Make dinner tonight, inspired!

Wondering what to make for dinner tonight? This is your place for quick and healthy meal inspirations. Here you'll find recipes for seasonally focused dinners, desserts, breakfasts, and everything in between.

My cooking focuses on the freshest ingredients prepared in a simple and careful way, to highlight their uniqueness. My own diet is primarily vegetarian, but does include sustainable fish and seafood, and is gluten free.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to sharing some of my favorite recipes with you!

30 December 2012

Golden Raisin & Fennel Seed Pinwheels

These yummy breakfast 'buns' are similar to a cinnamon roll, sans cinnamon. They're essentially a yeasted enriched dough, similar to brioche and rolled up with honey, butter, boozy raisins and fennel seeds. I mean honestly, how bad could that be?! I was inspired by a recipe for 'Chelsea Buns' from River Cottage. I changed the recipe somewhat as I wanted them to resemble the butter and honey basted 'escargot', which I so love.

I've made these rolls a couple of times. The recipe is easy and comes out great every time. Do make this on your next lazy weekend morning. Or, make them the night before and reheat in the oven for 10 minutes before serving.


Golden Raisin & Fennel Seed Pinwheels
Yields 12 rolls

For the dough:
8 oz unsalted butter, melted (1/2#/ 2 sticks)
2/3 cup milk
1 large egg
4 cups flour (2 cups brown rice flour, 1 cup quinoa flour, 1 cup almond meal)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 oz/ 2 packets active dry yeast (or 1 tsp instant yeast)
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp salt

For the filling:
4 TB unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1 cup golden raisins, soaked for 10 minutes in 2 TB grand marnier
2 tsp fennel seeds

For the glaze & topping:
2 TB unsalted butter, melted
2 TB honey
sprinkling of fennel seeds

1) Melt the butter in the microwave and warm the milk to 105 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the active dry yeast and the warm milk. Allow the yeast to 'bloom' for about 5 minutes. Add the egg and butter to the milk/ yeast mixture and whisk to combine.

2) In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, xanthan and salt. Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Once dough forms, turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds. Place the dough into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm, draft free place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3) Butter a 9"x 9"x 2" square baking pan. Tip the dough out of the bowl onto a well floured surface and roll out to a 12" x 16" rectangle. Brush the melted butter all over the dough, leaving a 2" border on the upper long side. Drizzle over the honey, sprinkle over the raisins (and any extra grand marnier), and the 2 tsp of fennel seeds. Starting with the long side closest to you, roll the dough up, like a long 'sausage', pressing to seal the top edge. Slice into 12 equal pieces and place, cut side up, in the prepared pan. Cover with plastic and allow to proof until almost doubled in size again, about 40 more minutes.

4) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When the rolls have proofed, baste them with 2/3 of the butter and honey glaze and sprinkle with a few more fennel seeds. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden. Check the rolls at 15 minutes to make sure they're not getting too dark around the edges. If so, cover loosely with foil and continue baking. When still warm, baste with the remaining butter and honey mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store, tightly covered, on the counter for up to 3 days.

21 December 2012

Gayle's Spice Cake

Happy Holidays everyone!  May this season bring you good food, laughter, and lots of quality time with friends and family.

Over at my facebook page, , we recently had a little contest. Readers submitted their favorite holiday baking recipes during the first half of December and I picked one to test, photograph, and overhaul. Gayle Timmondy of Newport, Oregon shared her family's favorite spice cake recipe. It's great! I'm excited to share it with you.

This is a simple cake, perfect for keeping on the kitchen counter when people stop by for a quick visit and a cup of tea. It's not too sweet, full of holiday spices, and perfectly portable, no plates or forks required. I made this, as Gayle does, in a 9"x9" square pan but I think it would be lovely in loaf form as well... a great hostess gift.

1.5 cups Brown Rice Flour
1 cup Millet Flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp  salt
1 TB fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup light molasses
2 large eggs
1/2 cup olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water
Olive Oil Pan Spray
Confectioners Sugar for dusting

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 baking pan and line with parchment paper.

2) Dissolve the baking soda in the cup of boiling water. Set aside to cool.

3) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugars, and spices. Set aside.

4) In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the grated ginger, molasses, eggs, almond milk, and oil. Add the flour and spices and mix to combine.

5) Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes. Cool in pan at least 15 minutes then use the parchment to lift the cake out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely to room temperature and dust, liberally, with confectioners sugar.

06 August 2012

Gluten Free Gougeres

Yes, I know it's been nearly 1 1/2 years. A profuse apology hardly cuts it. I won't make excuses but let's just say life got crazy and something had to go. My intention going forward is to share a recipe at least once per month, hopefully some months more.

Let's start with gougeres, gluten freen gougeres to be specific. They're everyone's favorite pre-dinner snack, no? Light, buttery, cheesy, savory bites... what's not to love?!

I adpated this recipe from Beatrice Peltre's gorgeous book, La Tartine Gourmande. It's my current favorite inspiration and is filled with so many simple, elegant recipes for every meal of the day. I highly recommend it if you don't have it already!

The dough is a simple choux pastry. This is a savory version but sweeten it up a bit and you've got eclairs, profiteroles etc... It's simple and versatile and super delicious. The recipes makes about 2 dozen bites and they freeze well. Just pop them in zipper bags and into the freezer. Reheat in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes, straight from frozen. Hors d'oeuvres for last minute guests in no time!

Gluten Free Gougeres:
Yields approx. 24, 2" diameter puffs

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup whole milk
8 TB butter
1/2 tsp salt, pinch black pepper
1/2 cup millet flour (or quinoa flour)
1/3 cup cornstarch
4 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 TB chopped fresh thyme
1 TB cumin seeds

1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Fit a pastry bag with a wide plain tip. You can also skip this step and spoon out the dough directly onto the baking sheets. They will just look more 'rustic'.

2) In a small saucepan, heat the water, milk, butter, salt & pepper just to a boil. When the milk just reaches a boil, add the flour and cornstarch all at once. Stir vigorously until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

3) Stir in the eggs, one at a time, waiting until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. You can also do this in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. The dough should feel smooth and elastic. Stir in 3/4 of the grated cheese and the chopped thyme.

4) Spoon the mixture into your pastry bag and pipe out little mounds, about 1 1/2" diameter, spaced about 2" apart on your baking sheet. If you choose to spoon out the dough, attempt to make tidy little mounds of about the same size, using a slightly wet spoon. Sprinkle each with the remaining cheese and the cumin seeds.

5) Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 and continue baking, for about 10 minutes more, until the gougeres are puffed and golden. Let rest for 10 minutes before eating. They should be slightly warm or at room temperature.


29 March 2011

Wild Mushroom Parcels with Soft Polenta

Here's another delicious recipe inspired by Ottolenghi's Plenty . I served this over soft polenta and am including that recipe below as well.

I love anise flavors and this has both lovely background flavor from the Pernod and forward flavor from the fresh tarragon. When you open the little package on your plate you're instantly met with a steamy anise vapeur. That paired with the earthiness of the wild mushrooms is a delight.


Wild Mushroom Parcels:
Yields 4 servings

1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, stems removed, and sliced 3/8"
4 cups mixed wild mushrooms, sliced or torn rustically ( I used Hedgehog, Chanterelle, and Royal Trumpets)
1 TB fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
4 TB cream
4 TB Pernod (or other anise flavored liqeuer)
salt & pepper
4 sheets parchment paper, @ 9" x 12" each
kitchen twine

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Divide the mixture into 4 portions, placing 1/4 onto each one of the parchment sheets. Gather into a bundle and secure closed with the kitchen twine.

2) Bake the parcels on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes. Served closed and let your guests unwrap each parcel at their plate so they can experience the steamy anise vapeur. Spoon over the soft polenta, recipe below.

Soft Polenta:
Yields 4 generous servings

4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 cup polenta
2 TB unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese
salt & pepper

1) Bring the stock and water to a boil in a large pot. Add the polenta, in a steady stream while whisking constantly. Return to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 25 minutes until the polenta is soft and creamy.

2) Off to the heat, stir in the butter, cheese, and salt & pepper to taste. Serve hot with mushroom parcels.

27 March 2011

Watercress & Herb Salad with Pistachios & Orange Blossom

What a revelation this salad is! I just received my copy of Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi in the mail. Truly the most inspiring book on vegetarian cooking I have seen in a very long time (maybe ever?!). I am so eager to make every one of these recipes that my blog might be heavy on the Ottolenghi for quite some time to come.

Already, my entire menu plan for this week is from the book. I could barely choose which recipes to make since I just want to make them all. Then I reminded myself that in fact I now own this book and I can take my time cooking my way through it.

This salad is one such recipe. So simple really, but the dressing is a revelation. Just adding a drop of orange flower water to an otherwise basic lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette, makes such a world of difference. It somehow elevates it from 'everyday' to complex and mysterious. I hope you'll try it and agree.


Watercress & Herb Salad with Pistachios & Orange Blossom:
Yields 4 servings

1 bunch Watercress, root ends trimmed
10 leaves fresh Basil
10 leaves fresh Mint
20 leaves fresh Tarragon
1/4 cup Pistachios, lightly toasted

For the dressing:
juice of 1 lemon
4 TB good extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp orange flower water
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

1) In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and orange flower water. Drizzle in the olive oil, while whisking constantly, until emulsified.

2) Arrange the watercress and herbs on a serving plate. Sprinkle the pistachios over top. Just before serving, drizzle over a bit of the dressing (there will be some left over). Toss gently and serve.