California living and adventures in creativity

Jul 20

Olallieberry Heaven

My love affair with the olallieberry started last June when I discovered these amazing little jewels at our local farmer’s market. At the time, I was engaged in a quest for the perfect crumble, and despite a very close second by my traditional favorite (rhubarb and strawberry), the olallieberry crumble skyrocketed to first place!

This year we had the pleasure of actually picking these beauties at Swanton Farm, a nearby organic u-pick farm. The farm was beautiful and it was a cool foggy morning making berry picking easy.

We managed to pick a huge amount in a relatively short period of time, and all I could think of was the multitude of recipes we could try with this tart, luscious berry. Within a few days we had incorporated our beloved olallieberry into many of our favorite recipes. We enjoyed a delectable crumble, olallieberry oatmeal pancakes, olallieberry frozen tart yogurt and even an olallieberry muffin.

In the case of the pancakes and muffins, we simply substituted the blueberries for olallieberries. With the frozen yogurt, we simply crushed 1/2 cup of olallieberries, strained them, and added the juice to the yogurt mixture while it was churning……

The rest of our massive haul of olallieberries are frozen and ready for the next recipe! Check out these recipes from Swanton Farm showcasing the olallieberry.

tags:   home   recipes   olallieberry
Apr 15

Cured lemons

I finally got around to making the cured lemons in Thomas Keller’s gorgeous Ad Hoc cookbook. You can access the recipe here. It’s a really simple process, and I thought the lemon slices looked so pretty with the sugar/salt mixture. The instructions say to wrap up the dish and keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.

We have used our newly cured lemons in a marinade for halibut, in an aioli (with the halibut) as well as chopped up and tossed into quinoa. The intensity of the lemon flavor is wonderful, and we continue to brainstorm about other dishes we can use these in. Any suggestions are always welcome!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my spring giveaway!

Apr 1

A healthy chocolate cake?

This cake is absolutely scrumptious! It is not only super easy to make (all in one bowl), but it really is quite healthy given traditional chocolate cake recipes. It also fits my criteria of eating whole grains as much as possible.

Give it a try, you’ll be hooked!

Recipe & photo from Eating Well:

Ingredients

* 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
* 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten
* 2 tablespoons canola oil
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup hot strong black coffee
* Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with a circle of wax paper.
2. Whisk flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, brown sugar, egg, oil and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add hot coffee and beat to blend. (The batter will be quite thin.) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake the cake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from the pan, peel off the wax paper and let cool completely. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar before slicing.

Original recipe can be found here. Enjoy!

tags:   recipes   food and wine
Mar 11

Surrounded by yellow

It started with our daffodils coming into bloom a few weeks ago, followed by a visit to the Filoli Estate where over 250,000 daffodils were on display. Their vibrant yellow inspired a pair of earrings and my own version of an Etsy treasury with the daffodil as inspiration.

The next dose of glorious yellow came in the blankets of mustard plants in wine country seen on a recent day trip. The yellow of these mustard plants is almost electric, and is so refreshing and energizing.

The latest burst of yellow in my world is our little meyer lemon tree which is literally straining with fruit this time of year. We try to incorporate lemon in as many recipes as possible, but are always looking for a good lemon (preferably meyer lemon) recipe. What is your favorite lemon recipe?

In an attempt to expand our lemon repetoire, this weekend I’m going to try Thomas Keller’s Cured Lemons from his Ad Hoc Cookbook. He says that you can use these cured lemons in many applications, so we’ll give it a try.

Here’s the recipe in case you want to try it.

Cured lemons
8 lemons (3-4 ounces each), scrubbed
1 3/4 plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt

Cut 1/2 inch from one end of a lemon, leaving you with the nicest, widest portion, and slice the lemon into 1/8 inch rounds, removing the seeds as you go and stopping 1/2 inch from the other end. Repeat with the remaining lemons.

Combine the sugar and salt in a large bowl.

Sprinkle just under 1/2 inch of the sugar mixture in the bottom of a storage container that is about 6 inches square. Arrange a row of slightly overlapping lemon slices on top, and top the a layer of the sugar mixture that just covers the lemon slices completely. As you layer the lemons, the goal is to have enough of the sugar and salt mixture evenly distributed on the slices so that when it dissolves, all of the lemon slices will be covered with the liquid. (It is better to use too much sugar and salt than too little, because any exposed areas of lemon can mold.) Continue the process, alternating the lemon slices and sugar mixture and ending with a layer of the sugar mixture on top.

Put the lid on the container and wrap the container tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 weeks, or up to 1 month.

tags:   gardening   home   lemons   yellow   recipes
Jan 21

Great cookbook!

I think that borrowing a cookbook from the library is the perfect way to test whether you really need to own it. My latest discovery is the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking cookbook. Typically I ignore branded cookbooks, but I am really liking this one. Given that I’m committed to eating whole grains wherever possible, I am totally intrigued by it’s extensive range of recipes.

Just the other day, my husband (a huge pancake lover and connoisseur) and I tried King Arthur’s Simple Spelt pancake recipe. They were absolutely yummy! If you are not familiar with spelt flour, you must try it (I find it at Whole Foods). It has a wonderful subtle nutty flavor to it which worked wonderfully with these pancakes.

Simple Spelt Pancakes
Yield: 16 pancakes
Cooking Time: 4-6 minutes

2 cups whole spelt flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter; melted
2 teaspoons vanilla (optional) - I would recommend it :)

Whisk together the spelt flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the milk and melted butter, and the vanilla if you’re using it. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir the batter just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened: it will seem very wet, but will thicken as it sits. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes. (this is very important)

Heat a non stick griddle. If your surface is not nonstick, brush it lightly with vegetable oil. When the surface of your pan is hot enough that a drop of water sputters across it, give the pan a quick swipe with a paper towel to eliminate excess oil. and spoon the batter onto the hot surface, 1/4 cupful at a time. Let the pancakes cook on the first side until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the cakes, 2 to 3 minutes. When the cakes are just beginning to set flip them and let them finish cooking on the second side until they’re golden brown on both sides, about 1 minute more. Enjoy!

The next recipe we are going to try is their chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’ll let you know how it goes :)

tags:   food and wine   recipes
Dec 21
Another amazing cookie recipe!

I realize this might be ginger cookie overkill given that I just posted about the Lemon Ginger cookies a few days ago, but for those of you who like dark chocolate, you will need to try these wonderful cookies, courtesy of Martha Stewart.

You can find the recipe for Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies here.  They really have a wonderful chewy texture and the unique combination of fresh ginger with dark chocolate is sublime! 

Enjoy!

Another amazing cookie recipe!

I realize this might be ginger cookie overkill given that I just posted about the Lemon Ginger cookies a few days ago, but for those of you who like dark chocolate, you will need to try these wonderful cookies, courtesy of Martha Stewart.

You can find the recipe for Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies here. They really have a wonderful chewy texture and the unique combination of fresh ginger with dark chocolate is sublime!

Enjoy!

tags:   christmas   food and wine   recipes
Dec 17
Favorite Christmas Cookie

My “go to” Christmas Cookie is the Lemon Ginger Cookie.  It has all of the qualities you look for in a cookie;  soft on the inside, little crust on the outside, great flavor, petite size (so you can have more than one), and quick and easy to make.  These make the perfect holiday gift to friends and family!

Here’s the recipe.  Try them, you won’t regret it!:

Lemon Ginger Cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar (for rolling cookies)
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tbsp lemon rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon and set aside. With an electric mixer beat butter with brown sugar and egg until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and lemon rind until well blended. Stir in dry ingredients, half at a time, blending well after each addition.

Roll dough, one level tablespoon at a time, between palms of hands into balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches a part on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Do not overbake! Cookies will be soft in the center. Cool completely on wire racks.  Enjoy!

Favorite Christmas Cookie

My “go to” Christmas Cookie is the Lemon Ginger Cookie. It has all of the qualities you look for in a cookie; soft on the inside, little crust on the outside, great flavor, petite size (so you can have more than one), and quick and easy to make. These make the perfect holiday gift to friends and family!

Here’s the recipe. Try them, you won’t regret it!:

Lemon Ginger Cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar (for rolling cookies)
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tbsp lemon rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon and set aside. With an electric mixer beat butter with brown sugar and egg until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and lemon rind until well blended. Stir in dry ingredients, half at a time, blending well after each addition.

Roll dough, one level tablespoon at a time, between palms of hands into balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches a part on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Do not overbake! Cookies will be soft in the center. Cool completely on wire racks. Enjoy!

tags:   christmas   food and wine   recipes
Nov 24
Tis the season for bread!
In preparation for our contribution to the family Thanksgiving dinner, we did a test run on Cooks Illustrated’s No Knead Bread 2.0 (you’ll need to sign up on their site to get access to this recipe).  We’ve made this lovely loaf before, but since it’s been a while, we wanted to do a test run before Thanksgiving to ensure that we could pull it off!
We will be bringing this attractive loaf along with our whole grain flatbread and some corn bread to our Thanksgiving feast.   Our test run was quite successful except for the bottom of the bread getting a bit charred.  We opted to make the Whole Wheat version.  Cooks Illustrated also provides a Seeded Rye version and a Cranberry-Pecan option.     In my opinion the best part of this bread is the sublime crust.  It is equally crispy and crunchy.   We look forward to enjoying this bread again on Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving!
P.S.  There is still time to enter the giveaway where you will win my Vanilla Honey Lace Necklace!

Tis the season for bread!

In preparation for our contribution to the family Thanksgiving dinner, we did a test run on Cooks Illustrated’s No Knead Bread 2.0 (you’ll need to sign up on their site to get access to this recipe).  We’ve made this lovely loaf before, but since it’s been a while, we wanted to do a test run before Thanksgiving to ensure that we could pull it off!

We will be bringing this attractive loaf along with our whole grain flatbread and some corn bread to our Thanksgiving feast.   Our test run was quite successful except for the bottom of the bread getting a bit charred.  We opted to make the Whole Wheat version.  Cooks Illustrated also provides a Seeded Rye version and a Cranberry-Pecan option.     In my opinion the best part of this bread is the sublime crust.  It is equally crispy and crunchy.   We look forward to enjoying this bread again on Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S.  There is still time to enter the giveaway where you will win my Vanilla Honey Lace Necklace!

tags:   food and wine   recipes

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About me

I live in Northern California with my husband and three cats (Pinky, Newbie & Henry). This blog explores creativity in many forms and simple daily pleasures. californiablue handcrafted jewelry is my creative outlet and inspired by where I live. Contact me

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