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Archive for March, 2013

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I’m bored with every single one of my cookbooks. It’s not that I’ve cooked every single recipe, but each book has its own vibe and well, as much as love them…I’ve found myself restless and in need of fresh blood. In lieu of heading over to the bookstore (which will happen very soon), I found myself cruising the Food 52 website for inspiration and boy did I find it. Lemony, springy goodness in two very simple and delightful recipes. The first, is a quinoa recipe that I tweaked ever so slightly by replacing the basil with fragrant handfuls of mint. This dish will brighten your mood and likely your day. The second recipe is my first attempt at macaroons. I admit, I was a wee bit nervous having never made macaroons before, I’ve always imagined  the cookies to be complicated with lists and lists of steps. Not so…at least not with these cookies. So simple and so good. Airy and crisp with hints of lemon and thyme, you could easily eat the whole batch in one sitting.

Would love to hear what books you’re cooking out of these days!

Cheers!

spoonhome

Lemony Quinoa with Mint

Adapted from Food 52

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, dry

2 cups water, cold

1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup Fresh mint, finely chopped

1/4 cup shelled hemp seeds

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

1 grind of black pepper

~

Rinse the quinoa in cold water and strain.

Place quinoa in a pot with the 2 cups of water bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer and place lid partially askew.

Cook quinoa for 15 minutes, remove from heat and let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes.

If you’re using frozen peas simmer them in water for a few minutes until thawed and plump.

Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, honey salt and pepper together.

Place the quinoa in a large bowl and stir the peas, mint, hemp seeds and dressing.

Serve warm or cool.

©dinaavila (1 of 1)

Lemon Thyme Almond Macaroons

Adapted from Food 52

The original recipe suggests a light hand with the lemon and orange zest, but I think
the cookies would be fabulous with a more intense lemon flavor.

Ingredients:

2 egg whites

2/3 cup sugar

1 large pinch of sea salt

2/3 cup almond meal, freshly ground or store-bought

1 teaspoon, total, lemon and orange zest

t teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

~

If you have thick cookie sheets you can skip this step. Stack cookie sheets (for insulation) and line the top sheet with parchment paper.

Using a mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Beat in the salt.

Beat in sugar until whites are shiny and stiff.

Fold in the almond meal, lemon and orange zest and fresh thyme leaves.

Spoon about a teaspoon of the batter onto the parchment leaving about 2 inches between cookies.

Warm your oven to 350.

Let the cookies rest on cookie sheet for about 30 minutes.

Place cookies in oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Turn oven off and keep cookies in oven for another 10 minutes.

Remove the cookies for the oven and let cool on cookie sheet.

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©dinaavila (2 of 2)

DinaFlourish (1)22

Well, it’s St. Paddy’s Day and I don’t have anything remotely related to today’s celebrations to offer you. Instead? I have beet soup. Yup, not even close. Let’s call this morning’s post a spicy and sweet, vibrantly pink welcome to spring. Who, by the way, has been showing her beautiful face all over Portland much to city’s pleasure. Warm-ish days, crocus sprouting everywhere, the streets are lined with white and pink blossoms. I swear we are positively giddy with our weather. What better way to celebrate than with a bowl of hot pink soup?

This recipe is lifted directly from the pages of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Everyday. Minimally shifted for what I had (or didn’t) have on hand, the soul of this recipe is all Hugh’s and you will love it. It’s a free-flowing recipe with lots of dashes of this and pinches of that, so I suggest using a light hand with the spices until you find your preferred level of warmth.

Cheers!

If you happen to be looking for something St. Patrick’s Day related, feel free to click here for my lamb stew and Irish soda bread recipes.

spoonhome

Spiced Beet Soup

I imagine this soup would be lovely chilled. Do experiment!

Ingredients:

1/2 pound beets, peeled and cut into chunks

A pat of butter

One tablespoon olive oil

1-2 shallots, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

2-3 cups chicken stock or water

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Torn parsley leaves

For the yogurt:

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

Pinch of caraway seeds

Dash of paprika

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Coarse sea salt

2 tablespoons greek yogurt

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Fennel pollen, optional

~

For the soup:

Warm the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft. About 5 minutes.

Stir in the beets, add the stock and a pinch of sea salt and let simmer for about 40 minutes. Until the beets are tender.

Pour the beets into a blender and purée until smooth. Add more stock or water if the soup is too thick.

For the yogurt:

Warm a dry skillet over medium heat and add te cumin and caraway seeds.

Toast lightly for a few minutes then transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush.

Add the paprika, cayenne and coarse sea salt and blend together.

Stir about half of the spice mix and olive oil to the yogurt.

Save the rest of the spice mix for a later use, or for folks who would like to add mor spice to their dish.

Spoon dollops of yogurt to the beet soup and sprinkle with torn parsley leaves.

Dust with fennel pollen and serve warm or at room temp.

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©dinaavila (1 of 1)-4

DinaFlourish (1)22

Boy, did this daylight savings throw me off. A touch of insomnia and, I’m embarrassed to admit, an oven left on all night led to a restless (and very warm) sleep and more than a little sleep-in. I won’t tell you what time we woke up this morning, but suffice to say, I feel rested as a result. I wish we could put this daylight savings thing to a vote because I am sure most of the country would want to turn it off for good. On the plus side, a late morning blog shoot brings you this incredible bread pudding.

After scouring the internet for a bread pudding recipe that didn’t involve seemingly pounds of sugar, I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks, Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce. I’m not sure why I didn’t turn to her book first. I mean, as we know, I always do. Alas, lesson learned and I present you with a bread pudding that Adam and I nibbled on in the wee hours of the night last night. Technically midnight…but for all intents and purposes 1AM. Way past my bedtime….but it was worth it :)

Cheers!

spoonhome

Orange and Rye Bread Pudding

Inspired by Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

I forgot to pick up whole milk, which the recipe calls for, so I used a
rice/quinoa milk I had on hand. It worked great, but
I’ve listed the whole milk as I think it would have lended a richer custard.

Ingredients:

One loaf day-old rye bread, cubed into one pieces

5 eggs

3 cups whole milk

1/4 cups buttermilk or heavy cream

Zest and juice from two oranges

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 dried cherries

2 tablespoons cold Irish butter, cubed

~

Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and place in oven.

Turn oven to 350 and let the cubes gently toast until mostly toasted. About 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and buttermilk until well combined. Strain into a large bowl.

Stir the orange juice and zest, sugar, nutmeg, sea salt, cherries and 1 tablespoon of the butter into the custard.

Stir the cooled bread into the custard and let soak for about 10 minutes.

Butter a dutch oven or a 10 inch baking dish that’s fairly deep and pour the bread and custard into it.

Dot the second tablespoon of cold butter on top of the pudding.

Place the dutch oven into the oven and bake at 350 for an hour and a half.

Check on it at an hour and if it looks like the bread is starting to burn a little, place a sheet of foil on top of it for the final half hour.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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©dinaavila (1 of 2)

You don’t have to twist my arm when it comes to magazine assignments, but ask me to visit three of the best salami producers in the state, and I will say yes before you’ve finished asking. 1859 Magazine sent me to Fino in Fondo in adorable McMinnville, Chop and Olympic Provisions here in Portland for their Farm to Table section in the March issue and I’d thought I’d share the tear sheets from what was three incredibly fun shoots.

You may have noticed a couple of changes around here. First, Leek Soup’s url is now http://www.leeksoupblog.com. No need to worry as the former wordpress.com address will still get you here, but I thought you’d like to know. Also, you may have noticed an ad at the end of my blog post. I do hope it doesn’t bother you, but if it does, please let me know. Monetizing our blogs is one way us food bloggers pay the bills, but if you find it obnoxious or distracting, I will definitely reconsider.

I PROMISE a recipe post coming soon. I already have an idea of what I’d like to make for you..and it’s delicious…just need to make the time to do it!

Cheers and xo!

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DinaFlourish (1)22

One of these days I’ll cook and share a recipe for you (I promise!), but for now I thought I’d share some recent work I did for Portland’s very own Mix Magazine‘s March issue. It was my first time shooting for Mix and there were four of us working in my tiny kitchen studio, including the editor, the great Danielle Centoni, who cheerfully slaved away over steaming pots of pasta at my stove. It was a friggin’ blast. It was a delicious shoot (much nibbling on fresh pasta) that extended to my having the honor of photographing all of the chefs (who contributed the recipes) in their native environments. As we know, I absolutely love shooting portraits and the five chefs I photographed did not disappoint.

To hold you over, recipe-wise, here is the link to the online version of the Comfort Foods article complete with recipes for your cooking pleasure.

Cheers!

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