Friday, May 29, 2009

Rainy Day Risotto

Maybe this cheerful spring risotto will warm you as the rains continue to fall from the skies. Ugh! Four days now.. raw, wet & windy. I think I just saw my poor bean seedlings float on by :( I'm suppose to be wrapping soaps for Farmers Market tomorrow, but instead I just put on a big pot of sauce (yeah, I know it isn't Sunday yet..but I'm cold!) and planning to have a big bowl of cavatelli & hot sausage for dinner tonite. Stay warm! ;)

P.S. I made this edamame & violet risotto last week on a gorgeous sunny day.

for a printable recipe, click here

Rainy Day Risotto

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup diced sweet peppers
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable, kept warm
1 1/2 cups shelled edamame
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper


1. Heath the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers--cook for five minutes.

2. Add the rice and cook, stirring until transluscent. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed.

3. Stir in the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally. Wait until each addition of broth is absorbed before adding the next. It should take about 25 minutes for all the broth to be absorbed.

4. When the rice is tender, remove from heat and stir in the edamame,cilantro, and top with fresh violet buds and Parmesan cheese, Season with sea salt & ground pepper. Enjoy!

Tikka Masala

With the warmer days, the kickoff of grilling season begins again. So over the gorgeous Memorial Day weekend I made this meal.. tikka masala. Chicken Tikka Masala is a delicious dish which pre-marinated pieces of chicken are grilled and then added to a thick creamy gravy. The result is a lovely warm and smokey flavor. I served it over a bed of jasmine rice as I was all out of basmati, plenty of chopped cilantro along with triangles of syrian bread. If you grill as much as we do here, this is a very easy recipe that may be may ahead. Don't omit the marinade really adds a lot to this warming dish. I originally had this dish at a friends barbecue, where she served shrimp instead of chicken. Both are equally delicious in this wonderful sauce mixture.

Prepare the chicken

3 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sea salt

Sprinkle seasonings over chicken breasts--cover in wrap & refrigerate 30 minutes.


1 cup whole yogurt
1 TBLS fresh ginger, diced fine
2 TBLS garlic cloves, minced
2 TBLS vegetable oil

Mix well and set aside until chicken is ready to be cooked. Once readied, dip chicken breasts into yogurt mixture. Once coated, toss them on the grill, basting each side until chicken is cooked and sauce mixture is gone. Allow chicken to rest once grilled and slice into 1 inch slices and then turn and cube into 1 inch pieces.
Set aside and prepare the masala sauce.

Prepare Masala Sauce

3 TBLS vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and diced fine
1 TBLS tomato paste
1 TBLS Garam Masala -*an Indian warm mixture of spices
1 cerano chili-minced

Saute onion, garlic and ginger in vegetable oil for 7 minutes. Add tomato paste, garam masala & chili and cook 4-5 minutes longer.
Then add:
28 oz crushed tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt

Cover and continue cooking another five minutes or so. Lower the heat and stir into the red sauce 2/3 cup light cream. Once blended in, add the cooked,cubed chicken pieces just long enough to blend in. No need to cook any longer. Add 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and serve over warm rice. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Stuffed Eggplant

These days I’ve been cooking light and as easy as I can. The new gardens are taking more time than I expected, but I find myself unable to leave them once I get working. At the end of the day the last thing I want to do is prepare a large dinner meal. But on the plus side, the spinach and ruby chard are just about ready to pick! Here’s a dish that I make often and so simple to prepare or can be made ahead and heated just before serving. You can add any veggies you like to this dish. I used mixed sweet peppers, shallots, and garlic along with some frozen corn I had on hand…along with the star of this dish, the eggplant. I prepared this early in the morning, so I could just pop it into the oven at dinnertime.

· 2 medium eggplants
· ½ cup frozen corn
· 2 shallots finely chopped
· 3 garlic cloves, minced
· ¾ cup diced sweet peppers
· 2 TBLS olive oil
· 2 TBLS minced fresh parsley
· ½ tsp summer savory, minced
· 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
· sea salt & ground pepper to taste
· 2 oz crumbed feta cheese
· 3 oz shredded fontina cheese
· 1 egg, beaten
· 1/2 cup water

Cut eggplant in half lengthwise; remove pulp, leaving a 1/4-in. shell. Cube removed pulp and set shells aside.
In a large skillet, saute the eggplant pulp, corn, shallots, peppers and garlic in oil until peppers are just tender. Stir in herbs and seasoning. In a separate bowl mix cheeses and one beaten egg together. Add cheese mixture to sautéed vegetables. Spoon mixture into reserved eggplant shells. Sprinkle with paprika. Place in an ungreased baking dish and pour water into bottom of pan..
Cover and bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is lightly browned. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fiddlehead Pasta Primavera

Farmers Market season opening was Saturday and it was so great seeing my regular vendors buddies and a few new faces. We have a great new artisan cheese maker offering an assortment of cave aged seasoned cheddars, and some herb and spicy cheese spreads, grass fed beef, veal, organic veggies as well as fiddleheads. Our fiddlehead season is so short but they are just so delicious that I picked up 4 pounds that I made primavera with and froze the rest. You can add any veggies you prefer to this dish. I also picked up some hot Italian sausage from another vendor friend that we grilled and added it sliced to the dish.

Fiddlehead Pasta Primavera

1 pound fiddleheads
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup butter & 1/4 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced fine
2-4 minced shallots
cherry or Roma tomatoes chopped
1/2 can chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
Rosemary, thyme, salt & ground pepper to taste

Blanche the cleaned, picked-over fiddleheads in a large pot of water for about 1 minute. Drain and rinse under coldwater. Heat the butter in a skillet and saute garlic, shallots until aromatic but not browned. Add wine,fiddleheads, Roma tomatoes, olives and 1/2 can chicken broth and saute another 1 to 2 minutes. Season with herbs and lemon juice, and serve immediately over linguini or angelhair pasta along with plenty of grated cheese. You might enjoy some of my other fiddlehead recipes here. Enjoy!

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

May Day is really a celebration of life and my favorite festival of Spring…and as luck would have it, also my birthday :) It probably explains a lot.

Customs, decorations, dances and foods signal the changing season. During Medieval times.. May poles were the center of revelry..splendid with their crowns of ribbons, streamers, decorations and flowers. Dancers with bells on their ankles and wrists stomped the ground to awaken it..

May bells were rung to alert the sleeping fields and forests to the time of rebirth..and May baskets hung on the doors.

Sweet Woodruff..the very essence of Spring with vibrant green leaves & early sweet blossoms was steeped in Rhine wine to make the May bowl. May 1st celebrates the height of Spring & the flowering of life. The dance around the May pole represents their unity and of many friendships. Colors are the rainbow spectrum.

There are Springs and there are Springs. The almanac has an official one. Then..there is the personal Spring…the unofficial, purely personal one that comes to each of us… sometimes early, sometimes late.

For me, Spring comes when I kneel on the ground, with a trowel in my hand.. feel the sun on my back & breathe in that special earthy smell..that promises warmth and new life and creative ideas!.

Customarily a May basket was prepared by filling it with flowers and goodwill and then given to someone in need of healing and caring. So put on your prettiest garb ..go out into the yard and spread a blanket.. let the sun warm your faces & enjoy your May Day celebration. Who cares if it’s just beginning to shower. Just grab your umbrellas!

I was able to get a few good hours in this morning walking on the beach and then working in the fields.. I had to get my shallots in the ground before the showers moved in! So to celebrate May Day and my birthday tonight, some good friends and family are taking me to my fave restaurant..Roberto's where I am planning to have a really big bowl of marinated mussels and no doubt..seafood Diavolo along with a few good bottles of wine! *wink! Have a great weekend everyone!