Archive for April, 2013

Farro Risotto with Fava Beans ©dinaavila

Lemon Souffle ©dinaavila

All images © Dina Avila 2013

DinaFlourish (1)22

Just a quick couple of recipes for you today taking advantage of the abundance of spring veggies we have in the markets this season. The risotto, although time-consuming, will knock your socks off. Feel free to make it with traditional arborio rice. Especially if you want a dish that’s lighter for warmer weather. I was more in the mood for a healthy, stick to your gut kind of a dish and this risotto surely delivers. We were full after half a bowl. One thing I forgot to pick up for this dish was creme fraiche. If you plan on making this recipe then I suggest picking some up and adding either a couple of spoonfuls at the end of cooking, or a dollop with each bowl. Save some for the souffles, too, as I think it would be an excellent addition to the dessert….and a great way to mask the fact that the souffles have sunken :)



Spring Farro Risotto

Inspired from Bon Appetit


2 cups shelled fresh fava beans

8-10 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1/4 pound crimini mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large leeks, white and pale green parts, halved, rinsed well and sliced

1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 cups farro, rinsed and soaked in cool water for a minimum of 30 minutes

1 cup dry white wine

2 large handfuls arugula, torn

1 1/2 cups grated pecorino romano, plus more for shaving

1/4 chopped chives, plus more for serving

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and add shelled fava beans.

Let cook for 1-2 minutes, drain and place beans in an ice bath until cool.

Place cooled beans in a small bowl and set aside.

Pour chicken broth into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat to low and cover to keep warm.

Melt 1 tablespoon of your butter in a large dutch oven or other heavy pot.

Add mushrooms a cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until tender.

Spoon cooked mushrooms into the bowl with the fava beans.

Warm oil and remaining tablespoon of butter in same pot and add leeks, fennel and garlic.

Stir frequently for about 4 minutes until the veggies soften.

Add the drained farro and stir to coat for about 2 minutes.

Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated. About 4 minutes.

Add 1 cup of the broth and cook stirring frequently until the broth is almost absorbed.

Add remaining broth, one cup at a time allowing the broth to be absorbed before adding more.

Cook in this manner for about 50 minutes, until all broth is absorbed and the farro is tender yet chewy.

Add more or less broth as needed.

Stir in arugula, pecorino, chives, favas and mushrooms and let cook, stirring, until arugula is wilted and the cheese is melted. About 2 minutes.

Spoon risotto into warmed bowls, sprinkle with chopped chives and shavings of pecorino.


Sunken Lemon Souffles

Adapted from Food 52


2 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

1 cup sugar

4 tablespoons whole wheat flour

Zest and juice from one lemon

1 1/2 cups hemp milk

3 eggs, separated

Pinch of sea salt


Warm your oven to 350

In a large bowl bring the sugar and flour and salt together and with the butter and press with your fingers until crumbly.

Stir in the lemon juice and zest.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks.

Stir the milk into the yolks and fold into the flour mixture.

In a smaller bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into the batter.

Ladle the batter into ramekins or jam jars.

Add hot water to a pan about 1-2 inches deep.

Place jars and ramekins into the pan and place in the warmed oven.

Cook for about 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking, until the tops of the souffles are golden brown.


Read Full Post »


All images © Dina Avila

DinaFlourish (1)22

Remember how I was complaining about being bored with all of my cookbooks? Well, ask and you shall receive. My dear friend, Ryan, was in the midst of clearing off his bookshelves when he read my post, and short story short, after a visit with him I walked home with a stack of books knee-deep.

One of those books is Les Halles by Anthony Bourdain. You may hate him, many do, but I love him. I have been following his adventures since Kitchen Confidential and I believe No Reservations is partly to be thanked for my adventurous appetite. I used to be a picky, and I mean picky eater. I wouldn’t eat orange cheese when I was a kid because it was too strange. I didn’t eat ketchup for the first time until I was in my twenties. I ate mayonnaise on rice (a Hawaii thing) and my hamburgers had to be plain and dry. Up until my early thirties I would get plain beans and rice and flour tortillas at Mexican restaurants. Always. Then I started watching No Reservations and the clenched, slightly alarmed and nauseated stomach eventually shifted to intrigue and curiosity. I noticed I became hungry when I watched his show and my tongue would spontaneously salivate. Then I moved to Portland where I photographed a chef breaking down a whole pig whose face he later served me confited and served on tortillas and I ate them with relish. Sweetbreads? Yes, please. Oxtail soup? OK! Funny how people change.

There are still things I won’t eat. Sour cream being one of them. Cream cheese? Don’t see the point. Bell peppers, well, I’m actually allergic to those, but as the above chef once told me, there are classier peppers to cook with. I still tend to eat simply when cooking at home. In our daily lives we live off of soups, stews, roasted chicken, and when we’re feeling especially lazy a simple meal of spaghetti and olive oil. But if I’m out and you put a bone marrow luge in front of me? You better believe I’ll be scraping out ever last bit of bone marrow buttery goodness.



Leeks Vinaigrette with Sauce Gribiche

Adapted from Les Halles, by Anthony Bourdain

This dish is not the most adventurous recipe out of the pages of Les Halles, but it’s simple and brilliant.
I wanted a veggie dish to serve with roasted chicken and this leeks vinaigrette was just the ticket.
The sauce gribiche is bright and tangy and a breeze to make.


6 leeks


Sauce Gribiche:

1 hard-boiled egg, finely chopped

4 cornichons, finely chopped

1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped

1 parsley sprig, finely chopped

About 4 tablespoons olive oil

About 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Sea salt and pepper


Trim your leeks cutting off the green bits and the roots.

Slice lengthwise cutting almost all the way through the leek and stopping at the base. You want a little boat.

Soak the leeks in cold water briefly to get all of the sand and dirt out. Rinse, soak again, rinse and drain well.

Bring generously salted water to boil.

Drain the washed leeks and tie them together with kitchen twine.

Place the leeks in the boiling water and let cook for about 12 minutes, until tender.

Have a bowl of ice water ready.

Using tongs, gently place the cooked leeks in the ice water to stop them from continuing to cook.

While the leeks cool, prepare your sauce gribiche.

Stir all of the ingredients except for the oil and vinegar together in a small bowl.

Slowly fold in the oil and vinegar.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove twine and place your cooled leeks on a serving platter gently opening up them up at their slits.

Generously spoon in the sauce gribiche and serve immediately.

Read Full Post »

©dinaavila Mix Magazine

©dinaavila Mix Magazine

©dinaavila Mix Magazine

©dinaavila (1 of 1)

All images © Dina Avila 2013

Recipe post coming soon, but I thought I’d share a few tear sheets (including my second cover!) from my most recent shoot with Mix Magazine. And, yes, those tarts were as good as they look!

The recipes can be found here: Mix Magazine April Issue

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: