I know this is not my usual posting time, but I simply could not contain myself any longer and wanted to reach out to you because, YOU GUYS, I have BIG news! A few hours after my last post, the Vanille Verte cooking app went LIVE in the Apple store (click here to see it)! Wow, that was fast!
I have some great news! The Vanille Verte app is (finally!) at Apple, waiting for approval. The wait could be short, or it could be long, but, regardless, I am so very excited about this step forward, and I cannot wait to share it with you when it comes out! Much more later…
For now, on to today’s recipe.
I know, I know, there’s no way I can sell these cookies as healthy. They’re not. They’re meant to be a very occasional treat, I am fully aware.
Since coming back from Switzerland a couple of weeks ago, I have been making rösti regularly. Rösti is a Swiss dish of crisp and golden brown grated potatoes, much like hashbrowns. My son absolutely loves it (and you might remember how difficult it is to please him), and it makes a very simple base for just about any meal. This is not my recipe, but my Swiss aunt Michele’s. While spending time with her and my uncle in the small village of Vercorin where they spend their weekends, I quizzed her on how to make a true traditional rösti, and wrote down all her instructions. I only changed a couple of things to her recipe, using ghee instead of butter to cook it (because butter should not be heated much), and adding garlic, green onions and parsley, for extra flavor and nutrition. Otherwise, this recipe is her work.
Yes, I come to you with another salad this week. Bear with me. With the weather warming up, I find that salads make the most welcome evening meals, so I have been serving them, a lot. Their variety is endless, and they leave room for a lot of creative pairings, all without the unwelcome heat of the stove in the warmth of summer. Besides, there is something very soothing about chopping up a lot of fresh produce, feeling their juices run through my fingers, and mixing the different ingredients with my hands. Getting this close to my food centers me and brings me back to what truly matters: love and nourishment. So, whenever I feel a little overwhelmed, I seek relief in my kitchen. The cooking, the cutting, the food, it makes all the stress just melt away, like butter on a hot frying pan (or rather, like lard on a hot frying pan, because butter and excess heat don’t make for a healthy end result, you know). And when all is said and done, I am invariably much calmer… oh, and I have created a meal to share with my family. Now that is what I call a useful form of therapy.
Easy, peasy. That’s what this dessert is. It might look a little complicated, but I assure you that it is incredibly simple to make, so do not hesitate, and do not be intimidated. If you own a peeler, a blender, and a medium size pot, you are good to go (and, by the way, it would make a pretty wonderful Mother’s Day dessert, as well, if you plan on celebrating…).
Spring has definitely sprung. Blooming flowers and their sweet scents fill the air, and the bounty of summer produce has started to show its early promise. Last weekend, at the farmers’ market, heirloom tomatoes made a timid, yet colorfully bold appearance, a hopeful sign of the start to the new season.
Spring break was a little unusual this year. My husband, Ricardo, had a few work meetings in Europe at the same time, and so our son and I simply decided to follow him around, and turn it into a family vacation, since we could take advantage of air miles that had accumulated and were begging, simply begging, to be used up. Twist my arm.
Ok, seriously, there’s something so incredibly comforting about a warm bowl of creamy polenta on a cold, dreary night. It is solace in the mouth, I tell you.
I know, I know, food is not love, and should never be used as a replacement. But, man, on the days when I am feeling extra tired and overwhelmed, a bowl such as this one certainly wraps me up with all manner of comfort and care. Except this bowl is also topped with loads of roasted vegetables, which transforms it into a nourishing meal, and not just a soothing one.
Always rushed in the morning, but still want to eat well? Have I got a breakfast for you! This buckwheat, beet and apple porridge blends flavor, beauty, speed, and health all in one neat little package. It tastes incredible, looks so very alive, cooks in just a handful of minutes, and is loaded with nutrients. Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than that!
A short post today as my schedule is a little full this week, since I am going through the final copy edits for the cookbook, and am on the home stretch for the Vanille Verte app, as well. I cannot wait to share it all with you, but I need to practice patience, something I am not very good at. However, I still wanted to share this recipe for endive boats. I made them a few days ago as an appetizer and they were a big hit, so I thought you might enjoy them, as well.
Spring has sprung here in Northern California. Not that we actually had a winter, mind you, since we are now in our 4th year of severe drought, without any signs of letting up. No rain, just bright sunshine and temperatures in the 70’s practically-every-single-day. For years. If it wasn’t so scary, and nature wasn’t clearly suffering so much, I would say “yeah, baby!”. But, sadly, the dryness has been very difficult on the land and its farmers. And since California grows the majority of the produce for the US, the implications for the future are troubling. I am hoping, and keeping my fingers crossed, that abundant rain will find its way to California next winter, and we can all finally breathe a sigh of relief.
Have you heard? Brussels sprouts are the new kale. Kale, poor kale, is being dethroned, in our never-ending quest for new and interesting flavors, and brussels sprouts are rising up in the ranks and showing up, well, just about everywhere.
It’s a pizza. On a socca. It’s a soccazza! I wish I could take credit for coming up with the name Soccazza, but it is my hubby Ricardo’s handy work. I was toying with different combinations that I had heard before, socca pizza, pizza socca, pizza on socca, and then he chimed in: “soccazza”. Perfect. Thank you, my love.
Before we get to the pizza bit, let’s explain that socca is a gluten-free chickpea crêpe commonly sold by street vendors in the South of France. I have been enjoying socca since I was a child, and we spent our summers with my maternal grand-parents, in Cannes, on the Côte d’Azur. We would take a break from a long, active day at the beach or pool, and stroll through the streets of the town eating ice cream, and socca. Ah, the innocence of childhood.
If we were giving awards to the healthiest, most versatile, and most flavorful vegetables, one of the clear winners would no doubt be cauliflower. Incredibly adaptable, cauliflower works beautifully prepared in all sorts of ways – pulsed in the food processor to make “rice” or taboulé (see my recipe here), sliced and oven roasted as “steaks” (or snack bites) with a dip, blended with cheese to make pizza crust, there seems to be no end to the variety with which to prepare it.
I discovered miso-glazed cod while eating at one of my absolute favorite restaurants, Sushi Ran, in Sausalito, CA. People come from far to eat at Sushi Ran, and Steve Jobs even tagged it on his iPhone during his 2007 keynote address as “the best sushi I’ve ever had” (yes, he was a vegan, except when it came to Japanese food, it seems). And with good reason. In the deft hands of executive chef Scott Whitman, the creative fusion of Japanese and Californian cuisines take on very interesting flavors, and their impeccable execution delights patrons with consistently out-of-this-world dining experiences.
These crazy-easy-to-make pecan truffles are the perfect bite when we crave something sweet and satisfying, but not overly rich. Flavored with lots of orange zest, and sweetened with dates, they bring a ray of sunshine and natural sugars to a light dessert or snack. Always popular when served with coffee or tea at the end of a dinner party, they also make wonderful travel companions, so take them with you for quick nourishment on the go.
Trying to live life as close to nature as possible often means making my own personal care products. I still have a lot to learn in that department, but I haven’t purchased deodorant in a couple of years (you can try my recipe here), and, today, I wanted to share my recipe for body scrub. Store bought versions tend to be expensive, and are often loaded with chemicals and cheap oils, yet a homemade body scrub takes mere minutes to make, and it can be customized to include your own favorite blend of scents. With no junky ingredients, it stays healthy, as well, and makes a wonderful gift.
Crème brûlée is my father’s absolute favorite dessert. He orders it in every restaurant that serves it, so I guess you could say he is a crème brûlée connoisseur. Very picky, and ruthlessly critical of how it should be properly made, 9 times out of 10, the crème brûlée he tries does not meet his expectations.
The first time it hit me, I was 6 months pregnant with my son. We lived in Washington, DC at the time, and it was summer. In case you don’t know, summers in DC are hot, very hot, and our little basement apartment lacked air-conditioning. I remember the aura, that strange visual disturbance, foreboding of what was to come. Everything seemed blurry, and there were bright lights dancing in front of my eyes. I thought it was the heat, but then the pain started, gradually intensifying until I cried. Unable to escape the drumming in my head, I stood in a cold shower, crying and vomiting all at the same time. My poor husband did what he could to help, but neither of us knew what hit us. So we got scared. Surely there must be something really, really wrong with the baby if I was so sick. But, thankfully, our son was fine. I was just having my first migraine.