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!

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.

15 March 2011

Celery & Cilantro Salad

This salad is one of those simple recipes that feels so new and fresh yet uses common ingredients that, if your refrigerator looks anything like mine, you generally have on hand. Celery is such a flavorful vegetable, especially the celery leaves which pack the most intense flavor. Sadly this vegetable often gets overlooked as an ingredient in its own right. Poor celery mostly finds itself relegated to the crudite platter. No longer! I invite you to try this recipe and appreciate celery in a whole new way.

I can think of a million different things to serve this with. Any kind of simply grilled fish or fish tacos would be perfect. Since this is a crunchy slaw-like salad, use it anywhere you'd otherwise serve a traditional slaw, for a lighter and unexpected take on a classic.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe in the April 2011 issue of Living.


Celery & Cilantro Salad:
Yields approx 6 cups

4 medium ribs celery, sliced thinly on the bias
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves (picked from their stems)
1/4 cup dried cranberries (or golden raisins)
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice
fleur de sel & freshly cracked black pepper

1) In a large bowl, combine the celery, cilantro, dried cranberries, and almonds. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and toss gently. Drizzle with lemon juice and good olive oil to taste. Toss to coat all ingredients.

05 March 2011

Buckwheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Two of my favorite things in one morsel of gluten free splendor. These are a scrumptious way to ease into a weekend morning. Buckwheat has a nutty, earthy character that is particularly wonderful with strawberries (photo). Counter to what the name might suggest, buckwheat has nothing to do with conventional 'wheat' and is naturally gluten free.

If you're not sensitive about gluten, just substitute 1 cup of regular all-purpose flour in place of the brown rice flour. I do think though that the brown rice flour gives these pancakes a delicate sweetness and a tender crumb that is very unique.


Buckwheat Buttermilk Pancakes:
Yields 12-16, 4" pancakes

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 TB sugar
1 TB baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp quatre epices (or cinnamon)
2 large egss
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cup regular low-fat milk
4 TB unsalted butter, melted
fresh strawberries, thinly sliced, for serving
pure maple syrup, for serving

1) In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (buckwheat through quatre epices). Make a well in the center and whisk in the wet ingredients (eggs through milk). Once well combined, whisk in the melted butter.

2) Heat a nonstick griddle to medium high. Brush lightly with melted butter. Spoon puddles of pancake batter onto the hot griddle and cook on the first side until bubbles form all over the surface. Flip and cook on the second side until just cooked through, about 1-2 minutes more.

3) Serve warm with fresh sliced strawberries, good butter, and maple syrup.