A blog of hopeful, inspired living: cooking & baking & growing & harvesting & preserving & gleaning & eating & sharing food... while bringing positive change to my kitchen and our food system.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spinach Mushroom Egg Tart

It's been an insanely warm 'winter' here in the Bay Area. Very little rain, days and days of 60 and 70 degree, sunshiny days, trees and flowers blooming in early February. This is weather we're not exactly thrilled about because it means no water for our gardens and reservoirs, and no snow in the mountains, but it's also just too darn beautiful to not get out and enjoy. I think of winter as a great time to get cozy in the kitchen, heating the house up... but I haven't done so much of that this winter. This tart is an exception.

First daffodils
Magnolia bloom
During the week I often turn to my colleagues and the Internet for ideas for quick, interesting dinners. More than once, Martha Stewart's daily menu ideas have piqued my interest. For whatever reason, I receive a daily email menu idea. Sometimes I delete them without opening them, sometimes I really do need a reliable, simple menu idea (and a 3 minute work break), so I check them out. Often they are good inspiration, even if I don't follow the recipe. Spinach Mushroom Egg Tart was inspired by one of those Martha emails (this was one, too). The original recipe is here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Purple Cauliflower & Carrot Jardinière

The first weekend of January I joined a very pregnant K and four other lovely ladies in Half Moon Bay for a mini-retreat before baby arrived. We stayed overnight in a beautiful converted railway stop home, full of light and interesting knick knacks, painted with bright colors and just a brief walk to the ocean. We each brought food to contribute to a delicious feast, drank wine and home brewed beer (well, some of us drank), enjoyed the sunset over the water and the huge moon rise on our walk home, and chatted, laughed and cried until we fell asleep (at a very late hour of 11:30PM).

The next morning the ocean greeted me out the window next to my bed. We walked on the beach again, enjoyed warm banana bread and eggs, and then... made pickles (of course!). It was a great way to spend time together. Canning used to be something that whole communities got together to do. That's what it felt like as we prepared the beautiful purple cauliflower, carrot sticks and water bath, sterilized the jars and equipment, and shared the jewel-colored rewards at the end.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie

The BEST chocolate chip cookie ever? YES.

I'd heard about Jacques Torres' famous cookies from my friend Anne who swore up & down they were the best she'd ever had. I don't know what took me so long to make them. In hindsight, I should have bolted for my kitchen immediately after her declaration. Anne is someone to take seriously when it comes to all things delicious. This is the friend who shared the best gelato in the world with me at Terra Madre in Italy, who introduced me to the magical cooking of Heidi Swanson, Sunset's butternut squash & kale lasagna, and the chocolate beet cake of Nigel Slater. Her fresh strawberry ice cream is the reason I now own an ice cream maker... ok, ok, you get my point: why didn't I listen sooner?! Learn from my mistake: don't wait! Get thee to the oven!