Sunday, July 22, 2012

Stars and Stripes: Red, White and Blue Mini Pies

Every American wants treats on the anniversary of the day our country declared independence.  So why not support our country's colors to show your true spirit? Here are some cream pies I made from this recipe from willow bird baking blog.  I did not make the crust from scratch, I have to admit, but it was a very nice recipe that didn't take too long!  First I baked the pre-made crusts in little cupcake tins:
    They were really tiny!  
Then I made the cream filling, which didn't take too long, just be sure to sift your flour, as little bumps of flour form once it hits the liquid.  Then I placed the diced fruit on top:

Lastly, I made the fruit glaze, a separate one for each fruit.  I poured it on top and it was surprisingly thick, colorful and very sweet.  

It was a perfect 4th of July treat to go with fireworks (and a thunderstorm)!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rosemary Lemon Marlin with Roasted Redskin Potatoes and Fennel Sautee

Dinner is probably my favorite meal to cook.  There are so many options, and you can totally justify spending tons of time and energy on it...or spending very little, depending on the night.  Tonight my father and I had loads of inspiration, so we created this little masterpiece:
We kinda winged it (which I personally think is the best way to go), but here are what I would say are the recipes:
Grilled Lemon-Rosemary Marlin:
Preheat your grill to about 350* F and make sure to rub olive oil on the grills (any fish, even a steak-y fish like marlin, is flaky and should be ensured a clean removal from the grill).  Season one side of the fish with fresh minced rosemary leaves, lemon zest, salt, and pepper, then lay face down on the grill.  Once all your filets are down, season the other side.  Let grill for roughly 3 minutes, then flip.  Once the filets are cooked all the way through, take off the grill and douse in lemon juice, which keeps the fish light and flaky.  (If you want typical grill marks, rotate the fish from the 10:00 to the 2:00 position halfway through grilling the one side). Serve with a few rosemary leaves and lemon zest on top for garnish.
Fennel and Leek Sautee:
Chop the vegetables in 1 inch thickness, having more fennel than leeks as it gives the stronger anise flavor.  Put in a sautee pan with tarragon vinegar and olive oil.  Season with minced cilantro, minced tarragon leaves, salt and pepper.  Bring liquids to a boil then simmer for roughly two minutes.  Add a pinch of sugar.  When most of the liquid is gone, about 10 minutes later, turn up the heat to caramelize the vegetables until you deem ready to serve.
Roasted Potatoes with Hazelnut Pesto:
Quarter redskin potatoes and toss in a bowl with the juice and zest of a lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Spread out on a roasting pan and roast at 425* for 30 minutes.  When you put in the potatoes, put in the hazelnuts as well and roast for 10 minutes, flipping (or rolling) halfway through.  While the hazelnuts are roasting, put garlic cloves, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, oregano leaves, mint leaves and basil leaves in a food process.  Shell the roasted hazelnuts, add to the food processor and process all.  If it seems too thick, add oil or lemon juice.  If it is too watery, add more hazelnuts.  Take potatoes out of the oven and top them with the pesto.
I apologize for the lack of specificity in this recipe.  I know there are no measurements, but that's why they say "baking is a science, cooking is an art."  Do what feels right to you and go with the flow!  If you mess up, its all a part of the experience.  My dad and I made this for ourselves and my mother, so I would recommend this for a small weekend or weeknight meal with the family. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I know the club will not regularly do a lunch meal for its members, however, sometimes lunch food can be the best kind!  And you never know, maybe one Saturday we will substitute a co-op dinner with lunch.  With both my parents working, I have to fend for myself for lunch, which gives me the best opportunity to experiment!  (But, I am a creature of habit, so I tend to have very similar things each day)  Here are a few of the lunches I have prepared for myself, and hopefully everyone can learn from them!
Here is a picture of my salad. They are so easy to make and you have UNLIMITED amounts of vegetables (and other ingredients!) to choose from.  I have used this summer cucumbers, beets, chick peas, artichokes, peppers, onions, tomatoes, dates, raisins, dried apricots, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds and celery, just to name a few. THEN! You can choose from tons of dressings-I personally just like vinegar, which brings out the natural flavor of the veggies- tons of types of meat to go on top (salmon, skirt steak, grilled chicken, etc.) AND tons of lettuce (I generally like spinach, but you could go with bib lettuce (a sweeter flavor) red leaf (a little more bitter) iceberg, and many more!
Here are cut up dates with cashews on top of cottage cheese.  I would recommend cottage cheese with any type of trail mix.  It is a lean protein that requires an acquired taste, but I feel that it "skinnies" up any fruit-nut combo that I like (and its delicious!)
Okay, soup from a can-boring right? NO!  You can totally call yourself a chef with a few additions to canned soup.  This is split pea, so I added mint, a flavor which is traditionally paired with peas, and a few tortilla chips to add some textures.  I also often add diced mushrooms, spinach, and oregano to my tomato soup.  This spices it up quite a bit.

This is what I call the everything sandwich.  I'm sure you can see why.  This sandwich had garlic hummus on toasted 7-grain bread with spinach, sliced tomatoes, bread-and-butter pickles, sliced turkey, smoked salmon and a fried egg right on top.  It was also the MESSIEST sandwich I've ever eaten!  Being gluten intolerant, I don't have much practice eating a sandwich anyway-but the fried egg and the slippery smoked salmon definitely didn't help. (Tip: when adding a fried egg, make sure most things are warm-it tends to lose flavor as it cools)
As always, I'll leave you with something a little sweet.  This is SO simple-vanilla greek yogurt topped with sliced bananas and some of my homemade granola (which the co-op will hopefully be selling in the fall!). As you can tell, I couldn't resist and took a few bites before I took the photo!
Enjoy! Keep cooking!