Batter Licker

January 23, 2012

zucchini, onion and potato latkes with chive sour cream

Too late for latkes now that Chanukah is about a month behind us? Nonsense! That would be like saying it’s too late for baked potatoes – or soup.

Seeing as frigid, rainy winter weather is just starting to renew itself after a dry heat spell here in San Francisco, I can’t believe any of those could possibly be out of season just yet.

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New Year resolution-makers might huff and puff a bit about the pan-fried in oil factor. But if the oil is hot enough, these veggie-laden pancakes will not absorb ridiculous amounts of oil. Instead, they’ll do exactly what makes them so irresistible: (more…)

December 14, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 13 (jay’s secret chocolate cake)

It’s taken me awhile, but this is the second-to-last post in my Project Wedding Dessert Bar Series. Did I mention this recipe is for a surprise cake? For THE cake-to-end-all-cakes (at least in Jay’s book)?

Jay loves chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, as it was present at all his childhood birthdays and celebrations. Somehow I baked, chilled, frosted, hid, and transported it without Jay finding out, even though he tried to ruin the surprise – TWICE.

First, after driving back from a morning client meeting, he came up to our apartment to check in on me and my dessert bar baking shenanigans instead of dropping the car in the garage and going straight to work like he usually does.

Photo by Dana Hargitay of enLuce Photography

Then, when my mom and sister Cassie helped me transport the desserts to the venue a day before the wedding, he took an early lunch break – without giving me advance notice – and walked over the venue to help us unload everything. Thank goodness the cake was on a covered stand and Cassie had a jacket to throw over the top of it. While we unloaded everything else, we hid the cake on the passenger side floor of the car. When we dropped everything off in the venue director’s office, I awkwardly hesitated to leave, even though she had another bride and groom in her office. The look on my face must have indicated I was on the verge of a meltdown (I wasn’t; worst case, the surprise would be ruined, which would not be the end of the world but hopefully would be avoided); she immediately came up and gave me a concerned look and a hug. I whispered that there was one more load coming up, then ran down the hall to catch up before Jay noticed. But how would my mom and Cassie get the cake upstairs without Jay noticing?? (more…)

June 29, 2011

whole wheat pearl couscous salad with pistachio-broccoli pesto

When I first discovered Bob Red Mill’s new line of whole wheat pearl couscous at the BlogHer Food Conference in Atlanta, I was instantly hooked by the nutty flavor. I even smuggled a few sample bags back to San Francisco, and couldn’t wait to play around with the wholesome, round bites of pasta. Except that I actually did wait quite a bit – two entire months – before finding the perfect opportunity to use these precious samples.

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The opportunity came in the form of an orzo salad recipe I came across while flipping through Heidi Swanson’s superb cookbook, Super Natural Every Day). I decided to substitute the whole wheat pearl couscous for the orzo to add some wholesomeness while keeping the bite of a small, salad-friendly pasta.

But the combination of a broccoli pesto with broccoli florets, avocado and crunchy nuts were what initially drew me to the recipe. I’ve been known to easily polish off several cups of broccoli – raw, steamed, sauteed, or roasted. Yet I had never tried a broccoli pesto. Clearly, the time was nigh.
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May 5, 2011

mexican tortilla lasagna with chorizo, kale and beans

Whenever I have extra tortillas sitting around after a night of mango-salsified and pink chipotle-sauced fish tacos, I typically insist on using them as is (pretending not to notice that they’re stale and ripping when I fold them for a taco or burrito), or during slightly more logical moments, I chop them into wedges, toss with olive oil, salt and cumin, and bake them into chips. This time, I pretended they were lasagna noodles.

Some might define insanity as repeating the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. But I bet a few of you are reading this and thinking that indulging my admitted illusion that tortillas can work as noodles is just another type of crazy. And you would probably be right.

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But I love an excuse to make Mexican food, and the miniature stack of leftover tortillas provided me with exactly that. (more…)

March 31, 2011

smoky black bean and spinach soup

A few weeks ago, Jay and I enjoyed a weekend in Bodega Bay with his five other former roommates from college and their significant others. After a late morning and early afternoon of local wine tasting, we ventured upon a cute little cafe (whose name now escapes me) for lunch. It was in that cafe that I made a fatal error: I did not order the black bean soup. But luckily, our good friend Matt was up for swapping bites, and that one spoonful inspired this post.

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Subtly smoky from cumin and smoked paprika and very creamy thanks to pureed black beans, the soup was also lightened by the fresh, raw flavors of lime, cilantro, tomatoes, and peppers that clearly contributed more than just a colorful garnish to the bowl. (more…)

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