Thursday, July 19, 2012

Baked Egg with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, 3 Cheeses & Pesto-Bread

Sort of a crustless mini-quiche, this baked egg dish combined cubed day-old ciabatta mixed with pesto, roasted cherry tomatoes and zucchini, three different cheeses (I just couldn't decide), and a beaten farm fresh egg with a little half & half.  It was the perfect rustic summer dinner!  It was so delicious, I may have to make it again this evening!

Here's the super easy recipe for one:

1 slice day old ciabatta bread, cut into cubes
1 tsp pesto
1/2 cup organic cherry tomatoes
1/2 zucchini, sliced on the bias and cut in half
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
sea salt
black pepper
1 TBS grated Emmentaler
1 tsp feta
1 TBS fresh mozzarella, cut into tiny cubes
1 farm fresh egg
1 tsp half & half

Combine the cubed bread with the pesto and set aside. Heat the oven to 400 and roast the tomatoes and zucchini with a tiny amount of olive oil and a drip of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes are splitting (15-20 minutes).
Combine the pesto bread cubes and tomatoes and zucchini and cheeses in a cute oven proof dish. Whisk the egg and half & half, add salt and pepper and pour over the other ingredients, pressing them down so they are almost covered with the egg mixture.

Bake at 350 degree until set (about 20 minutes).  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Green Cauliflower with Red Onions, Feta & Pine Nuts

I love cauliflower and couldn't resist buying this green cauliflower (a cross with broccoli, but very much tastes like cauliflower). A simple treatment appealed, so I roasted the cauliflower in a 425 F degree oven with a tiny amount of olive oil, red onions, garlic, and a little fresh thyme.  Added pine nuts and feta cheese for the last 5 minutes and this is a deliciously light one dish wonder!

Friday, July 13, 2012

June 2012 Millennium Cooking Class

June 24th marked my 22nd cooking class at Millennium, San
Francisco's incredible vegan restaurant. Executive Chef
Eric Tucker leads two teamsof home chefs through the hands-on
cooking class in the restaurants professionalkitchen.  This class
focused on using the last of the porcini mushroom crop and
early summer ingredients, including apricots, squash blossoms,
English peas, corn, nopales (cactus), and nectarines. The porcini's
are pictured below.
The class creates two meals to enjoy during the 10-3:30 class.
The top of the page featues our lunch plate, Larb, a salad stuffed
into a Hoja Santa leaf (also a red lettuce leaf) with two dressing
options - avocado and apricot, which lend the dish it's characteristic
sweet and spicy taste, sprinkled with traditional toasted rice powder.
The Hoja Santa leaf was a new ingredient to me. Common to Mexican
and South American cooking, this heart shaped leaf (pictured below)
has a slight licorice, anise flavor.

One of my favorite summer Farmers' market ingredients are
delicate squash blossoms. There's so many ways to use these,
but perhaps the most satisfying is to stuff them and deep fry them
in batter. For this class, we created a delicious stuffing made from
freshly shucked English peas, bread crumbs, capers, fresh mint and
lemon zest.  Here are the uncooked squash blossoms, filled with stuffing:

The two teams used different mixtures to dredge the squash 
blossoms before deep frying them. Pictured below is the tempura 
version, with a side of raita. Raita is a cooling Indian side, typically 
made with cucumbers and yogurt. Our vegan versions used silken 
tofu in place of yogurt and chickpea miso. The other team used a 
dredge that included ground toasted almonds, tapioca flour, and 
rice flour (see dinner plate below for this version):

Here's a close up of one of the tofu raitas with dill:

The nopales were place directly on the gas burner to char off the
prickly spurs.  These were used to create a nopale-poblano cream to
accompany the  Huitilacoche and Roasted Corn Tamales.  Huitilacoche,
 a.k.a "corn smut", or the more elegant "corn truffle",  is a black paste-like
fungus with a unique flavor, and commonly used in Mexican cooking.
(Eric gets his from Rick Bayles' farm.)  Turns out to be a health food, full
of lysine (an amino acid that strengthens your immune system and
decreases anxiety).

Below, Chef Eric shows the class the correct way to roll a tamale:

We added those lovely porcini mushrooms to the tamales:

So here's our dinner plate, the tomales, two kinds of squash 
blossoms and raitia, along with three different condiments: 
carrot-habenero sauce, nopale-poblano cream and Zaatar oil 
(bottom right):

Dessert was a Macademia nut gallette, topped with nectarine, 
hyme caramel sauce and an incredible coconut pastry cream, 
thickened with kuzu and agar.  The perfect end to a summer meal.

Here's links to the previous 20 Millennium cooking classes I've
 had the pleasure of attending:

  • Chile Class 2011

  • July 2011 Class

  • Mushroom Cooking Class January 2011

  • Sept.2010 Cooking Class

  • July 2010 Cooking Class

  • June 2010 Cooking Class

  • Spring Cooking Class 2010

  • Chiles Cooking Class 2009

  • July Cooking Class 2009

  • June Cooking Class 2009

  • Spring Cooking Class 2009

  • Mushroom Cooking Class

  • Holiday Cooking Class

  • Fall Harvest 2008

  • Indian Summer

  • Southern Comfort Cooking Class

  • Spring Cooking Class

  • Fall Harvest Cooking Class

  • Chiles Class

  • Tomato Class

  • Saturday, July 07, 2012

    Pasta Salad with Mushrooms, Spinach & Nectarine

    For our picnic lunch today, this pasta salad is a snap to make and big on flavor!  Portobello mushrooms sauteed with shallots, a little balsamic vinegar, organic baby spinach, basil and, the summery surprise ingredient, sweet white nectarines!

    My pet peeve with most pasta salads is the ratio of pasta to other goodies is way too heavy on the pasta.  I go the other way.

    Tasty and good for you.

    Happy Summer!