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    © 2008-2017 Nicole (a.k.a. Bay Area Foodie)
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Carrot Soup with Thyme and Fennel


If you have any leftover carrots that the Easter bunny didn’t eat or your CSA gave you a ton … try this soup. Honestly, if I didn’t make this myself I would have had no idea it was carrot. The combo of thyme and fennel creates a super unique flavor that I could not get enough of. Mike and I really enjoyed this.

Recipe link
Bon Appétit | March 1999

Bacon-Infused Carolina Fish Stew


We arrived late in the morning to the fish booth at the Los Gatos farmers market and missed out on the lobster tail special they had so the fish lady suggested we try her insanely huge prawns instead. She said they tasted just like lobster and she was not kidding! I knew exactly how I wanted to use them… I had just read the Feb. issue of BA and this recipe jumped out at me. To go with the massive shrimps we picked up some cod and halibut from Whole Foods. The result was a pool of wonderfully sweet, salty,clammy, smokey flavors. I will for sure make this again in the future.

BTW -we used polenta instead of the suggested grits but I’m sure it would be great with grits or rice.

Note: The real name of this dish is Bacon-Infused Carolina Fish Muddle but the word muddle is unappetizing to me so I changed it.

Recipe link
Bon Appetit magazine / FEBRUARY 2012

Baked Beet Ravioli with Poppy Seed Butter


Our CSA delivery was overflowing with beets in November. Since I was tired of making beet salads I started looking for a unique way to use them when this ravioli recipe grabbed my attention.

If you are not a fan of beets this is not going to convert you. You have to like the flavor because it is prominent. If you enjoy beets like I do you will find these truly satisfying. The only change I would make to the recipe next time is maybe use a more pungent cheese like blue. Other reviewers said they had tried that and I can see that really kicking up the flavor.


I made a few modifications to the  Bon Appétit  recipe.
1. I’m lazy so I chose to use wonton wrappers instead of fresh pasta (they suggested this option to save time)
2. Instead of boiling the ravioli’s I followed the directions on the wonton package to bake them. Preheat oven to 375. Mist a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place filled ravioli onto prepared baking sheet and brush tops of ravioli lightly with olive oil then bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Then I spooned over the poppy seed butter (which I added sage to).

This baked version would be better served as an Appetizer – cut in triangles with the butter on the side for dipping.

Recipe link
Bon Appétit  | May 2005

For more tasty beet recipes check out other bloggers participating in the Food Network’s Fall Fest (a season long franchise where Food Network editors team up with blogs to share tips and recipes about seasonal produce every week)…

 

 

What’s Gaby Cooking: Farro Beet and Herb Salad
My Angel’s Allergies:
Roasted Beet and Potato Vinaigrette Salad
Cooking Channel:
Garlicky Beet Salad With Walnuts and Dates
The Sensitive Epicure:
Simply Sauteed Beets
FN Dish:
Top 3 Beet Salad Recipes
And Love It Too: Raw, Vegan and Sugar-Free Red Velvet Fudge
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Beet Salad With Crispy Leeks and Bacon
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Beet Salad With Bacon Vinaigrette

Project Open Hand Peanut Butter

Project Open Hand peanut butter is all natural, trans-fat free, and contains ONE ingredient – peanuts!

Project Open Hand, a San Francisco non-profit food relief organization that provides meals and groceries to the city’s most vulnerable residents is now selling their popular homemade peanut butter to the Bay Area masses. Check out their story…

Purchase it at Project Open Hand – 730 Polk Street or SF Whole Foods markets.

Also, find the peanut butter featured in Humphry Slocombe ice cream flavor “Open Hand Fluffer Nutter” and Dynamo Donut’s  “Open Hand Peanut Buddy” donut!

Project Open Hand provided me with a sample of the honey roasted peanut butter and, WOW,  it was the best I’ve ever tasted. I decided to use some of it in a peanut butter milk chocolate pudding dessert. It turned out wonderfully creamy and soooo flavorful. If you can get your hands on some of this stuff you will be a happy camper and supporting a great cause.

Recipe link
Bon Appétit  | January 2009

Website: http://www.openhand.org/

Braised Lamb Shanks with Rosemary


Our glorious grass fed beef club sent us these bad boys. First time making lamb shanks in our house and we will be making them again. Fall off the bone yumminess!

Recipe link
Bon Appétit  | February 1997

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble


For the first time we received a few stalks of rhubarb in our CSA. I had never cooked it before so went on a search for a recipe. There was a trend to use it in a compote or baked good (pie/cake) and almost always with strawberries. I decided to go with the easiest and fastest …. a crumble.

It turned out really tasty and super sweet. Rhubarb looks like red celery and I didn’t taste it raw but it’s supposed to be tart, so to compensate the recipe used a lot of sugar. With a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream (we tried both) it makes for the perfect summer dessert.

Modifications we made: we used walnuts and added a little corn starch to the filling to keep it from getting runny per the comments others made.

Recipe link
Bon Appétit  | May 2010

Bon Appetit Food-Lover’s Cleanse Recap


So the cleanse is OVER and Mike and I made it through the entire 14 days. When the 3 line description of the cleanse made no mention of what you were to get out of it a lightbulb should have gone off in my head but I was determined to start the year right so the claim of flavorful healthy food and no calorie counting was all it took for me to say…sign me up! I had no idea what I was getting myself (and Mike) into.

The cleanse began after I spent hours reviewing the 30-page 1-point-font pdf of recipes so I could prepare my 4-page grocery list. We had to go to 3 stores to find all the items and many I ‘d never heard of (hello, bulger wheat?). The plan provided 3 meals and 2 snacks per day and Rachel Ray was definitely not consulted because there wasn’t a 30 minute meal in the entire 2 weeks! Recipes were very involved… especially dinner. I guess they thought it wouldn’t be “Bon Appetit” worthy if it weren’t. Thank goodness Mike and I have flexible work schedules or we would have quit on day 2. This was not designed for a person with a normal 9-5 job. We never cooked and cleaned so much before in our entire lives. To make matters worse the menus were poorly organized. Many recipes didn’t list serving sizes, days where you needed to make enough food for the next day wasn’t always noted, and they included too many courses at dinner which resulted in tons of left-overs. By week 2 we had to stop making everything they told us because it was not humanly possible to eat that much food. It became obvious that no one at Bon Appetit actually completed the cleanse before promoting it to their readers, which is a shame.

How was the food? We cooked things we would normally never make, and were introduced to cuisines from around the world that had unique flavors and tons of spices. There were a handful of recipes we enjoyed (see list below), a couple we didn’t mind and a bunch that were downright disgusting (Coconut Oat Pilaf). But we had issues with most of the menus because some foods didn’t complement each-other. It was as if the creators just haphazardly chose which recipes to pair together.

The results…how do we feel? I honestly feel the same as when we started. I was hoping for substantial weight loss, a re-energize body and mind, or at the very least vibrant skin. But, alas I didn’t achieve any of those goals. Mike ended up losing 5 pounds and I lost 2 (bitter party of 1 – right here!). Yes, as my mom said that is barely water weight. So would we do this again? No, but we will try and continue to follow the general guidelines.

Final words…Dear Bon Appetit: next time you recommend a cleanse to thousands of people test it out first! Having the creator do the cleanse with us may have sounded like a cool idea but hearing her blog about her daily struggles (many that I have pointed out) just pissed me off. To read how she would modify the cleanse next time really doesn’t help me now that it’s over. I feel like I wasted my time and money on someone’s practice run.

Mike – Sorry for making you do this. You are a trooper…

Here are the few things we will make again:
Vanilla-Date Breakfast Smoothie
Black-Eyed Pea Curry
Almond-Banana Smoothie
Bulgur Pilaf
Kale with Pine Nuts and Currants
Quinoa with Pomegranate, Apple & Scallions
Salmon in a Bengali Mustard Sauce

The cleanse: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/food-lovers-cleanse/

Tomato and Pepper Gazpacho with Sherry

Our CSA produce delivery gave us 4-5 lbs of tomatoes in a single week (3 varietals). That’s a lot of tomats! There was also a couple cucumbers so making a gazpacho was a no-brainer. This José Andrés recipe was delightful.

Recipe link
Bon Appetit /September 2010

Momofuku Crack Pie


Everyone under the sun has swooned over the “crack pie” from Momofuku Milk Bar in New York. When I saw the recipe in Bon Appetit I thought I better make it since I have no plans to visit NYC in the near future. I gotta say I was a bit worried about the lack of ingredients. All it really called for was butter, eggs, sugar, oats and cream. How could that be a pie? It sounded more like a cookie so I looked around the web to see how other people’s pies turned out. The only thing I found was a bunch of inconsistencies. There are many recipes on the net and none are the same. Baking times & temp to ingredients differ. I think pastry chef Christina Tosi doesn’t really want us all to know how to make her addictive pie! But in the end it turned out fabulous. It smelled and tasted like a gooey buttery caramel oat bar.

Tip: I read that some people complained that the pie was a runny pool of butter. You have to cook it for at least 30 minutes AND let the pie rest 2 hours then sit in the fridge preferably overnight. Don’t be impatient…it’s worth the wait!

Also, the BA recipe said to bake for a total of 50 minutes. I did it for 45 because the online comments said it was a bit overcooked. Next time I’ll probably bake for 35 (25 min on 350° & 10 min on 325°) just for a tad more gooeyness.

Recipe link
Bon Appetit Magazine / September 2010

Roasted Pepper Bruschetta


Best Bruschetta EVER! We made two changes to the recipe —

1) added garlic to the tomato mixture (a must!)

2) we used mozzarella & parm because that’s what we had in the fridge.

The peppers are hard to see but they are underneath the cheese & tomatoes

This was even better than many of the tapas we had in Spain and a great way to use up the end of summer heirlooms.

Recipe link
Bon Appétit | September 2002

Shrimp and Fingerling Potatoes in Tomato Broth


My bread was super happy to slop up this broth. It was tasty and hearty but next time I would add some more variety of fish. Maybe scallops and halibut.

Recipe link
Bon Appétit | February 2009

Corned Beef Sandwich


I hope everyone had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day! This year I kept things simple. Corned Beef, Swiss cheese and Emeril’s Horseradish Mustard on Irish soda bread. I really wanted to make rye bread but couldn’t figure out a way to do it in less than an hour so that’s how soda bread made it into the sando equation. Soda bread is the simplest thing to make and has a very similar flavor to rye. See recipe  here

We picked up the beef from Costco and prepared it according to the directions on the package. Drop in pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer 3 hours. So easy!

I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again…boiling meat sounds wrong but in this case it is sooo right! The result is succulent and tender.

If you want to see the Guinness corned beef we made last year go here

Yum!

Thanksgiving 2009 Recap


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. This year Mike and I were given the task to make a turkey, green beans, cranberry sauce and gravy.

After much deliberation and many hours looking through foodie magazines we decided to go with the following recipes:

  • Sage Butter-Roasted Turkey with Cider Gravy (Bon Appétit, November 2009)
  • Bacon Braised Green Beans by Emeril Lagasse (Food Network magazine, November 2009)
  • Cranberry, Pomegranate, and Meyer Lemon Relish (Bon Appétit, November 2008)

Mike and I have yet to master the art of cooking a turkey. It gives us problems every year. It just never seems to cook all the way through. Even with all the trouble the breast meat was nice and the gravy was fantastic but next year I want ham! The cranberries were tart and lovely but the green beans were the star of the meal. I lost track of all the compliments I received. These were super simple to prepare and I have a feeling I will be asked to make these again next year!

Recipe link – beans
Recipe link – turkey & gravy
Recipe link – cranberries

Tip: if you try the turkey recipe make sure you remove most of the salt rub before cooking the bird. Also, clean out the bottom of the pan so your gravy isn’t too salty.

Pork Tenderloin with Sauteed Onion and Fennel and Fennel Cream

porkleaks

In our produce delivery we received fennel. I thought —Yuck! I despise black licorice so I thought that would also be the case for this vegetable. I was wrong, I found out I love fennel. It has the aroma of black licorice but the flavor of sweet onions once sauteed. This dish turned out to be brilliant.

We cooked the pork 10 minutes on the stove and 10 minutes in the oven and it came out just right. Juicy and tender. Pork is so easy to prepare and tastes amazing without having to do much to it. A little salt and pepper and it’s gold.

Recipe link

Our Holiday Feast

Christmas dinner was at our house this year. Here was the menu:

Filet mignon with port sauce and horseradish cream, radish apple and onion salad, sherry vinegar and molasses glazed carrots, potato mushroom gratin and caramel banana bread pudding. It was a meal to remember!

Pics…

shroom-gratin

carrots

bread-pudding

Everything turned out fantastic. I would make any one of these recipes again and again and again…

Potato Soup with Kale and Chorizo

kalesoupfinal

Kale arrived in our produce delivery. I’d never had Kale before. Looking at recipes, potatoes seemed to be Kale’s most popular accompaniment. I decided to make a soup. In the end the flavors/consistency turned out to be a cross between a minestrone and tortilla soup. The kale had a unique taste. The soup was a bit spicy from the chorizo (but not hot) and smokey from the paprika.

We followed the online suggestions to add more onion and cut the amount of Kale. I think adding chicken would be good next time.

Don’t skimp on the croutons. The salty crunch really made the dish. The method for making croutons at our house is to cut up some sourdough then sprinkle with olive oil and garlic salt and bake for 7-10 minutes. It was a light and hearty winter soup.

Recipe link

Chicken Parmesan battle

Bon Appétit “Classic” vs. “New” Chicken Parm battle

I found two chicken parmesan recipes from Bon Appétit. The Sept 2008 cover featured a classic version by Mario Batali’s Otto restaurant and the June 2008 issue featured a new somewhat healthier version. Mike and I made both to see… which recipe reigned supreme.

The “classic” version was pretty time consuming to make but worth it. The sauce was tangy and the chicken ooey gooey. Many dishes benefit from some time in the fridge –this is not one of them. Starve yourself for the day and tuck-in! This is best pipin’ hot out the oven.

Modifications to sauce : Mike added fresh oregano plus 1/2 can of tomato paste to thicken.   Classic Recipe link

Classic

The “new” recipe was fast and easy to prepare. The garlic chicken covered in cheese was super juicy, and the roasted tomatoes burst in your mouth and were a perfect complement to the chicken. It was a fresh and light dish but when all was said and done I didn’t really feel like I was eating chicken parmesan.

Modifications: I added Italian seasoning and fresh basil to the dish to punch up the flavors.  New Recipe link

New

THE VERDICT: both were good in their own ways but if I had to pick a winner it would be… the Classic … you can’t beat crispy chicken slathered with tomato sauce & bubblin’ mozzarella!

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