Watercress Pudding with Quail Eggs and Asparagus

P3318737Niether of us celebrate Easter, so tomorrow will be a quiet Sunday afternoon.  No egg hunt or peeps for us, but we have always been a HUGE fan of cadbury mini eggs and therefore this holiday brings a lot of joy.  True and funny story; several years back when cadbury mini eggs were only sold in April, we were desperate so we went online and ordered several bags from London.  Then we found out it was a scam.  There is just something about eating mini eggs…like quail eggs.  Have you ever tried it?  They are really useful to cook with especially in soup when you want the yolk contained.  In celebration of Easter, we made a little sophisticated appetizer that might please your guests, though it may not be something that would be normally served at Easter or even allowed?  We’re thinking on Passover terms here.  Really simple flavor but the pudding texture will please everyone at the table.  Plus, the quail eggs will add a fun accent to the dish.  Happy Easter!
P3318699 P3318701P3318695 P3318721Adapted from Aran Goyoaga
Yields:  4

1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup (40grams) watercress
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
3 quail eggs
1.5 ounces (45 g) asparagus, cut up

1.  Preheat oven to 325° F.  In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic.  Cook for 1 minute or until it turns golden and then add watercress, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Cook for 1 minute or until the watercress is wilted.  Remove from heat.
2.  In a blender, place watercress, coconut milk, and heavy cream.  Puree.  Then, add the regular eggs and blend.
3.  Divide custard among 4 ramekins.  Place ramekins in a deep baking dish.  Pour hot water into the baking dish, enough to go halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Put the dish into the oven.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.
4.  In the meantime boil the quail eggs.
5.  Blanch the asparagus tips in salted boiling water for 1 minute and then shock them in ice water. Toss the asparagus with salt and olive oil.
6.  When everything is ready, garnish the custard with the asparagus and quail eggs.

Creamy Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

P2048549We got a sniff of spring today in Boston and normally this day is full of joy and hope for these frigid days to be over, but I panicked.  I felt an urge to blog all of our winter-appropriate recipes before the flowers start blooming and readers dismiss our one-season-behind ideas.  I guess that’s one down-fall to having seasonal cooking — no one wants chicken soup in the middle of the scorching summer.  So today we share with you Creamy Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, which you might recognize as Sunchoke soup.  We made this soup with Yvette Van Boven back in October and results were delicious.  The best part is that you don’t need heavy cream involved, so it stays relatively healthy; the key is to use the blender for a period of time.  We also like the idea of cooking with an undercover ingredient because  it adds another element of surprise.  Good taste and secret ingredient equals happy and curious eater who wants the recipe and feels motivated to cook from scratch and eliminate processed food.  I wish I could write that out as an expression using variables and exponents for you.  Hope you get to do some last-minute winter cooking — or not, and embrace the new change.
P20485532 Tbs olive oil
2 shallots chopped
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp rosemary
1 lb Jerusalem artichoke, peeled and diced
2 celery branches diced
1 medium size potato diced
1 Tbs tomato paste
3 cups vegetable broth
Garnish: Paprika, parsley, and olive oil

1.  Heat the oil in large heavy bottom pan and add shallots, coriander, and rosemary.  Cook until shallots gets slightly brown.
2.  Add vegetables and tomato paste and stir.
3.  Add broth and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the artichokes are tender.
4.  Use a blender.  The longer you blend the creamier the soup will become.
5.  Garnish with the options given above, or any others such as scallops, blue potato chips, oyster crackers, etc.

 

Snow Pea Stir-Fry for the New Year and Nemo

P2108624 copyI have stayed away from sharing stir-fry recipes because often I found them to be unvaried; add oil, garlic, vegetables, soy sauce, some sugar, and you’re done.  However, several months ago I went to Jade Garden, a Cantonese restaurant in Chinatown of Boston, and I couldn’t stop chowing their snow pea stir-fry.  I walked out of the restaurant with buttery-garlic lip gloss, and ever since I feel like karma has gotten back at me.  I can’t imitate that delicious sauce but this alternate recipe will suffice and will keep you satisfied.  Have you ever eaten snow pea leaves? I think they may be my favorite green leaf; it tastes like a mix of spinach and snap peas.  Sounds great, right?  I guess you have to try it yourself now.

P2108619
Adapted from “Asian Vegetables” by Sara Deseran

2 Tbs sake
2 Tbs soy sauce (you can add more later if you think it’s necessary)
1/4 cup broth (vegetable, or seafood)
Dash of sugar
2 Tbs canola oil
3 Tbs garlic, finely chopped
1/2 Tbs ginger, chopped
1 lb pea leaves
2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 4 tsp water
Note:  The measurements are rough guidelines so please add or take anything away according to your liking. 

1.  In a small bowl combine the sake, broth, soy sauce, and sugar.  Set aside.
2.  Heat wok over medium-high, and pour oil.
3.  Add garlic, ginger, and stir for about 15 seconds.
4.  Add the pea leaves and toss to coat with oil, garlic, and ginger.
5.  Raise heat to high and add sauce mixture.
6.  Stir-fry for 15 seconds, then cover and then cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until well wilted.
7.  Uncover, and add the cornstarch, and stir-fry for another 30 seconds until the sauce has thickened.  There should be a “glazed” look.

Does anyone else feel like Nemo took Chinese New Year’s thunder?  Here are some instagram pics that I took during the storm that you might enjoy.  Got any plans this weekend?  Weather permitting, we have a special birthday to celebrate.  Post soon to follow.  Have a great weekend!
nemo

Valentine’s Beet and Cauliflower Soup

P2138656 copyWe made it!  This month marks our 1 year of blogging and we just want to say many thanks for sticking with us.  Starting a blog is easy peasy but continuously writing  posts — not so much.  It really does require a lot thought, time, and creativity, but the process has been nothing but fun, and slowly but surely we will continue to grow this little space of ours.  So today — when some of us expect roses and an expensive dinner — we propose that you have a relaxing night with your partner, pets, or yourself, and cook.  This Beet Cauliflower soup is great for that.  Why?  Well, look at that color!  No frosting could beet (pun intended) that deep-earthy red.  The rich color will surprise you.  Just make sure you don’t spill the soup because it will look like a crime scene.  Also, don’t take left-overs to lunch and open it in a small-enclosed office…cauliflower stinks when chilled.  The soup is also extremely healthy and you will experience the flavors in three stages: first the tangy cauliflower, then potato cream, ending with a light after taste of the beets.  It is so lovely it will definitely make someone’s heart beet….  Enjoy and Happy Vday!
P2138646 P2138628Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Yields: 4

2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
3 cups chopped cauliflower
2 medium-small red beets
Dash of salt
3 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbs coarsely chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish

1.  Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute until translucent — about 4 minutes.
2.  Add cauliflower, beets, and salt.
3.  Add broth, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer until beets and cauliflower are tender — about 20 minutes.
4.  Remove from heat and add dill.  Let the soup cool for 10 minutes and puree until smooth.  Add water if it’s too thick.
5.  Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer.  Season with more salt if you think there is not enough flavor.
6.  Sprinkle dill sprigs right before serving.

Flash from the back, and recipes if you need last minute ideas:

meringues


PB210135

Stuffed Tomatoes

IMG_2208

The weather in Boston has been wild lately, we were buried under a few feet of snow this past weekend, and more is expected for tomorrow! The sidewalks are so icy, I felt like I was skating to work this morning, and giant trucks full of snow are going past my window as we speak. With weather like this, why go outside? I highly suggest hunkering down with a good book  (my current book of choice) and these stuffed tomatoes! Since we were both stuck at home this past weekend (no public transportation was running, and cars were not allowed on the road) we both did a lot of cooking. So stay tuned for more recipes worthy of hunkering down with.

Sometimes with cooking, composition is everything. I make a lot of lentils, particularly these red lentils. I often cook them with onions and tomatoes and add them to a salad or make a soup. Even though this recipe has most of the same ingredients as a simple lentil soup, it is so different – maybe it’s the crispy cheesy layer on top. After all, you can never go wrong if you add a layer of cheese.

4 large tomatoes
1 cup red lentils
1 cup water
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt & peper to taste
1 teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon rosemary
Grated cheese of your choice
3 tablespoons of coconut oil

IMG_2203

1.) Saute the chopped onions and garlic in the coconut oil.
2.) Add water and lentils, cover and bring to boil.
3.) Bring lentils to a simmer, add spices and cook until they are soft and the water is absorbed.
4.) While you are cooking the lentils, cut off the top of the tomatoes and scrape out the inside. It is key to be thorough here. If you leave too much tomato meat inside, the stuffed tomatoes will be too watery.
5.) Discard the inside of the tomato and use later for a tomato sauce or perhaps a tomato soup.
6.) Stuff the tomatoes with cooked lentils and cover with grated cheese.
7.) Cook on 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the tomato skin is wrinkly.

Untitled 2

Asparagus Avocado Hearty Soup

P1138499P1138481I have to admit cooking sometimes stresses me out for two reasons 1)  The preparation.  I could never be one of those people who plan every meal of the month and buy everything in bulk.  If I could really have it my way I would walk to the marché every evening and cook with all fresh ingredients.  But this is Boston.  2)  My meal has to be served at it’s appropriate temperature.  It’s this strange paranoia I’ve always had and therefore prefer baking.  Feeling the clock ticking while people wait to be served a warm dish makes me sweat and my face turns so serious, which I know is bad and only adds pre-mature wrinkles to my very dry skin (thank you winter).  However, this Asaparagus soup only makes you younger.  It’s made with lots of greens and is a hearty soup that can be served in clear bowls which will brighten up a dull table.  It can be served chilled or warm and during the spring or even the winter.  It’s easy and delicious so no sweat! or wrinkles.

Adapted from Aran Goyoaga
Yields:  4-6 servings

2 Tbs olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb green asparagus, touch bottoms trimmed and diced
1 tsp salt
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups tightly packed arugula
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
Garnish (optional): Bacon, Croutons, almonds, microgreens, shrimp, crabmeat, etc.

1.  Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add shallots, garlic, asparagus, and salt.  Cook the vegetables for 3 minutes or until tender but not browned.
2.  Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Then, turn the heat to low and simmer for 4 minutes or until the asparagus is tender.
3.  Add arugula and cook for 1 additional minute.  Remove the pot from the heat.
4.  Add avocado and puree the soup.  Add seasoning (salt, pepper) if needed.
5.  Serve the soup warm or chilled and top with your favorite ingredient.

Cauliflower-Apple Soup

Cauliflower-Apple Soup

One of my absolute favorite things to eat in the winter is a hardy soup. A few years ago I bought my first immersion blender, and ever since I have gone a little crazy with pureed soups (see also butternut squash, … Continue reading

Raw Chocolate-Coconut Tarts

Raw Chocolate-Coconut Tarts

‘Tis the season for baking! This is a quick, decadent recipe that is sure to be well-received. Not only that, but this recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, raw and vegan! I know, how can it be good? But answer me this, how can … Continue reading

Homemade Beet Ravioli

Homemade Beet Ravioli

One day left until the big holiday and I’ve eaten three turkeys already.  The fourth turkey is coming tonight at our friend’s pre-Thanksgiving party (as a side note Anne is bringing her family dish that is supposedly amazing; recipe soon … Continue reading

Cranberry Pecan Holiday Couscous

Cranberry Pecan Holiday Couscous

I remember exactly when I fell in love with couscous.  It was one Saturday lunch at a fabulous cafe called Afternoon Tea in Japan.  Okay, that was a bit melodramatic, but really, there are so many reasons to love this place; … Continue reading