Rosemary Roasted Radishes & Turkey Brie Panini

50

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Roasted Radishes

Little announcement...The giveaway winners are: ReL from The Dedicated Flash and Elissons from Sugar Symphony (all the way in Latvia!) who won a copy of Plate To Pixel. Congratulations also to Colorado76Gal from Baking Doux who won the set of 4 plates by Asya at gleena.com. Email me with your mailing addresses at mytartelette at gmail dot com. Thanks!
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What a discombobulated week this has been! Life at its finest. It pushed and it pulled. And challenged. It gave and took away. The joys of many followed by the sorrow of others. Chances are that yourself can apply any one of these circumstances to your week I am sure. It happens everyday and we are left to keep going.

Moments like this, all out of sorts, caught between joy and pain, make me want to celebrate the simple things. Friendships, love, crushes, food, images,... Things I can count in my life as well as those I am working towards. People without a home or a loved one this week have little use for the romantic idea of the "unknown". I sympathize with that.

Rosemary

I have the greatest partner, a wonderful relationship with my in-laws, parents I adore, and the unconditional love of two crazy dogs . I have friends who keep me straight and make me laugh. I take timeouts just so that I can be there for whatever they need of me in return for all the wonderful days and warm fuzzies they give me.

Then there is work. Things tangible and things in project. Whatever we need to do to keep a roof over our heads. These are the only truths I know and the the ones I can have an impact on by keeping at it well and diligently.

Easter Egg Radishes

One thing I do, even more than usual, is to keep things as simple and clear as possible. Starting with the food. We had friends over for dinner just about everyday this week. Every one wanted to help me celebrate the release of the book and raise a glass of Champagne. Or two. It was kind of surreal. Still...

You guys sure knows how to make a girl blush. Everytime I'd see on Twitter or Facebook a picture of the book barely out of the box, my heart went pitter patter. I love that you are grasping the sheer amount of work that went into it and information I included. My friend Ez at Creature Comforts summed up the core of the book in this very touching post.

Easter Egg Radishes

I wanted to give you as many tools as possible to get the shot that makes you giddy, getting things right before you pressed the shutter button so you'd spend less time "fixing" in post processing and more time playing with your camera or with your loved ones. Or time in the kitchen fixing great foods to shoot...!

Sneaky segue to announce the winners of this week's giveaway...ah!
Well..Tada! Congratulations to ReL from The Dedicated Flash and Elissons from Sugar Symphony (all the way in Latvia!) who won a copy of Plate To Pixel. Congratulations also to Colorado76Gal from Baking Doux who won the set of 4 plates by Asya at gleena.com. Email me with your mailing addresses at mytartelette at gmail dot com. Thanks!

Brie, Turkey And Spinach Panini

Out of all the great dishes we shared with friends this week, I made Roasted Radishes and Turkey and Brie panini more than once. I picked up these colorful Easter Egg radishes (yep, not making this up) at the farmers market and after roasting them with rosemary, olive oil and salt, I was glad I had picked up more than one bunch.

We usually eat radishes as I did growing, with some butter and sea salt. But, the simple act of roasting releases the natural sugar of the radishes, changing their spicy and peppery nature to pure savory like candy.

Watermelon Radishes

We had them as a side dish, snack and mixed with local goat cheese for vegetarian ravioli (using this dough). Can't get enough. This week however I picked some watermelon radishes (pictured right above) for a change. These are so peppery, they will be wonderful thinly sliced in veggie sandwiches such as this one.

Talking about sandwiches...I was shooting a feature on paninis so it wasn't too difficult throwing an extra one on the press at the end of the day. And when it involves thinly sliced roasted turkey, fresh arugula and melting Brie...it's hard to say no. We did not. No regrets there. Even done in a pan grilled-cheese style. Oh yes!

I hope you'll give both these ideas a try. Would love to hear what's on your menu this weekend!

Roasted Radishes


Roasted Radishes:
1 bunch radishes
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 -2 sprigs rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 400F - 425F.
Wash and pat dry the radishes to remove fuzzy hairs and dirt.
Place the radishes in a 8x8-inch roasting pan (or other you prefer), drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast until they start getting golden on the edges. About 20-25 minutes. Enjoy warm or room temperature.

Turkey and Brie Panini (adapted and with permission of Carrie Vitt in Deliciously Organic, IFP, 2010)

Serves 4

8 slices whole grain bread (regular or gluten free)
softened unsalted butter for spreading
1/4 cup raspberry jam (I used homemade strawberry jam)
8 oz thinly sliced turkey
1 cup arugula
6 oz Brie, sliced thin

Butter one side of each piece of bread. Spread a thin layer of jam on the unbuttered side. Top with some turkey (about 2 oz), a few leaves of arugula and a couple slices of Brie. Top with another slice of bread, unbuttered side toward the filling.
Heat in a panini press, pan or skillet until both sides are golden brown and he cheese has melted inside.

Celebrating the release of my first book! A Video, A Chocolate cake & Two Giveaways!

928

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Easter!

"Thank You"...

I have written and erased the first sentence of this post fifty times it seems.It makes me smile a little considering the number of sentences I started and erased fifty times more since last November. The best one I could think about today was "Thank you".

I have thought a few times about this week. Right here. Right now. The week when my first book, "Plate To Pixel. Digital Food Photography & Styling" is out into the world. From November to March, it was the hard work of a team that did not stop until it was right. This week the book is yours. Ours.

Wow... it still is just barely sinking in. Once the book in my hands, it took a full 24 hours for my shoulders to relax and a smile to timidly cross my lips. Then as I was standing there in the rain with Bailey, that smile grew to a stupidly wide expression of gratitude and excitement.

I bolted back inside to Taylor who was getting his video equipment together and said "let's do this! Let's show people how awesome food photography can be with a little help from a friend!"

And so we shot this video promo of "Plate To Pixel. Digital Food Photography & Styling". Words fall short to tell Taylor what an amazing job he did on it. Thank you dear friend!

Plate to Pixel Promo Video from Taylor Mathis.


I come from a family of crafters. My dad is a published author and a painter. My mom designs frames for other people's art. My brother Arnaud is constantly building and crafting objects and toys. My brother Thierry was a talented photographer. Writing this book feels a bit like my way of contributing to the family DNA!!

I loved working on this book so much! I wrote it with you in mind. And you is a lot of people with different likes and dislikes, different ways to go about life. But we all have the same goal. Take pictures of food and have a wonderful experience doing it.

Whether you need just a little push, a lot of help or just reinforcement that you are on the right track. I compiled information, hands-on visuals of bouncing, diffusing, white balances, exposures, depth of field, ... Composition and styling techniques, equipment setup so you can see the full how-tos of a picture, step by step styling demos...and the list goes on!

I will be doing fun giveaways in the coming weeks to express my thanks for your support and kind words these past few months and your enthusiasm these past few days.
But today is especially awesome to celebrate the release of the book. There won't be one lucky person but three!

- I am giving away 2 signed copies of Plate To Pixel and a little surprise inside...
- my super talented friend Asya from gleena.com who is the artist behind the numbered ceramic plates I love to use here, is giving away four white ceramic dessert plates numbered 1 through 4 (like the ones in the picture below)

All you have to do is leave a comment here between today, April 26th 2011 and Friday April 29th 2011, midnight Eastern time.
Guidelines: one entry per person, no anonymous comment, leave 24hrs for your name to appear in giveaway as I manually moderate entries.


Note: Plate to Pixel is currently available online on Amazon (US, UK, Germany, etc...), Wiley, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, Borders. It will be in stores in about 10 days or so!

Now...how about some Double Trouble Chocolate Cake to really celebrate?!!

Double Trouble Chocolate Cake


Double Trouble Chocolate Cake:

Serves 10-12

For the cake:
1 stick (113gr) butter
1 cup (200gr) sugar
1/2 cup (45gr) natural cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup superfine rice flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup gluten free oat flour
1 teaspoon (5gr) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5gr) instant coffee powder
1/2 teaspoon (2.5gr) baking soda
1 cup (250ml) warm water
Note: for a non gluten free version, you can use 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour instead of the rice, millet and oat flours.

For the ganache:
12 oz bittersweet chocolate (chips or chopped)
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Prepare the cake:
Preheat oven to 325F. Butter one deep 9-inch round baking pans, sprinkle some rice flour into the pans, shake it around and tap the excess off. Line the bottoms with one 9-inch circle of parchment paper. Set aside.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. On low speed, add the cocoa and mix until incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bowl with a spatula to make sure they are properly mixed in. Add the flours, baking powder, coffee powder and baking soda and mix on medium-low speed while slowly adding the warm water and mix until smooth. Pour the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature and unmold the cake. Divide in three horizontally.

Prepare the chocolate ganache:
Place the chocolate and salt in a non reactive bowl and set aside. In a heavy bottom saucepan set over high heat, bring the cream to almost boiling (really hot basically!). When hot, pour it over the chocolate and salt. Let stand for 5 minutes before slowly whisking the mixture to bring it together to a smooth and silky ganache. If it's not completely smooth, return to very low heat for a few seconds to melt the chocolate some more. Brands vary so this step may be necessary if the chocolate is not completely melted.

To assemble the cake:
Let stand the ganache about 15-20 minutes so it is thick enough to apply between the layers of chocolate cake. Leave about 1 to 1.5 cups for the top and sides and set and slightly warm it up a bit so it spreads more easily.

Raspberry Rhubarb Tapioca Puddings & Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Raspberry Rhubarb Tapioca Pudding With Poppy Seed Lemon Muffins

I got to say, social media and the way we interact is pretty phenomenal. And I mean that in all possible ways. I do love it. Being able to connect fast and furiously with people. Meeting new and interesting folks all the time. Being able to exchange links to pictures, recipes, news almost instantly. I like hearing my phone send me a little ring-a-ding "you got mail". Really I do!

Tapioca Puddings & Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Last week, I posted on Flickr a photo of tapioca puddings and lemon poppy seed muffins I was taking to our neighbors for dinner. I linked that to Twitter and then closed the computer and went next door. My phone in my pocket. Then my phone had a party. All by itself. It started ring-a-dinging with intensity. Tweets back and emails started coming in asking me to please share the recipes for the puddings and the muffins.

To tell you the truth I had not really planned on it but I had made more than enough to share with more friends. Here. One spoonful deep in that dessert, one whiff of lemon and poppy seed later and I was secretly giddy to have an opportunity to sample them again.

Rhubarb

The Raspberry Rhubarb Tapioca Puddings are so good. Soothing. Little beads of tapioca rolling off your tongue. Smooth. Rhubarb and raspberries gently cooked until just barely soft. The distant scent of cherry blossom extract. The perfect crunch of lightly roasted pistachios.

And the muffins. Ah...gobbled up in a flash. Good thing I tend to cook and bake like my grandmother. Doubling a recipe, or more, is just a normal thing happening here. What can I say? I love to give and see the smile on someone's face when they receive. The lovely part with these muffins is you can built upon the base any way your heart desires. Oranges, instead of lemons, nuts instead of poppy seeds, vanilla, rose, caramel...anything.

Raspberry Rhubarb Tapioca Pudding

Quite a few many events are shaping up for this Spring and Summer (actually up 'til January...ugh!) that have me jumping up and down with excitement! I will make sure to keep everyone updated on workshops or conferences.

Right now I must get the house and studio tidied up a bit since Taylor is coming tomorrow and staying a few days to shoot the promo video of my book "Plate To Pixel". I heard the book was officially shipping out next week! I am extremely nervous but glad we practiced a little a few months ago. Remember this? I can't believe this is all happenings. Months of hard work just about to see the light!

Raspberry Rhubarb Tapioca Pudding With Poppy Seed Lemon Muffins

Another fun little tidbit that I forgot to post here: last month the printed issue of Elle Magazine published a feature "Cooking In Code" for which I was interviewed along with Heidi of 101 Cookbooks and Molly of Orangette as well as Eddie Gehman Kohan, Krista Garcia, Amanda Kludt. Extremely honored. Well, now the online version is live on the Elle magazine website. Click on any of our pretty mugs and you'll be able to catch up on our interviews.

Ok...now I must really go clean the house for Taylor. I'll try to post sneak peeks of the shoot with Taylor throughout the weekend. Should be fun!

Raspberry Rhubarb Tapioca Pudding


Raspberry Rhubarb Tapioca Pudding With Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins:

Serves 6

For the pudding:
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup raspberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup small pearl tapioca (not instant)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon cherry blossom extract (or rose, or vanilla)
Toasted pistachios for garnish

In a large saucepan, combine the rhubarb, raspberries and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, to a simmer, add the honey and stir briefly. Cover the saucepan and let cook for about 10 minutes. Uncover and check the fruit. If there is a lot of liquid, cook a bit longer over low heat, uncovered until very little liquid remains at the bottom of the pan. Let cool to room temperature and then divide evenly among 6 ramekins or glasses.
In a separate and large saucepan, combine the tapioca, milk and honey over medium high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and let the mixture cook until the tapioca looks translucent (about 20-30 minutes). Let cool to room temperature and divide in between the ramekins or glasses with the raspberry/rhubarb mixture. Top with chopped pistachios.

For the lemon poppy seed muffins: (makes 12)
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 cup yogurt
zest and juice of one large lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon coconut oil (or melted butter)
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato flour
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the inside of 12 muffin cups with muffin liners and grease slightly with melted butter or cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and honey until smooth. Add the yogurt, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, coconut oil and whisk until combined. Add the millet, brown rice, and potato flour, salt, baking powder and poppy seeds. Whisk until fully incorporated. Divide evenly between the muffin liners and bake 15-20 minutes.

Food Blog Forum Orlando & A Sangria Recipe!

33

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Food Blog Forum Orlando

Hard to believe that just last weekend I was in lovely Florida teaching a hands-on photography workshop to a great bunch of bloggers or food enthusiasts. That Sunday was just the icing on the cake actually of an already darn good time in Orlando where I had come to speak at Food Blog Forum (FBF).

When Jaden asked if I wanted to be part of FBF Orlando for the photo sessions, I did not hesitate long. Jaden's energy, kindness and genuine interest in people know no boundaries. She's always been great of great counsel to me and I always feel relaxed and smiling after a few hours in her presence. After the intense rhythm of the past 6 months I needed to relax. Mapping out the next six months made me realize it was now or never to give myself a mandatory break.

Food Blog Forum Orlando
With Jaden and Julie.

I was thrilled to see Julie again and let me tell you, she deserves a long line of kuddos, and "thank yous" for organizing the event so successfully. Not only did she organize the main event on Saturday but she also helped put together an extra hands-on worshop on Sunday for people who wanted to practice more or could not make it to FBF the day before. Thank you Julie!

It does sound cliche but I was thrilled to see familiar faces as well as finally meet the people behind my weekly reads. I love this community. Food bloggers are the best! The generosity of the food community in Florida is awesome. It made me even more excited to be back that way later in the summer and I am looking forward to seeing those wonderful peeps again.

Food Blog Forum Orlando

The weekend kicked off with a little mixer/get together at Whole Foods where we were showered with attention, food and wine. Everything from small savory bites, chocolate mousse in chocolate cups to live cooking demos. Every one had the chance to mingle and introduce themselves as well as get all revved up for the next day's events.

Indeed, Saturday was packed. I love events such as these because there is always something to learn, something to contribute and something to walk away with whether you are a speaker or an attendee. It was like a grand big talk where everyone was at ease to speak, listen and as questions.

classroom_jdeily
Picture courtesy of Julie at The Little Kitchen.

It was a treat listening to Jaden and Scott, Jeff Houck from the Tampa Tribune, Heather McPherson from the Orlando Sentinel, Peter Scott from Izea, Lindsay Landis from Purrdesign and Dawn Viola from Wicked Good Dinner. Tons of topics were covered so that everyone could find something that pertained to where they were in their blogging journey. Branding, working with newspapers, working with brands, SEO, blog design, and photography and styling.

My presentation was broken in two parts with the first one covering basics of camera modes, natural and artificial light while the second part was a live composition and styling demo. I focused the demo on two items, one was a pretty and colorful mixed salad and the other a goopy brown scoop of sun dried tomato and white bean spread. I took the group through my thought process for composing my shot and styling the food just as if I were at home working blog or in the studio with a client.

Food Blog Forum Orlando

Here is a recap of the styling photo composition session. Bear in mind that these were just decisions I took on that specific occasion. I am in no way saying that these are the decisive steps to style salads or dips. Every time I style salads and spreads I find myself doing it in a myriad of other ways:
- The salad was to be composed of mixed greens, mixed bean salad, cucumber salad, grilled shrimp and grape tomatoes.
- I decided not to scatter the ingredients all over the salad because they would get lost and would make it hard for the viewer to tell what was what.
- Instead I created small clusters of each component and placed them on the outside so that the bulk of the greens would still be visible and indicate it was a salad indeed.
- I cut a couple of the tomatoes open to add visual interest with a different angle and cut.
- I did not have vinaigrette for the salad but if I'd had some, I would have waited until the last minute to use it on the salad to keep the greens as fresh as possible.
- there were only white plates or rustic yellow bowls available as props (I had brought linens and my styling kit).
- I picked the yellow bowl to play with the all the colors of the salad components and it complemented the linens and surface I was working on.
- kept a 3/4 camera point of view so that I could show the bowl in its entirety without any weird angle and without being too "in your face" which is not helpful when you are trying to see the bigger picture.
- I picked and a medium depth of field, not too shallow that you could not tell the ingredients apart and not too deep that they were all in focus. It helped hide the fact that the cucumber was a bit passed its prime too.

Food Blog Forum Orlando

The spread came from a standard grocery store plastic container which I decided not to keep for aesthetics reason and instead decided to show what one can do with a "goopey mess".
- Instead of plating a mound of spread, surrounded by bread slices and a few salad leaves for garnish, I decided to show a progression and use the spread in action so to speak.
- it allows one to play with shapes and angles and not be restricted by just one direction and composition.
- Spreads and dips are less difficult to style and more interesting to shoot if you make them do something.
- I placed a large spoonful of the spread on the side as to show my starting point
- I cut out some slices of bread and spread some of the dip on half the slices, leaving the remaining half without to show that there were still plenty to be used.
- I left the knife on the plate to reinforce this idea of movement from the starting scoop of dip to using the bread to eat it with, etc...
- I used a spring of thyme as it was part of the herbs listed in the ingredient list and it added a nice touch to the plate. I could have scattered more around but it was not really necessary with the view point I wanted to try for taking the shot.
- I went with a closer/tighter camera angle and viewpoint than the salad because there was no reason to show more of the spread/dip than necessary. It was not pretty in its natural state so it was best to focus on the best toast with dip on it.
- I chose a shallow depth of field to keep the background element of more spread and bread which were not that visually interested out of focus but still part of the plate.

Food Blog Forum Orlando
Picture courtesy of Christian Stella.

Beside picking out the ingredients to style, I did not think a whole lot about what I would do until it was time to do the demo. I wanted to keep things as spontaneous as possible and talk participants through issues or decisions as I was encountering them myself. It also showed them that there is no trick or scientific formulas behind all this. The magic one creates is nothing but a series of decisions and attempts. I also stressed out that this is what I went for that specific day but I could have gone many different ways on many different days depending on light, props, ingredients, time, mood and feel I wanted to portray. There is no wrong or right. Just do what feels sincere to you.

That was the focus of the Sunday workshop which took place independently from FBF. I pretty much let the group lose at Whole Foods (!) to pick a few items to style and we went more in details about camera modes and angles, natural light and how to use its different sources for different purpose, diffusing, bouncing, speedlight and studio light for those who have to shoot late at night. After that everyone styled and composed a shot and I went around giving tips and techniques they could also use.

Food Blog Forum Orlando
Adam and Joanne from Inspired Taste with Jaden. After the Sunday worshop, they surprised me by asking if I'd mentor them in photography. I said "of course!"...of course!

My goal was to give them as many tools as possible whether they decide to use one or ten. Knowledge is power. So is coming up with your own visual identity. I was thrilled to have 12 participants come up with 12 different ways to view their relationship with the camera. What a breath of fresh air! It was the best 4 hours spent before an airplane ride back to Charleston.

Thank you to all the people who attended FBF! If a Food Blog Forum comes close to you one day, hurry to be part of it. You won't regret it. You can read more opinions, recaps, thoughts and takeaways on the event at the bottom of the Food Blog Forum Orlando page, here.

Food Blog Forum Orlando

It's another packed Sunday here with friends as well as scheduling work and we are all in the kitchen making Sangria, one of the drinks served at the FBF Saturday reception held at McCormick & Schmick’s. I was so busy playing that I forgot to ask them for the recipe but I knew that my buddy Taylor had a scrumptious one on his blog. Head after the jump to read more about it.

Happy Sunday!

The winners of Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson are: Avery at Love Veggies and Yoga and Janna from Knitting Relaxes Me. Email me your mailing addresses at mytartelette [at] gmail [dot] com so I can pass them on to the publisher. Congrats!

Blood Orange & Blackberry Sangria,reprinted with permission of Taylor Mathis:

3 blood oranges
1 cup blackberries
1.5 liter of good red wine
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup Grand Marnier

Save one of the blood oranges for garnish. Squeeze the juices from the remaining oranges and combine with the blackberries, wine, honey, Grand Marnier into a large pitcher or punch bowl. Stir the mixture until everything is combined.
Chill the sangria over night. Right before serving, cut the blood orange into thin slices and add them to the pitcher or punch bowl. Serve cold.

Cooking My Way Through Super Natural Everyday By Heidi Swanson: Macaroon Tart and Shaved Fennel Salad & A Giveaway

686

Monday, April 11, 2011

Macaroon Tart
Macaroon Tart.

*******************GIVEAWAY ENDED APRIL 14TH************************************
Last night, as I was waiting for my flight in Orlando for my flight back home, all I could think about was the serving of Heidi's Macaroon Tart awaiting me back in Charleston.

Wild Blackberries

I have had a great time teaching at Food Blog Forum on Friday and I can't wait to share pictures and information of what was shared a little later next week. My head is still full and my heart is bursting at the seam. I knew it already, but let me say it again, Food Bloggers Rock! Thanks to Julie who helped plan the whole weekend, I was able to teach a photography and styling workshop today before my flight. Awesomeness again...

Wild Rice Casserole
Wild Rice Casserole.

Today, I really want to talk about Heidi Swanson's book Super Natural Everyday except everything I want to say never seems enough. Everytime I get a book for review, I make sure to devote a chunk of the week to cook from it. It helps see the thread use by the author to build the book. the stories, the photography. All the dishes I cooked this past week from her book led me down the same path: practical, satisfying, energizing, good and good for the soul.

Black Bean Salad
Black Bean Salad.

In one word. I can't wait to cook from it even more. The food is tasty, fresh and Heidi's personality and wonderful soul shows at every turn of the page. A beautiful soul with a wonderful message to share. Good food, made with wholesome ingredients does not have to come in gargantuan portions nor is it difficult or time consuming to make. The flavors in all of Heidi's dishes are a burst of everything that is good with eating and cooking in this world.

Tomatoes

And the photography...always loved how Heidi's lets her readers eat with their eyes first. Her photography is authentic and hers. Just as she is. Just as her food.

Millet Muffins & Strawberry Jam
Millet Muffins & homemade strawberry jam.

I emailed her publicist a few days ago and asked if I could hold a giveaway of a copy of Heidi's book for you guys. To my delight, I am happy to be able to share two copies with you guys! If you need a little enticing, check out the recipes for her Shaved Fennel Salad and Macaroon Tart after the jump!

Frittata & Millet Muffins
Millet Muffins and Frittata.


heidi cover

To enter the giveaway:
- leave a comment on this post starting today until Thursday April 14th midnight Eastern time.
- one comment per person
- no anonymous comment please
- two winners will be picked randomly by the hand of the wise, my husband
Note: it may take up to 24 hrs for your comment to appear on the page.

Pixie Tangerines

Heidi has this fabulous Buttermilk Cake recipe that she makes with plums but I used Pixie tangerines since they were in season.

Buttermilk Cake With Pixie Tangerines
Buttermilk Cake.

I had such a blast cooking, eating and photographing her recipes. I take immense pleasure at shooting other people's recipes and Heidi's was not exception. When it comes from the heart, the photography part becomes a source of intense joy. I hope the next few shots entice you to get her book and start cooking from her book soon.

Fennel, Zucchini, Dill & Arugula Salad
Shaved Fennel Salad.


Shaved Fennel Salad, with permission of Ten Speed Press:

Serves 4 to 6

1 medium large zucchini, sliced into paper thin coins
2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and shaved paper-thin
2/3 cup/.5oz/15g loosely chopped fresh dill
1/3 cup/80ml fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed
1/3 cup/80ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
fine grain sea salt
4 or 5 generous handfuls arugula
honey, if needed
1/2 cup/2 oz/ 60g pine nuts, toasted (I used walnuts)
1/3 cup/2 oz/ 60g/ feta cheese, crumbled

Combine the zucchini, fennel and dill in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon slat. Set aside and marinate for 20 minutes, or up to an hour.
When you are ready to serve the salad, put the arugula in a large bowl. Scoop all of the zucchini and fennel onto the arugula, and our most of the lemon juice dressing on top of that. Toss gently but thoroughly. Taste and adjust with more of the dressing, olive oil, lemon juice, or salt if needed. If the lemons were particularly tart, you may need to counter the pucker-factor by adding a tiny drizzle of honey into the salad at this point. Let your taste buds guide you. Serve topped with pine nuts and feta.

*******************************************************************************
Macaroon Tart, with permission of Ten Speed Press

Makes 24 bite size servings (I made 2 rectangular tarts with one recipe)

Crust:
1 1/2 cups/6oz/ 170g white whole wheat flour (I used 1 cup brown rice flour and 1/2 cup millet flour)
3/4 cup/ 2 0z/ 60g unsweetened finely shredded coconut
3/4 cup/ 3.75oz/ 106 g sifted and lightly packed natural cane sugar
Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
10 tablespoons/5oz/140g unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
2 cups/50z/140g unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/2 cup/2.5oz/70g sifted and lightly packed natural cane sugar
4 large egg whites
8 ounces/225g fresh blackberries, halved
1/3 cup/1.5oz/45g pistachios, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C with a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter an 8x11-inch tart pan (I used two 14x5 ones) and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
To make the crust, in a large bowl, combine the flour, coconut, sugar and salt. Stir in the melted butter and mix until dough is crumbly but no longer dusty looking. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan (it should form a solid, flat layer). Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the coconut macaroon filling by combining the coconut, sugar, and egg whites. Mix until well combined.
Evenly distribute the blackberries across the tart base. Now drop little dollops of the macaroon filling over the tops of them (dirty up your hands for this part), and mush and press the coconut topping around into the spaces behind the berries. Be sure to let at least some of the colorful berries pop through for visual flair.
bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the peaks of the macaroon filling are deeply golden brown. Let the tart cool, then garnish with the crusted pistachios before slicing into small squares.

Quinoa, Mixed Peppers and Avocado Cream Verrines

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Quinoa, Mixed Peppers and Avocado Cream Verrines

Living with food allergies sucks. Living with food intolerances also sucks. Don't ask me which one is less sucky. It all depends on the person and how they see the sun shine when they get up. I can only talk about personal experiences and of those around me.

Lauren at Celiac Teen for example is allergic to gluten. I am gluten intolerant. While she will get really strong physical reactions within hours, mine will build over days. Hers will manifest after one speck of gluten ingested by taking her digestive track for a spin, making her brain as cottony as the pillow she'll use to sleep it off. It will take several days of glutenized meals for me to get vertigo, tinnitus, aura fullness where I'll have to lie down and hope it stops soon so I can get back to work again.

Roasted Mixed Baby Peppers

Instant. Over days. Stomach. Ears. Brain fogged up. Lying down. It just sucks. And as far as I can tell, we're not wearing a line on our foreheads that reads "gluten can't pass these lips." We just deal with it. So when my friends, family or anyone coming to eat at my table says "I am allergic to this or that." I don't question. I accommodate.

I get terribly aggravated when I have to explain I am gluten intolerant and can't have "regular" flour and I can tell the first thought in some people's mind is "here's another low card fad freak." Ugh no. I can have carbs. I can have truckloads of carbs. I can swim in carbs if I wanted to. They just should not contain gluten. That kind of thoughtless reaction bugs the heck out of me. If I were to say "I am allergic to dairy" I'd probably get a sympathetic "Oh you poor thing!". How can they tell that I am not using that as an excuse to avoid calorie ladden ice creams sundaes (just an example. I love sundaes. There)

Quinoa, Mixed Peppers and Avocado Cream Verrines

Somehow, some people make these kinds of decisions in their mind about what is an ok allergy and what just looks like a fad. That's sad. And wrong. It can create a whole lot of discomfort for someone you don't know and who places a part of humanity upon you. Trust. I was raised by a father who used to say "if someone says they don't like this, don't ask them why. Don't put them on the spot and don't make them feel uncomfortable. Trust that they know what they need."

When Flo Makanai sent me a copy of her book "Les Intolerances Alimentaires", it took on a whole level of compassion with me. Flo's daughters have a lot of different food allergies they must deal with on a daily basis. And in France no less where allergy awareness is still in baby steps. Flo's book is the best thing that could happen to keep on educating people on food allergies and intolerances. I love my peeps but when I hear things "oh yes, the grilled veggies with camembert sandwich is dairy free." I just get very, very worried.

Making Guacamole

I truly feel for her young daughters going through trial and error of finding what they can and cannot eat. No to mention the reactions from others at times must be hard to bear for such young souls. I love how fierce a fighter Flo is for her daughters. I am not a mom but I know that's what mothers do. I know I would not let go until I'd see my daughter smile again.

Flo did it. She then wrote it all down in such a detailed and simple, precise and researched way that I can't recommend her book strongly enough to anyone who reads/speak French. I know, here I am recommending a book in another language that only some of you will be able to read. For those who can't read or understand French as well (or at all), I only hope I was able to transmit the notion that food allergies are real, and we should keep on getting educated about them. In whatever language you speak.

Homemade Goat's Milk Yogurt

When friends came over for dinner, one of them gave me a call the day before saying that he was bringing a guest who was allergic to cow's milk. Dairy was ok. Just not from a cow. No problem I was wasn't planning on serving any dairy....oh wait! Duh! I was. One of the dishes I wanted to do, (inspired by Flo's quinoa and green lentil dish, was a verrine of layered quinoa, roasted peppers and avocado cream and it did contain yogurt. Zut alors! (yikes!) That was by far the easiest allergen orientated change one could have to make. I used goat's milk yogurt instead.

I know some people who because they don't think these things are "real" would have said, "oh well, the recipe calls for just 1/4 cup. That's nothing! That can't possibly hurt her." Yes it can. It will. Changing a recipe to help someone enjoy the evening and the hours afterwards can be a learning curve but it can also lead to very tasty discoveries in the kitchen. It sure did for me in this recipe. The goat's milk yogurt gave more of a cheesy creamy bite than cow's milk yogurt did in previous occasions. I don't think I'll change the recipe again after this, actually!

Hope you enjoy this as a refreshing appetizer or light side dish. Everyone at our table was able to partake. That's what matters.

Quinoa, Mixed Peppers and Avocado Cream Verrines


Quinoa, Mixed Peppers and Avocado Cream Verrines:

Makes 6 to 8

For the quinoa:
1 cup raw quinoa
1.5 cups water
pinch of salt

For the mixed peppers:
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
or one 10 oz box of mixed baby peppers
olive oil
salt and pepper

For the avocado cream:
1/2 avocado
juice of half a lime
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 green onion, finely chopped (or 1 tablespoon red onion, chopped)
1/4 cup yogurt (your choice)

Prepare the quinos:
In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, water and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 15 to 20 minutes until the quinoa feels tender. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

For the mixed peppers:
preheat the oven to 400F. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle with a splash of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast until the peppers start to blister (20 minutes). Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds and set the peppers aside.

For the avocado cream:
In a large non reactive bowl, mash the avocado with the rest of the ingredients until smooth with the back of a fork or a potato masher.

Start layering the verrine with some a layer of peppers, a layer of avocado cream, a layer of quinoa, repeat once or twice depending on the size of your glasses and finish with some of the cream on top. Add a couple of blanched asparagus tips if desired for garnish.

Strawberry & White Chocolate Passion Fruit Soups With Mixed Berries Muffins

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Friday, April 01, 2011

Strawberry & White Chocolate Passion Fruit Soup

I'm usually all about the crunch. The giving crunch of toasted almonds on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream. The flaky crunch of a pie crust as it gives under your teeth only to reveal a soft and creamy interior. The soft crunch of a handful of walnut inside a piece of brownie. Give me crunch.

I'm the one you'll find grabbing a couple of carrots in the fridge as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. Best crunch ever. I hear people do that when stressed: crunch the stress away. It's indeed a physical translation of working through things. As long as I stick to carrots and not piles of cookies... But I need soft, creamy and smooth just as much as anyone else.

Strawberry & White Chocolate Passion Fruit Soup

When it seems like the tempest is over and things have actually been dealt with, I am, on the other hand, the first one to reach for something soothing, soft and creamy. A sudden sigh of comfort and peace of mind. Some thick yogurt topped with a spoonful of honey. And more recently a mix of tart strawberry and white chocolate passion fruit soups drizzled on perfectly ripe and soft local strawberries.

I am not expecting much of my strawberry plant beside pretty flowers. It's not me but the crazy hungry rabbit hanging out by the house. He'd better not go for my radishes...I just planted those! However strawberry season is in full swing here at the farms! After picking a few baskets the other day I know I'll be returning to grab an insane amount for strawberry jam making.

Gluten Free Mixed Berries Muffins

This dessert is directly inspired from one found months ago in Elle A Table researching recipes including white chocolate. I like it because it is a bit of an odd ball in the dessert category. Is it to slurp on, drizzle with, mix together, eat separately? Do you pour it on ice cream, tarts? Do you dunk a cookie in it? Or two?

I loved the flavor combination of both. The lemony strawberry soup was the perfect counterpart to the sweet white chocolate soup using coconut milk and passion fruit. I ate the strawberry soup mixing little spoonfuls of the white chocolate one in it. Perfect like this. I also drizzled the white chocolate soup over some freshly cut and super ripe strawberries. Simple and comforting.

Strawberry & White Chocolate Passion Fruit Soup

To round things up though, I made a batch of gluten free coconut and strawberry muffins and another one with blueberries only. Saucing the bottom of the soup glasses with a half muffin? Just about toe curling worthy. The combination of the three worked wonders for my peace of mind, ahaha!

It reminded me of a couple of fruit soup recipes I had made in the past and enjoyed very much then. A strawberry soup with apricot tea cakes and a watermelon soup with thin slices of toasted blueberry pound cake.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Strawberry & White Chocolate Passion Fruit Soup


Strawberry and White Chocolate Passion Fruit Soups with Mixed Berry Muffins:

Serves 8-10

For the white chocolate soup:
12 oz white chocolate
1 cup passion fruit juice
one 14-oz can coconut milk (full fat)

Place the white chocolate in a non reactive bowl and set aside. In a large saucepan set over medium high heat, bring the passion fruit juice and coconut milk to a strong simmer. Pour on top of the white chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk the mixture together until smooth and creamy. Divide among ramekins, glasses, jars, etc...Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

For the strawberry soup:
1 pound of strawberries (if you are in France use mara des bois)
zest and juice of one lemon
dash of vanilla extract

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Divide among ramekins, glasses, etc... Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the mixed berries muffins:
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup yogurt
3/4 cup olive oil
zest and juice of a lemon
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup berries of your choice (whole raspberries or blueberries, cut strawberries, blackberries, etc...)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the inside of muffin tins with paper muffin cups and grease those with melted butter or cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and the eggs until pale. Add the yogurt, olive oil, lemon zest and juice and whisk until blended. Add the flours, baking powder and salt and mix until the batter is smooth. Don't worry too much about some lumps. Fold in the berries with a spatula carefully. Divide among the muffin tins and bake about 25-30 minutes until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Serve both soups together with more berries and a few muffins.

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