle used to make that blew my mind. He would take the leftover espresso from the morning and dissolve sugar into it and a little water and freeze the whole thing. In between bocce matches, he would go to the freezer and scrape the mixture into slushy, icy bits. He called it granita di caffe. It was like coffee ice, but we actually made it at home without any fancy machinery and it was delicious! Of course I couldn’t have too much because I was like 7 years old, so eventually he made us children granita di limone, lemon ice. It was like a lemonade slushy. Heaven.
I had a dinner party over the weekend and because the weather is still warm where I live, I decided to try an apple granita for dessert. WINNER!!! Talk about the easiest, tasty, fresh, light, seasonal dessert. It was also perfect because two of my girlfriends are dairy-free. If you can imagine a light and crispy apple slushy ice infused with fall spices, this is apple granita. I also had a granita sundae bar set up so we could layer the granita with caramel ice cream, crushed gingersnap cookies and dehydrated apple slices. Just so good and did I mention easy? Plus I did it a few days ahead and you know how much I love getting things done early.
What I love about granita is that it seems like a special dessert, but it’s really so easy you could make it for your kids for an after school snack, which I did for Mr. Picky yesterday. He freaked out! And when I told him I made it by myself without a machine, he started making all sorts of plans for future granitas, like Gatorade granita. Creative, but not happening of course. Just a dollop of whipped cream on top and some crushed gingersnaps made Mr. Picky forget about everything else for a bit. Just like when I was a kid.
3 cups natural-style apple juice, preferably organic
6-8 Tablespoons Grade A maple syrup or cane sugar
1 ½ Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground allspice
In a saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and cook over moderate heat, whisking until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Do this step even if you are using a liquid sweetener as the heat will enhance the flavors of the spices.
Pour mixture into an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish. Freeze until icy around the edges, about an hour.
Using a fork, scrape the icy shards into the center. Continue to freeze, scraping occasionally and smashing any large lumps until coarse crystals form, about 3-4 hours longer. The end result should be a fluffy, coarse You can also use a large baking dish and the process will go more quickly. Keep frozen until ready to serve. The granita can be made a week in advance.
There are probably other sweeteners that you can use, but I only tested the recipe with maple syrup and cane sugar. I thought the recipe was a tad too sweet with ½ cup of sugar, but my friends thought it was perfect. If you tend to prefer desserts that are not too sweet, then use the lower amount of sugar/syrup.
I once again had the pleasure of teaching the always stylish and gracious Jenni Kayne and her lovely friends a July 4th cooking class at her gorgeous home. Although I teach at Jenni’s home every month, this was a special class in which we also partnered with The Chalkboard, one of my very favorite sites. With Independence Day just around the corner, Jenni wanted to create the perfect holiday get-together that was festive, but relaxed. My job was to come up with the deliciousness!
If you have seen some of the classes I have done at Jenni’s before, you know that every detail is so beautiful and perfect, you want to go recreate the whole thing on your own. One of the best parts of Jenni’s Rip + Tan blog is that she generously provides sources for everything, from table linens to straws to jars. What I just loved about the décor is that it was in the spirit of the holiday, but still beautiful and understated, without going overboard. Please check out Rip + Tan for more photos and details about the decor.
This year, I made five recipes that I think are easy, seasonal, healthful and perfect for summer entertaining. We started with some delicious vegan beet and black bean burgers which I will be teaching in my classes this summer. I love salads at this time of year and especially for entertaining since most of the ingredients can be prepped in advance. At Jenni’s I whipped up a charred corn salad, a vegetarian antipasto chopped salad, and an arugula and farro salad with peaches. All so yummy and healthy and I will post them all before July 4th! For dessert, you will love this yogurt and blueberry tart in a graham cracker crust, which I am sharing today.
Have you ever tried straining Greek yogurt overnight? It comes out with a texture like cream cheese! No joke! I stirred in a little Grade A maple syrup and some vanilla beans (although you could definitely use vanilla extract) and the result is a super thick and creamy, spreadable yogurt for a delicious tart filling. This tart is lightly sweet, which I love, and I think it would equally welcome for brunch as it is for a dessert.
Since I am beyond crazy for the fresh blueberry sauce I posted last year, I poured that on top for the perfect finish. Of course you can do something more red, white and blue by topping the tart with fresh raspberries and blueberries. These berry tarts from Martha Stewart look darling and can give you some inspiration for using fresh fruit. Or you can use any type of fresh fruit sauce like peaches, cherries, or citrus in the winter. So many delicious ways to enjoy this!
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup, raw honey or cane sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped (use the pod to flavor sugar or discard)
1 pint fresh blueberries for garnish or blueberry sauce (recipe below)
To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend graham crackers, sugar and salt in a food processor until graham crackers are finely ground. Add butter and vanilla; process until moist crumbs form. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch round tart pan, springform pan or pie plate. Bake crust until deep golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.
In a medium bowl, mix the strained yogurt with the maple syrup and the scraped beans from the vanilla bean. Spread the yogurt mixture in the crust and smooth the top. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Garnish with fresh blueberries or pour blueberry sauce over the top. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, however crust will be soft the next day
I have tried this recipe with alternative yogurts, such as coconut, but they will not strain to the same thick, cream cheese-like consistency as the Greek yogurt.
*To strain yogurt: place a thin, clean tea towel/flour sack towel or a double layer of cheesecloth inside a colander. Place the yogurt in the tea towel and wrap up to cover the yogurt. Place the colander in a large bowl or on top of a plate to catch any drips and place in fridge overnight.
FRESH BLUEBERRY SAUCE
make 1 1/4 cups of sauce
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder (depending on how thick you want it)
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pint blueberries
3 Tablespoons Grade A maple syrup
3 Tablespoons water
In a small bowl, whisk the arrowroot in the lemon juice until dissolved. Set aside.
Place the blueberries, maple syrup and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes.
Add the arrowroot and lemon juice mixture and stir to combine. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes until blueberries are very soft and sauce has thickened.
Serve warm over pancakes or ice cream or refrigerate up to 5 days for later use.
Am I the only one who reads cookbooks like novels? Sometimes it’s embarrassing when I am asked “what are you reading?” because my nightstand is stacked with cookbooks, nutrition books and cooking magazines. Of course it’s inspiring to look at new recipes and techniques, but more than that I find it relaxing. A cooking nerd I most definitely am.
I was super excited to dig into Laurie David’s new cookbook, “The Family Cooks.” I recently had the opportunity to meet Laurie at a party for the launch of her new book. I think she is such a powerhouse and I love her message about making time to cook from scratch and eating together as a family. I’m so on her wavelength. All her recipes look good, but since she urged me to make the miso-glazed cod first, I didn’t waste any time.
The first time I had miso cod was many years ago at a very fancy restaurant in LA called Nobu. The cod is so silky, it just melts in your mouth and has a little sweet-salty thing going on which is my favorite flavor combo. This recipe is very similar although I appreciate Laurie’s use of maple syrup over processed cane sugar. It is a very impressive dish, yet it only takes minutes to prepare and uses very few ingredients. I also love that you can marinate it for a whole day if you want and then all you have to do is broil it before din
I am always looking to expand our fish repertoire with good sustainable options. We tend to eat a lot of wild salmon, wild halibut and (when my husband is not home for dinner) wild shrimp. Whenever I want to know what the current status is for a particular fish, I go to seafoodwatch.org, an organization which helps consumers and businesses make choices for healthy oceans. Their recommendations indicate which seafood items are “Best Choices,” “Good Alternatives,” and which ones you should “Avoid.” Black cod, which is also known as sablefish, is considered to be a “best choice.” The whole family (except Daughter #2 who still doesn’t eat most fish and didn’t try this) loved it. Serve with a simple steamed rice or cauli-rice, and a green vegetable and you have an easy, delicious and healthful dinner. I made it recently with a kelp noodle salad and some sautéed beet greens!
There are a few ingredients that you may not normally have on hand, namely miso, a fermented soybean paste, and mirin, a sweet rice wine. Both are easy to find in many grocery stores and they have a very long shelf life so you have plenty of time to make this recipe again!
Author: Pamela, adapted from "The Family Cooks" by Laurie David
⅓ cup white miso, preferably organic
⅓ cup pure maple syrup or honey (I like maple syrup)
⅓ cup mirin
1 Tablespoon grated fresh peeled ginger
1 Tablespoon toasted unrefined sesame oil
4 pieces (6 ounces each) skinless black cod fillet, also known as sablefish
In a bowl or glass pie plate just large enough to hold the fish, whisk together the miso, maple syrup, mirin, ginger and sesame oil. Place the fish in the bowl and spoon the marinade on top of the fish to cover it completely. Cover the bowl with a plate and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight. The longer you can do this, the better the fish will taste.
Before cooking the fish, preheat the broiler and position your oven rack about 6 inches from the heat. I place the rack on the level the second from the top.
If you don’t have a stainless steel baking sheet, line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
Pull the fish from the bowl and shake off any excess marinade clinging to the fish. Place the fish on the baking sheet and broil until the glaze is dark and shiny and the fish flakes when you press on it, about 6-8 minutes.