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.

Everyday should be Pi day

Sjoblom Blueberry Best Pie

Sjoblom Blueberry Best Pie

Since when did Pi day become such a big deal?  We know –ever since Petsy’s Pie over in Sommerville started this great contest:

Making preparations for π day!

Posted on March 6, 2013 by petsipies

Put your thinking caps on!  3.14 @ 1:59 we will start the pi, pie prizes at our Beacon Street location. If you can recite 10 digits of pi we’ll reward you with a cutie pie and a pi sticker. If you know 100 digits the prize is a gift certificate for a large pie, if you are a master of pi and can recite 314 digits, you’ll win our grand pie prize of a pie per season gift certificate!

We would like to take a moment now and appreciate our elementary school teachers for making us memorize the first ten digits of pi, which is etched in out memories forever.  3.141592654.  This is an example of how math is implemented in real life.  Memorize the pi in exchange for a pie.

If you need an extra recipe on top of all the tweets and blog posts for great pies that took place today, take a look at our blueberry pie.  We think you’ll like it.

Happy Pi Day!  and FYI, tomorrow is World Contact Day…Happy Weekend!

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.

 

Tea Cup Jewelry for the Birthday Girl

This past weekend Anne and I celebrated Anne’s big birthday over some freshly squeezed cocktail mixers, delicious soup made by the bday girl, and homemade bread.  Photos and recipes soon to follow.  It was a  night filled with a lot of food, laughter, and as usual, good tea.  Anne is all about the tea.  Walk through her door and it’s the first and last thing she will offer you –guaranteed.  For her birthday I found adorable tea jewelry and couldn’t resist.  They are made by Layla Amber, an artist based in England, and you can buy some of her tea party collection over at her etsy site here.  Any tea lovers out there?  If you’re one of them I’m sure you can appreciate this.  Happy Birthday Anne!
teatime

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

Marbled Almond Oregano Meringue

meringue

I’m stuck.  I’m stuck in my house, Nemo has arrived, and I won’t have an escape until who knows when (probably tomorrow, don’t worry).  This means one thing…to bake and well, also shovel. A couple of weeks ago Anne brought me back some real chocolate from her trip to Mexico.  What does real chocolate taste like you ask?  Not sweet.  It also tastes like you are eating a cocoa bean if that sounds appetizing to you.  I wanted to use this milk chocolate infused with oregano and almonds to make some meringue.  A little bit of Vday spirit but it also only calls for three ingredients which is great for those who are stuck and need a special small-sweet treat. Meringues are high in protein and their crispy outside,chewy inside, and subtle sweetness will make you crave for more.  Now time to shovel, round 3…photos of Nemo to follow, along with more weekend festivities.
chocolate peak meringuesAdapted from Williams Sonoma
Yields: 10 meringues

45 grams your choice of chocolate, chopped
2 egg whites
250 grams (1/2 cup) sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 275º F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.  In saucepan, bring 1-2 inches water to simmer.  Put chocolate in a heatproof bowl over (not touching) simmering water and melt, stirring occasionally.  Set aside and let cool slightly.
3.  In another heatproof bowl, combine egg whites and sugar over (not touching) simmering water and whisk until mixture is hot for about 4-5 minutes.  Remove bowl from heat and using an electric mixer beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, for about 4-5 minutes, and mixture is lukewarm.
4.  Drizzle melted chocolate over egg white mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just marbled.  Don’t over fold or you will just get a chocolate meringue.
5.  With a spoon, drop batter in large mounds spaced 1.5-2 inches apart.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until crispy outside and the inside is chewy.
6.  Transfer sheets to a wire rack and let it cool completely before removing cookies from parchment.  Store in airtight container.

Teriyaki Chicken Legs with Lotus Root

P2048581It’s been a year since we made these Superbowl scrumptious Quinoa Patties rooting for the New England Patriots, but this year we were cheering for Beyoncé — she redeemed herself from the lip-synched inauguration and made all the women (and men) in this nation fall in love with her again.  The power outage was the second most exciting moment.

Believe it or not the Superbowl serves traditional foods such as nachos, wings, pizza, and as a fun fact, Americans double their average daily consumption of snacks consuming more than 33 million pounds of goodies on this particular Sunday. Yeah, it’s a fatty day.  I made this easy chicken recipe a while back when I was living in Japan on farmland.  Lotus root are usually harvested in the fall but if you live in the Boston area you can head to Russo’s to find them year-round.  I LOVE this veggie and it’s always fun cooking with a new and unusual ingredient.  This dish is juicy, crunchy, and extremely flavorful with some asian flare.  Have a good Monday!
P2048567 P2048575

Vegetable Oil 1 Tbs
Chicken Legs 5 pieces
Salt and Pepper

Lotus root 1
Cooking sake 2Tbs
Soy Sauce 2 Tbs
Honey 1.5 Tbs
Orange 1/2
Butter 1/2 tbs

1.  Wash the legs and marinate with salt and pepper.  Let them sit for about 10 minutes.
2.  Peel the lotus root and cut them into even thin slices.
3.  On medium heat pour vegetable oil in pan.  Place chicken legs for about 4-5 minutes or until the skin on both sides are lightly brown.
4.  Make room on the pan and add another 1/2 TBS of vegetable oil.  Place lotus root and sauté them until brown on both sides.  Once done, take the lotus root out and set aside.
5.  Add 1 cup of water and simmer on low-medium heat for about 1 minute.
6.  Add sake, soy sauce, honey, and fresh orange juice and simmer for 10 minutes with cover.  Make sure to flip sides.
7.  When the liquid seems to have evaporated to 1/3, take the lid off and add the lotus root.  Simmer for another 10 minutes with the lid off.  Add butter and let it simmer for another 1 minute.

Optional:  You can sprinkle orange zest and parsley for garnish.

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.