[Ed. note: Our special-guest blogger from last Halloween, returns.]
Marlowe here. I is chocolate "rescue" lab who pawed blog last year about Mini Butterscotch Apples. Dad said to leave a computer web internets link to remind you so I do now here goes make way: www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mini-butterscotch-apples. He also says I says to reminds you to click ad links so we have more money for treats. Also says he hopes I do not eat too many minty-breath treats at one time, like that day I did and trew up so much he called me Shamrock Shake for month. I not know what that mean.
Today I has a sad because Mom go away for while (in dog weeks this will suck) to do human things and leave me with Dad, who cooks like a cat. While Mom gone I hope he do not overdose on cheeseburgers and shame.
Luckily he like all varieties of healthy greens, so for side dishes Mom often make sautéed leafy greens like spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collard and mustard greens, or bok choy. Dad say primary care physician appreciate. What. Ever.
Mom say this original dish can't be more easier to prepare, five whole minutes (35 if you is dog), and can be served as a side or main. Also Dad say use bullet points hey me no know how slow down I bite you:
In closing, please enjoy, and I now go enjoy NBA finals with Dad. Me no fear no deer or dinosaur from Canada. Go Warriors. #DubNation
Number of servings: 2 as a main, 4 as side
I worked on this all night.
Something about watching the BF's expression go from "Vegan, really?" to "Yes I would like forty more of these, thank you" does my heart good. [Ed. note: These kind of surprises are the best.]
Actually made these for the first time last August, and wondered why I'd waited so long to try them. Cinco de Mayo provides a perfect excuse to bring them out again, and will hopefully give you a healthy, vegan, gluten-free option should you be hosting family and friends for the holiday, or any day!
PS: A year ago we were watching the Golden State Warriors in the middle of a playoff run (tonight they're headed into Houston for a game against the Rockets) [Ed. note and game recap 5/5: DAMMIT], and we had a bit of fun with some coconut curry shrimp dedicated to one Wardell Stephen Curry II. www.moveablefeast.me/blog/three-point-coconut-curry-shrimp
Adapted from: Jessica Seinfeld (jessicaseinfeld.com/)
Number of servings: 2-4 depending on how hungry you are
Pickled onion and Jalapeños
Pickled Onion & Jalapeños
I professed my love of mushrooms earlier this year with the help of The Bruce Dickinson and his cowbell (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mushroom-risotto), and wasn't lying. If I could only have one kind of pizza the rest of my life, this is it. Havarti and fontina cheese, sautéed shiitake and baby bella mushrooms, fresh rosemary and thyme, and a little drizzle of white truffle oil make this pizza wonderfully rich and completely addicting.
Truffle oil is a bit too rich for the BF [Ed. note: I'm already fungus drunk!], so I just drizzled it on half of the pizza. Honestly, this doesn't need it as it's very rich on it's own, but it definitely gives the pizza a wow factor.
I added thinly sliced red onion and minced serrano peppers. Entirely optional, but I thought it balanced the spices and richness of the cheese and truffle oil.
PS: One year ago, a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime [Ed. note: well hopefully not] family reunion permeated the roasted beet salad with orange and avocado recipe (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/roasted-beet-salad-with-orange-and-avocado).
Adapted from: A Beautiful Plate
Number of Servings: Makes one 10-11 inch pizza
As Tom Lehrer sang a year ago, "Spring is here!" [Ed. note: Check the PPS below for the link.] These beauties are in season all year, but I especially love them in the spring time. Have been known to serve them up as a main dish since they take less than 30 minutes to make, but you'll probably want to have them as a side with...anything.
In our house, we drizzle chimichurri sauce on everything from grilled/roasted beef to lamb, chicken, fish, seafood, rice, quinoa, yams, and veggies. Even eggs or avocado toast. Bright, zesty, addicting.
NOTE: I have found tri-color fingerling potatoes and at my local supermarket, but if you can't find them, you can use Dutch baby potatoes or yellow fingerlings.
And finally, a quick side note to nominate the BF for a "BF of the year" award [Ed. note: AND I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE ACADEMY...], as I have been shuffling around with a slipped disc, unable to lift the 60-pound bins I deliver weekly. He has not only helped me dauntlessly for the past two weeks, but with a smile on his face. Could not have fulfilled the orders without him and, hopefully, this roasted potato side with a prime ribeye was an adequate reward for his efforts. MUAH
[Ed. note: Hey nobody tell her I'm happy to tag along. PRIME RIBEYE, people!]
PS: Think these potatoes are colorful? Well check out these pinkalicious deviled eggs as I re-examine family trauma (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/pinkalicious-deviled-eggs).
PPS: Also high on the color charts are these spice roasted carrots with avocado and yogurt, which we bring to you while (proverbially) poisoning pigeons in the park (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/spiced-roasted-carrots-with-avocado-yogurt).
PPPS: We celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a heartfelt Denis Leary ditty and Bailey's Irish Cream Tiramisu (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/baileys-irish-cream-tiramisu).
Adapted from: A Beautiful Plate (potatoes); The Pollan Family Table (chimichurri), Corky, Lori, Dana and Tracy Pollan
Number of servings: 4
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Set out to make a cake made with olive oil to see what it would taste like. One bowl. No eggs. No dairy. Vegan. [Ed. note: Vegan? Chocolate cake? Is this allowed?] Why yes! Yes it is. In fact, because of the olive oil it's so incredibly moist, with a deep dark-chocolate flavor, it made me swoon. [Ed. note: Taking notes.]
This has been called a Wacky cake or Depression Cake (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depression_cake), as during those years milk, sugar, butter and eggs were either expensive or scarce. Now my love of cake-making with oil instead of butter runs deep. I have baked many a cake with grapeseed or canola oils (both flavorless), but this was my first foray into using olive oil. The result is a far more moist dessert that keeps exceptionally well. Deb of Smitten Kitchen says, "On day four in the fridge, ours was as moist as day one, basically a miracle."
Using olive oil, for some strange reason, just never seemed right. I think of olive oil as being savory, but I was wrong. It truly works here.
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of Servings; 8-12
Last October the BF and I were invited to dinner at the house of some dear friends. Husband, wife, and two adorable kids. The hubs is a grill-master, and the wife is a wonderful cook who treated us to Indian-spiced grilled chicken, roasted yams and a kale salad that was so good I asked if we could use it for a future blog, and she was kind enough to say yes. She does not know the specific origins of the recipe as it came to her from a friend. No matter. Our benefit, and yours.
Since that dinner the salad has accompanied many meals for the meat-loving BF, and was a highlight of our last Thanksgiving feast. It's almost too easy to assemble, and could not be healthier.
NOTE: Okay, maybe a little healthier. To make this vegetarian dish vegan, simply substitute the mayonnaise with Vegenaise eggless or other vegan substitute.
Adapted from: Our dear friends around the corner!
Number of servings: 2-4
[Ed. note: Quick addendum to give a heartfelt farewell to a man who REALLY loves his kale, former San Francisco Giant outfielder Hunter Pence. As a bay area kid who grew up experiencing a lot of awful Giants baseball (Boo LeMaster!), it was thrilling to watch you patrol AT&T Park's angular right field, preach the championship blood through two World Series victories (2012, 2014), and get that ridiculous three-stage hit that people here will forever be talking about. All love and best of luck to you as you play for your Arlington-hometown Texas Rangers. Yes. Yes. Yes.]
So, Valentine's Day is this week, and at some point I usually make a dinner the BF really loves. [Ed. note: Hey we're going out too! Cripes, now we'll get letters.] The main course is a no-brainer: prime ribeye. [Ed. note: Changing reservation to a more expensive place.] For dessert, want to make a treat that we both swoon over. Well aware that chocolate and Valentine's Day are synonymous, it's just not always the case in our house. Now, the BF likes chocolate but, unlike me, he really has to be in the mood for something super-rich chocolatey. He actually can say no to chocolate—I know, gasp! [Ed. note: Watches hate mail pile up.]
This pot de crème is like a turbo-charged version of butterscotch pudding. A decadent custard that's silky, butterscotchy, caramelly, salty-sweet, with deep notes of brown sugar. Squarely in the BF's wheelhouse, and I definitely don't feel like we have to have chocolate every night. Got to spice things up sometimes, right?
Truthfully, this is a solid go-to dessert for guests as it takes no time at all to prep (talking about ten minutes) and looks-tastes pedantically fancy. As easy and straightforward as the directions are, the only vexing part is dirtying two pots and two mixing bowls. It's worth it.
An added bonus, can halve the recipe so it just makes two small ramekins.
This recipe is adapted from Molly of Orangette, who describes these pots de crème as "Cold and rich and almost hyperbolically creamy, the custard yields under the spoon the way a good down pillow does under your head: with a welcoming, slippery whoosh. The gates to heaven have never opened so easily."
She is not lying.
Adapted from: Orangette
Number of servings: 4
PS: A year ago I broke out the Paderno Brand 3-Blade Spiralizer for some kohlrabi "noodles" with bacon, carmelized onion and shaved parmesan (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/kohlrabi-noodles-bacon-caramelized-onion-shaved-parmesan).
PPS: For those of you muttering to yourselves through clenched teeth, "Fake vegetable noodles? Forget that and this butterscotch deal, I want chocolate," let's revisit this chocolate oblivion truffle torte (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/chocolate-oblivion-truffle-torte).
After a wonderful birthday meal at San Francisco's China Live (chinalivesf.com/), detailed in the last blog, am happy to say gong hey fat choy!
Truth be told, the BF and I could eat Chinese food every day of the week. [Ed. note: Confirming.]
Yu choy is a long, leafy Chinese green with yellow flowers and tender stalks. Very mild, with a little sweetness to it. Am very lucky I can find it in almost all of my local grocery stores, as well as farmers markets. It's one of my favorite greens (BF loves it too). It's also easily stir fried, sautéed or steamed, and you can prepare it as a healthy side dish or main course. Serve it alone, as in the picture above, or with a protein like steak, as below.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Pig!
NOTE: I made the dish exactly as written below (although streamlined some of the directions). You can also sauté the greens as opposed to blanching. Either way it's easy and delicious.
Adapted from: The Woks of Life
Number of servings: 4
Pictures below are from my celebratory birthday trip through San Francisco and China Town.
"Guess what? I've got a fever, and the only prescription...is more fungus."
-The Bruce Dickinson (Christopher Walken)
[Ed. note: Yes, yes. We used "fungus" for "cowbell."]
Fungus lovers unite! Since a wee child, I have loved mushrooms. The one veggie that most kids didn't like, I loved. Go figure.
If you're a fungus fiend like me, this dish gives you an excuse to try all those interesting mushroom varieties you see in your produce section, but didn't know what to do with them. Here, nameko, shiitake, trumpet & brown cremini mushrooms were used, but you can use whatever you have available to you. Don't be afraid to experiment. Although, if you use portobello mushrooms, remove the gills.
The BF loved this dish. [Ed. note: Don't say that out loud, I told the guys we had cheeseburgers.] It would make a to-die-for Valentines Day or date-night dinner (as the BF and I had). I cut the recipe in half and it made three servings, which was perfect for us for dinner plus a little leftover for the next day. It's also perfect for your favorite person who maintains a gluten-free diet.
A note about this risotto. The original recipe called for goat cheese, which I thought overpowered the entire dish and took away the actual mushroom flavor. Now I love my cheese, but this still felt like overkill. If you feel like it needs a little more creaminess at the end, add one to two tablespoons of whipping cream, mascarpone or crème fraiche. But honestly, I don't think it needs any dairy at all.
Only made a few other changes to the original. Added rosemary from the backyard garden, which I thought it added a zing. Also added about one cup more broth than called for. Perhaps it's the brand of rice I use, but seems I always need more broth than called for.
Some more notes about risotto. They can be a bit of a mystery and to be honest, it's not always done right and can be easy to screw up. Below are a few excellent tips and how to avoid some of these common mistakes, from bon appétit assistant food editor Alison Roman.
Do not use a cold stock
Adding chilly stock to a hot pan will cool everything down and mess up the cooking process. Keep stock at a simmer in a small pan so everything stays hot and cooks evenly.
Do not stir it constantly (or not at all)
Stirring the rice constantly will add air into the risotto, while cooling it down and making it gluey. But if you don't stir enough, the rice will stick to the bottom and burn. Agitating the rice is important, because risotto's creaminess comes from the starch generated when grains of rice rub against each other. So stir it often, but feel free to give your arms (and the rice) a break.
Do not add stock all at once
If you dump in the stock all at once, you're just boiling rice. By slowly adding stock, you allow the rice to bump up against each other, creating that creamy starch. Wait until the rice absorbs all the stock to add some more.
Do not cook the rice until it's mushy
Like pasta, the rice should be al dente (just cooked, with a little bite to it). If you can mold a risotto into a shape (yes, like some restaurants do) you've cooked it too much. Risotto should have body, but should not be overly mushy and starchy. You're not making rice pudding!
Do not use a wide pot
If your pot is too wide, the rice will cook in a thin layer and won't be able to bump and grind enough to generate starch. Another problem: there will be hot and cold spots in your pot, so choose one that fits perfectly over your burner.
Do not cook at too low a heat
Yes, risotto is supposed to be a slower cooking process; but if you cook it at too low a heat, it will never cook. The rice should be at a medium simmer throughout cooking.
Do not cook vegetables with the rice
Except for your mirepoix (onion, mushrooms, garlic), you should add already cooked vegetables into your risotto after the rice is finished cooking. This is important for tender greens like spinach, delicate herbs like chives, lemon zest, and veggies like asparagus, mushrooms, and legumes. Again, you don't want anything mushy in your risotto. Make sure you cook your vegetables separately before adding them in.
Do not add cheese too early
Save things like mascarpone and Parmesan for the end of the cooking process. Fat will break under the heat and it will be, in a word, yucky. When the rice is finished, stir in some fresh whipped cream (unsweetened, of course) to give the risotto a light, silky texture.
Adapted from: Eva Kosmas Flores, First We Eat
Number of servings: 6
This Russian cabbage borscht is another winter warm-up secret weapon. Not to be confused with borscht made with beets or various meats and winter vegetables; while that is good, this soup is pure Jewish comfort food. Just a handful of simple ingredients, mainly cabbage.
When I was a kid, momala made a cabbage borsht flavored with short ribs or brisket. Once the meat finished cooking, she would shred and add it back into the soup. After pouting, I would pick out all the meat and leave the cabbage. Then I would complain. A lot. (Cabbage: not a favorite.) My childhood best friend loved the soup, so much so that momala would joke that she was the rightful daughter, not me. Today, I would never dream of doing that. Cabbage is actually my favorite part.
However, this version is different from my mom's soup, but an homage all the same. Kept her addition of golden raisins for the sweetness, but I made this version more brothy and added caraway seeds, V8 juice and cayenne for a little kick. Also, everything is finely chopped or minced rather than chunky. Always have to mention, the BF absolutely loves this soup. [Ed. note: Can confirm.]
You can even make this vegan by using vegetable instead of chicken broth.
Healthy, flavorful, delicious, inexpensive and it freezes very well. Makes a delightful lunch or perfect dinner paired with Russian rye or black bread. [Ed. note: HOW ABOUT VODKA OKAY JUST KIDDING]
What's not to love? Momala would be proud!
Number of Servings: 10-12 cups
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the bay area. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.