Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spaghetti with artichokes, cannellinis, thyme and mushroom

It is cold today, thunderstorms went through, it is dreary, fortunately likely dreary only for a day after a sunny weekend. So cold, however, that a warm lunch was in order: frozen artichokes, cannelini beans, fresh thyme, and a few sauteed baby portabellas.


Spaghetti with artichokes, cannellini beans, mushroom and thyme

1 serving

  • 2 oz cooked spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup of frozen artichokes
  • 1/2 cup cooked cannelini beans
  • 1/8 cup white wine
  • 1 ts olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 anchovy filet (or 1/4 ts anchovy paste)
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • a few springs of fresh thyme
  • a few grates of parmesan
  • 3-4 baby portabello mushroom

Heat the olive oil with the grated garlic and anchovy/paste in a frying pan for 2 min. Add the frozen artichokes, cannellini beans, cooked spaghetti, water and white wine to the pan, and stir well. Heat through until the artichokes are cooked, ca. 10min. Add fresh thyme, parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with mushroom (below).

In a separate pan, dry-fry the mushroom in a separate pan, and serve on top of the pasta.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lemon olive oil bundt cake

How is your long weekend? After much socializing  and catching up yesterday, I took it easy today, and baked a fabulous bundt cake: with a fruity olive oil, lemon zest (and extract) and some quinoa flour and almond milk. If it would not be for the eggs, it would be vegan. It is wonderfully light and flavorful, perfect for a potluck or picnic at the beach.


Lemon olive oil bundt cake

Ingredients (small cake, 6 cup pan)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1 ts baking powder
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil (like an Arbequina olive oil)
  • 1/2 ts pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 ts lemon extract
  • 3 free-range large eggs
  • 1/2  cup almond milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray the pan(s). Combine the flours and baking powder. Set aside.

Using a standmixer with the paddle attachment, beat the olive oil, cane sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon zest in a large bowl until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, for ca 2 min for each egg. Add the almond milk.

Add half of the flour mixture and beat at low speed just until blended. Add the remaining flour, and mix in. Use a silicon spatula and scrape the batter into the pan(s).

Bake the tiny cake for ca 30min, and the small bundt cake for 1 hour, until cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan(s) on a rack for about 15 minutes. Then turn the cake right side up on a rack to cool completely.  

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Lentil Quinoa Chive Salad

This is a beautiful, light ,yet hearty salad: quinoa and beluga lentils for sustenance, bell pepper and edamame for summery lightness, and chives and chive flowers for the onion dimension. Simply dressed with salt, toasted sesame oil and mirin. Perfect potluck salad.


Lentil, quinoa and chive salad:

  • 1/2 cup dried beluga lentils,
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 ts olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 israeli couscous (or harvest grains from TJ)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 ts butter
  • 1 TB roasted sesame oil
  • 2 TB mirin (sweetened rice wine vinegar)
  • 1 ts sea salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  • handful of chives with flowers

Cook the lentils, quinoa and couscous separately. Cook lentils in 1 cup water with 1 fresh bay leaf and 1 garlic clove for ca 25min. In another pot, heat the olive oil and add the garlic clove; fry for 1min and add quinoa, and toast it shortly. Add the white wine, cook it off and add the water. Bring to a boil and let simmer on low with closed lid for 30min. In a pan, melt the butter, and add the harvest grains. Toast shortly, then add the water. and simmer on low for 20min.

Cool all ingredients, and mix with the sesame oil, mirin and salt. Add the bell pepper and edamame. Chop the chives, and preserve the flowers. Mix in about 2/3 and use the remaining for decor. Serve!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Preparing for the long weekend

Are you gearing up for the holiday weekend? It always puts me in a good mood to think about a long weekend, especially in the summer. Hikes, lobsters, ocean. Yesterday, I browsed through an old Gourmet Magazine, and found the image below. Doesn’t it capture a great summer hangout in a place like Maine or Montana perfectly?

Now, I only hope that Marc Zuckerberg uses his new billions to revive the Gourmet mag.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Southwestern Fiddleheads

Oxymoron? Smiley face (fiddleheads are a northeastern thing). But it is a great way to prepare them since most recipes I know are rather bland, but this one is not at all. It is more the Eva Mendes form of fiddleheads.

Start with spicy olive oil (I bought a fiery hot harissa olive oil at Fiore), add some spicy chili flakes (1/2 tablespoon), some fresh grated or granulated garlic, and heat up. Add the kernels of a fresh chucked ear of corn, and a pinch of salt. Saute for ca. 3 min. Add precooked fiddleheads, and heat through (2min). Serve!  It is a great side to any steak or hamburger. Great also with a cup of cooked quinoa.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Glutenfree marbled cake

Over at Bea’s, she left us with a small marbled cake recipe before she travelled to Fance. Love her style of taking silicone molds with her on vacation to bake cakes. This time, she used it to make a small marbled cake, similar to my hazelnut cake a few weeks ago, but small, for the small family or the small occasion. Instead of a whole stick of butter, I only used a half stick and added instead a 1/2 cup of pre-cooked cannellini beans. You would never taste the difference. There was enough dough to make the small cake and 2 tiny individual cakes.


Small GF marbled cake with cannellinis:

  • 1/2 stick (55 g) unsalted butter, soft 
  • 1/2 cup cooked cannellini beans  (best home-cooked from dry w/o salt)
  • 3/4 cup (100 g) millet flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) quinoa flour
  • 2 TB flax meal
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) almond meal
  • 1/2 TB  baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) blond cane sugar
  • 3 large organic free-range eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 TB vanilla extract
  • 1 TB strohrum
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) buttermilk
  • 1.5 tablespoons sifted unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a small cake or cake mold or muffin pan. I use a small silicone mold (needs no spraying).

In a food processor, chop the butter and the beans to a soft mousse. Add to the bowl of a standmixer with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar, and whisk until both are well combined. Add 1 egg at a time, and mix in. Add the vanilla extract and the rum and buttermilk, and whisk well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flours, flax meal, almond meal, baking powder and salt, and mix through. Slowly add to the wet ingredients until well combined. Remove about 1/3 of the dough and mix with the cocoa powder. Fill 1/3 of the ‘white’ dough in the mold, add the chocolate dough and top with the remaining “white” dough. Bake for ca. 40min. Cool for 15 min and remove from mold. Eat!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Chanelle No 2

Today was a perfect day --- sunny, warm, almost ‘break a sweat if I move too much’ warm which is warm enough for most Mainers. After the farmers market I headed to Acadia National Park for the first hike of 2012. But first I was sidetracked after we found each other: a black kitty who must be a reincarnation of Chanelle. I was browsing an antique site (more like a junk yard) and I like this place because last time there were the cutest kittens. I appeared and 2 black cats immediately showed up and followed me around, super-friendly. One of the them not only look exactly like Chanelle but he is the same love bug. Once I sat down he snuggled up to me, curled up on my lap laying on his back, pressing hard against me, not going anywhere. Love. I almost took him home, but I am sure Chanelle No 1 would be less understanding.

So I could not leave, until we were all snuggled out after 1h. He decided he needed a little nap in the shade. And I moved on to the hill and the hike. After that, the obligatory (shopping/browsing) walk in Bar Harbor. Next time I have to get on that schooner at the Bar Harbor Inn!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Bodum grill adventures

Another nice sunny day and I finally had the courage to move my indoor plants outside for the summer, and add some more lawn furniture. Another adventure? Finally try out my small cute Bodum charcoal grill that I bought last summer. I have never use charcoal grills before so it was more or less an experiment. I bought charcoals with lighter fluid built-in, built a little pyramid in the grill, lit it and had a glass of wine. It burnt brightly but something went wrong, not all the charcoals were really white-hot, some still half dark. So, I guess I did something wrong.

Nevertheless, I threw on some mini bell peppers on the grill and closed the lid. More wine. More patience. I realized another seasonal occurrence: mosquitos interested in the orange grill adventure and me. Compared to a gas grill, a not very well light small charcoal grill seems to take forever to cook vegetables. Next time: more charcoal. However, it is a nice little portable grill for picnics. More adventures to come.




Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The orchestra of blooms

Nature has started with its orchestra of blooms.Some people are great conductors of the blooming in their gardens with an ever changing reign of beautiful matching flowers throughout spring and summer. I slowly get aware of the ever changing wave of blooms and their order. Currently, the fruit trees blossom, the cherry trees, apples, peach trees, and the dandelion adds a yellow blanket to the green lawns. Soon, it will be the time of rhododendron and peonies. Spring has finally begun.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Treasures by the sea

The rain finally stopped today, I got some work done and started into the weekend mid-afternoon with another coastal exploration trip. My mission this summer is still the hunt for antique bundt cake pans, and fortunately several of the flea markets along Rt 1 were already open. No bundt cake pans, though, but hey, it is just May. Dinner for once at Chase’s Daily in Belfast, but rookie mistake – I had no reservations. Friday is the only day Chase’s serves dinner, and obviously it is booked solid. Nevertheless, I got dinner, at the bar, reserved for those rookie interlopers. It was fabulous and made with love, as usual.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Raincoast crisps

The heavens are gray and heavy, no rain yet but soon. A good day to stay inside, take care of things, and think about cakes to bake. Yesterday, I picked up a box of Lesley Stowe’s raincoast fig and olive crackers at Rooster Brothers in Ellsworth--- delightful. Now, I just have to figure out how to make them myself. Great with goat cheese and a glass of wine.


Monday, May 7, 2012

First beach day

It is officially summer for me – and today the weather matched the concept: sunny and warm. Since it would rain for the rest of the week I could not wait to jump into my car this morning for my summer-opening trip to the coast.  I did not even know where I wanted to go, but it became clear to me after a 1/2 mile: Bar Harbor! I started listening to a new audiobook, The Painted Veil. I had seen the beautiful movie a few years ago, but the book read by a British woman is similarly delightful. Isn’t any that is read by a British person?
My usual round in Ellsworth, which is on the way,  included lunch at Cleonice. Originally I had planned for the first lobster of the year at a roadside lobster shack, but standing in front of the lunch menu at Cleonice I changed my mind.


I went with the tried and true, the beet walnut gorgonzola tapas and a new Moroccan pink lemonade with rose water. Delicious!


Instead of my usual place in one of the cozy booths I picked the table next to the window – better light for a food blogging… It also provided me with a new view of the place.


I continued to Bar Harbor, which was buzzing with contractors busily fixing up and glamourizing the place. Most restaurants or stores open on May 18. But Mount Desert Ice cream was ready for business. And its only customer. Me.


After all that good food it was time for the first beach visit and some tanning. It was warm, the aroma of salty sea air, calm seas, and again, I had the beach to myself.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kale, orange bell pepper and tricolore hummus

It is Sunday, but the lawn mowers were humming in the neighborhood this morning. The lawns had grown with splendor with the recent rain and today was the first time with enough dryness and sunshine for the first crop cut of the year. I did the same and even got the lawn mower to work after it did not want to start initially. Most the neighbors were out eventually, the first big hello of the year. The kids are one head taller, sometimes there is another little one. Since the climate is so rough in the winter in Maine, people huddle in their houses after fall, and things can change till the next summer.

No new little ones this time, but kids on small mountain bikes, the first BBQ, kids laughing.

My lunch was simple: sauteed spinach and baby kale cooking greens with white wine, olive oil, garlic and a half orange bell pepper with a good scoop of the Trader Joe’s 3-layer hummus.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

First summer farmers market. Just where is summer?

Today was  the first summer farmers market --- although, there is not much summer nor sunshine yet. As usually this time of the year there are many seedlings available for the garden, the lupines, flowers, herbs, kale, tomatoes, cabbage, and the breads, goat and sheeps milk cheeses, organic chicken and eggs, farm raised beef and ….. beautiful vegan cupcakes!





Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hot soup for a rainy May day

Today I switched up my lunch salad for a warm, thick, spicy soup. It has been raining all day and when I was running errands I passed Chili’s. Their rich spicy chicken enchilada soup came to mind, and just the thought of it made me feel warm. So, I picked up a whole chicken (since it was about the same price as a few chicken breast cutlets or 2 chicken breasts) at Target and immediately went to work once at home. I simmered the chicken on low for 1 1/2h with a few onion slices, garlic cloves, a carrots, celery, thyme springs and 2 bay leaves to make a very large pot of chicken stock. Once the stock was done,  I started the soup. Indeed, the perfect soup for a cold, wet day.


Chicken Enchilada soup (4 large servings)

  • 1 ts olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, finely diced
  • 3 cups home-made or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 regular sized can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 TB ground cumin
  • 1/2 TB chili powder
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 chicken breast, bone in, skinless 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 TB masa harina (finely ground corn flour used to make tortillas) mixed with 2 TB water (optionally)
  • 1/2 TB creme fraiche
  • roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
  • shredded Cheddar cheese (or goat cheese in my case)

In a large saucepan heat the olive oil. Add the onions and brown for 22-3minutes. Once the onions have softened add the garlic and jalapeno and saute for another minute. Add the canned tomatoes, chicken broth, canned tomatoes, beans, corn, green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes and chicken breast as well as the spices and herbs to the pot and bring to a boil. Once at the soup is boiling, lower heat to low simmer. Cook the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked remove from pot. Add the masa harina mix to the soup, and stir until it starts to thicken. Add the creme fraiche. Once the chicken breast is cool enough to handle shred it and put back in the pot. Add the fresh cilantro to the pot. Serve with cilantro and cheese!