Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Natural Foods’ Category

Choclate Hazlenut Honey Pavlova © Dina Avila

All photos © Dina Avila 2014

I decided that since it’s been MONTHS since I posted a recipe here on Leek Soup that I would make up for lost time and make something epic for you. And by epic I mean a visually stunning dessert that has the potential for an epic fail. Who doesn’t like a challenge in the kitchen? It’s been snowing for three days here in Portland and today we are in the middle of an ice storm. Perfect weather for attempting a stacked pavlova. It’s really not a difficult dessert to make, but SO many things can go wrong. For example, fishing out an egg shell from the egg whites with your oily fingers? Bad. Any amount of residual oil or butter clinging to the side of the mixing bowl? Recipe for disaster. A high humidity day? Forget about it. No really, don’t do it. But freezing temperatures outside and cozy warmth in? Perfection.

I’ve been doing mostly editorial and restaurant work for the past few months or so and this is first food shoot I’ve done in our new home. Our old apartment was directly across a narrow alley from a warehouse that was painted a putrid shade of pale peach. That color would bounce into our kitchen around mid-day giving me approximately 4 hours of good daylight to shoot with. Even in cloudy weather. I now have multiple windows to shoot near (no ugly warehouse anywhere in sight), plus a basement that is slowly being transformed into a studio (and hopefully darkroom at some point). I expect this new arrangement will afford me some creative flexibility that the old place didn’t and I’m excited to see what lays ahead. I hope you are, too :)

Cheers

Chocolate Hazelnut Pavlova Drizzled with Honey

The recipe is simple enough, but give yourself enough time to make it. At least 3 hours from start to finish.
Feel free to use whipped cream or marscapone instead of crème fraîche.

 

Ingredients:

For the meringue:

9 egg whites

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons dutch cocoa powder

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar, plus more for cleaning

For the topping:

3-4 cups crème fraîche, whipped until fluffy

1 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Dark chocolate, grated

Honey for drizzling

Instructions:

Warm your oven to 375

Line the bottom of two baking sheets with parchment paper and, using an inverted 8 inch bowl draw three circles.

Wipe down your beaters, bowl and large spoon with white vinegar to remove any potential grease. Do not skip this step as oil, even from your hands, is the arch-enemy of meringue.

Beat your egg whites at medium speed until frothy.

Increase the speed to medium-high and add the powdered sugar, one large spoonful at a time.

Add the brown sugar one large spoonful at a time.

Continue to beat the eggs until stiff peaks form. About 10 minutes.

Beat in the vinegar for a few seconds.

Sift the cocoa powder over the egg whites and using your large spoon, fold in. No need for it to be completely blended. Streaks are fine.

Spoon the meringue into the your parchment circles and use an offset spatula to spread evenly.

Bake for 5 minutes at 375 and then lower the temperature to 250 for an hour and a half. Until the meringues are dry to the touch.

If you’re using both oven racks, rotate the meringues half way through the baking time.

Remove the meringues from the oven and let cool completely on wire racks.

To assemble the meringues, spread whipped crème fraîche on top of each layer, sprinkle with grated chocolate and chopped hazelnuts. Drizzle with honey and gently stack the layers.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Spiced Cauliflower Soup © Dina Avila

© Dina Avila 2013

I picked up a copy of Donna Hay’s Winter Issue a few weeks looking for inspiration, and boy did I find it. Simple soup recipe after simple soup recipe. As the temperature dips here in Portland, I suspect you’ll see a line of soups and stews on the blog in the coming months inspired by this gorgeous magazine from Oz.

This cream-based soup is a breeze to throw together. I, of course, took some liberties, adding a bulb of fresh fennel to the pot, beefing up the spice ratio and I substituted hemp milk for the cream. My tummy just doesn’t like warmed milk. Feel free to use cream instead.

Cheers!

Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Inspired by Donna Hay Magazine

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 leek, trimmed and sliced

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1-1 1/4 lb head cauliflower, chopped. Reserve a couple of handfuls for topping the soup.

1/2 pound Yukon Gold, or other, potatoes

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 cup hemp milk

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Spiced Cauliflower:

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove of garlic, chopped

Reserved cauliflower

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

In medium saucepan or soup pot, warm the olive oil and butter over medium heat.

Add the leeks and fennel and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes until softened and golden.

Stir in the garlic, cauliflower and potato and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Pour in the stock, hemp milk, three generous pinches of sea salt and a several turns of black pepper.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes with the lid on stirring occasionally.

Use either a blender or an immersion blender to purée soup until creamy.

Spiced Cauliflower

Warm butter and oil in a small skillet.

Add the garlic, cauliflower, cumin, coriander and a pinch or two of salt.

Saute for about 10 minutes over medium heat until the cauliflower is golden and being to crisp.

Sprinkle the spiced cauliflower over the soup.

Serve soup warm with a rustic, crusty bread.

Read Full Post »

Rosemary Plum Tart © Dina Avila

© Dina Avila 2013

Take one look at this tart and you can see that I’m craving fall. Dark, warm colors, hints of rosemary. We’ve been having an endless summer here in Portland, and while the city is alive with folks geeked out to the gills in vitamin D giddiness, I’m ready for cooler weather. Long sleeves, the smell of damp earth and bowls of warm, root-laden soup.

A couple of weeks ago a colleague and fellow food photographer about town, David Reamer, sent me an email inviting me to collaborate on a side project he has called Catching the Ox. Basically, we pick a subject somehow related to food, ours being stone fruit, and shoot it as we see fit.  Enter this tart. It is incredibly easy to make and will absolutely knock your socks off. I took it to a BBQ and had strangers stop me in the kitchen praising this tart. This is the tart that impresses your friends and makes you new ones. No kidding. I’m almost considering not sharing the recipe with you and keeping it as my secret tart recipe.

I kid :)

Rosemary Plum Tart

Adapted from Epicurious

The two changes I made in this recipe was the addition of fresh rosemary,
and a generous hand with the lemon juice and zest.
Oh, and I halved the recipe and used black plums instead of Italian.

Ingredients:

For the pastry dough:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut in to chunks and placed in the freezer

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Zest from one lemon

2 egg yolks

For the filling:

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

2 lbs black plums halved, pitted and sliced

Juice from one lemon

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

Instructions:

For the dough:

Combine all of the dough ingredients, except for the yolks, in your food processor and pulse until the mix becomes a coarse meal. Pulse in the egg yolks and process until the dough begins to clump into a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and cut into two portions.

Using the heel of your hand , smear each portion forward to distribute the fat.

Bring the two portions together in to a ball.

Depending on the type of tart pan you’re using, line a tart pan with parchment paper up the sides with corners sticking out (see photo), butter and lightly flour it.

Using lightly floured fingers, press the ball of dough into the tart pan and spread evenly on the bottom and up the sides. You want it to be about 1/4 inch thick and go up the sides of the pan about 1/8 of an inch.

Place the tart in the fridge and chill for about 30 minutes.

For the filling:

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch.

Gently stir in the plums, lemon juice and fresh rosemary.

Set aside, for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Warm your oven to 425.

Place the plum halves, skin side down, in the tart pan in circular rosette pattern.

Tuck in any remaining plum bits into any gaps you see.

Pour the juice from the bowl evenly over the plums.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375, cover the tart loosely with foil and bake for another 40 minutes until the juices are gently bubbling and the plums are tender when poked with a knife.

Brush the juices over the plums and cool the tart completely on a rack before removing from the pan. If you used parchment paper, you can just pull up on the corners of the paper (gently!) that are sticking out of the pan.

Serve at room temp with an optional dollop of creme fraiche.

Read Full Post »

Blueberry Hazelnut Clafoutis © Dina Avila

Blueberry Hazelnut Clafoutis © Dina Avila

All images © Dina Avila 2013

It’s the middle of summer and that means blueberries! I had every intention of making this recipe by the book, but when I saw blueberries at the market, I just couldn’t resist. This is a riff on David Tanis’ Cherry Almond Clafoutis out of his gorgeous book, A Platter of Figs. I was drawn to this recipe for its aesthetic. The visual (and beautiful photograph in the book) of succulent, bright red cherries peeking out from an eggy custard felt like summer to me. As you can see, it’s just as summery with blueberries, if not a little messy and rustic in my version :)

You’ll find this recipe to be breezy. Whip it together whenever you find yourself with an abundance of fruit any time of year. I’m already looking forward to an autumnal/winter clafoutis with apples or pears…or pomegrantes!

I hope you all are having a lovely summer and are staying cool! My first issue with Elle a Table Japan will be published next month and I cannot wait to share those images with you!

Cheers!

Blueberry Hazelnut Clafoutis

Adapted from A Platter of Figs by David Tanis

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter

Flour for dusting

2 pounds fresh blueberries

1/2 cup blanched hazelnuts

6 large eggs

2 cups brown sugar, packed

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Powdered sugar

Method:

Warm your oven to 375.

Butter and flour your crocks or a large 10-12 inch cast iron skillet.

Place the blueberries at the bottom of the pan. They don’t need to be in a single layer.

Scatter the hazelnuts over the blueberries.

With a whisk or hand beater, beat the eggs, brown sugar and flour until smooth.

Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract.

Pour the batter over the fruit – it will be runny.

Bake for about 40 minutes until the custard is firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. If you use a deeper dish, like the crocks, then you’ll need to bake for a hair longer. I extended the baking at 5 minute intervals until the toothpick came out clean.

Cool to room temperature, dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Read Full Post »

Morels with Asparagus © Dina Avila (1 of 2)

Morels with Asparagus © Dina Avila (2 of 2)

All photos © Dina Avila

Happy Sunday, all! A wee bit busy today, so photos for now, and recipe to follow tomorrow.

Cheers!

Read Full Post »

Red Velvet Cupcakes © Dina Avila

All images © Dina Avila 2013

DinaFlourish (1)22

Hello! Hope you all well, happy and fed!

I thought I’d bring back an oldie but goodie for this week’s (this month’s!) post. I made a version of these beety cupcakes for my birthday last year but never got around to writing up the recipe for you. I decided to remake them but with a bit of a twist. If you weren’t around last November then you’ll be surprised to find that these cupcakes are 100% natural. Yep, nuthin’ artificial about them. Would you expect anything else on LS? The cupcakes are made with a juicy beet purée and the buttercream frosting is tinted with a bit of the beet juice that pools at the bottom of the foil when cooking the beets – that’s the twist. Brilliant, no? I lifted the recipe from Sunset magazine who I believe found inspiration from Diane Morgan’s Roots Cookbook.

I have a chock-a-block schedule of back-to-back shoots this month (hurray!) so it may be quiet on LS. I hope these crazy pink cupcakes will hold you over for a bit. Feel free to follow my adventures on Facebook or Instagram.

Cheers!

spoonhome

Beety Red Velvet Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

1 lb red beets, scrubbed

2 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup sugar

3 eggs, beaten

2/3 cup olive oil

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Buttercream:

1 cup, 2 sticks butter, room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon oil

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

Wrap your beets in foil and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 oven for about an hour and half. Until beets are tender when pierced.

Remove the beets from the foil and carefully pour any juice that has pooled into the bottom in to a glass.

Let beets cool completely then use paper towels to rub off the skins.

Trim off the ends, cut beets into chunks and purée in your food processor until smooth.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together beets, sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.

Stir the flour mix into the beets a third at a time until well blended.

Spoon batter into muffin cups and fill to the top.

Bake the muffins at 350 for about 30 minutes. Until a toothpick comes out clean.

Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before topping with frosting.

For the buttercream:

Beat butter at high-speed until creamy and smooth.

Add powdered sugar, lemon oil and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fluffy.

Slowly drizzle the reserved beet juice until desired color is achieved.

Spread a thick layer of buttercream on your cupcakes and enjoy!

Read Full Post »

Pot Roast ©dinaavila

©dinaavila (1 of 2)

Chocolate Tart © Dina Avila

All images © Dina Avila 2013

DinaFlourish (1)22

One of the (not always) fun things about the building we live in is that there’s a table near the mailboxes where folks leave stuff they don’t want anymore. Not really an offering to their neighbors, but more of a “I don’t feel like schlepping this stuff to the Goodwill 3 blocks away”. Sometimes it’s great. Most of the time is crap that someone will undoubtably take. I recently spied a copy of The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland and quickly swooped it up. Not to be confused with The Newlywed’s Kitchen by Lorna Yee. Because that is exactly what I did when I picked it up. I’m not sure how Sarah’s book compares with Lorna’s, but finding it for free was a score. The pages are peppered with personal stories and simplish meals for two. As I was flipping the pages later that evening, two recipes jumped out at me. I’ve been craving beef stew lately, despite the warm weather we were having, and thought her pot roast would be a great alternative and a way to welcome back fall. Read: Cold and wet outside. It’s a time-consuming recipe but worth it. The key with the roast is to let it come to room temperature before seasoning it. Then letting it rest for another half hour before cooking. Genius.

Oh, and the other recipe that caught my eye is a chocolate tart with smoked sea salt. Nuf said :)

Cheers!

PS I’m back on Instagram, after a long absence, and have been posting my adventures in the kitchen and elsewhere. Some of those photos may end up on LS, but…if you’re curious and would like to follow me: http://instagram.com/dinaravila :)

spoonhome

Three Hour Pot Roast with Basil Mint Sauce

Adapted from The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland

Ingredients:

1 – 3 lb chuck roast

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

3-4 shallots, peeled and halved or quartered depending on size

Splash of apple cider vinegar

3-4 cups of water

One bunch parsley stems

2 bay leaves

1 bunch of carrots, cut into chunks

1 fennel bulb, trimmed, sliced and cut into chunks

About 15 small red potatoes, halve or quarter the larger ones

Pinch of crushed celery seeds

Instructions:

Unwrap the meat and leave it on the counter for about an hour to come to room temp.

Season the meat with generous amounts of salt and pepper on all sides and let rest for another 30 minutes.

Warm your oven to 325.

Warm the oil in your largest Dutch oven or other oven proof pot over medium-high heat.

Brown meat on all sides until a dark brown crust forms. About 15 minutes.

Add the onions and brown.

Add  the apple cider vinegar and use a spatula to scrap the brown bits off the bottom of the pot.

Turn off the heat and add the water until it comes half way up the meat.

Using kitchen twine, tie the parsley stems and bay leaves together. Tuck in to the side of the pot.

Cover the pot and place in the oven for an hour.

After an hour stir in the carrots, fennel and potatoes and dust the veggies with the crushed celery seeds.

Cover and cook for another hour and a half.

Remove the pot from the oven and place meat on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Pour the gravy into a bowl and serve alongside the basil mint sauce with the meat and veggies.

Basil Mint Sauce:

Ingredients:

Half a bunch of basil, finely chopped

Half a bunch of mint, finely chopped

About a cup of olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Juice from half a lemon

Pinch of sugar

Pinch of salt

Instructions

Place all of the ingredients in a mason jar. Tighten the lid and give a it a good shake.

spoonhome

Chocolate Tart with Smoked Sea Salt

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1/2 cup, 1 stick, butter, melted

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

For the Filling:

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch of sea salt

7 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate.

1 egg, beaten

Smoked Sea Salt

Creme Fraiche

Instructions:

Warm your oven to 350

Whisk together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl.

Add the flour and stir until well combined.

Butter a 9″ springform pan, or tart pan if you’ve got one, and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Press the dough evenly into the pan ensuring the crust comes up the side at least an inch.

Using a fork, prick the crust all over and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Place the chilled crust in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.

For the filling:

Bring the cream, milk, sugar and salt to a simmer over low heat.

Remove from heat and add chocolate. Do not stir. Let sit for about 2 minutes.

Whisk the chocolate until it’s melted and creamy. Whisk in the beaten egg.

Pour the chocolate into the hot crust and bake at 300 for about 15 minutes until the chocolate is set.

Let the tart cool on a rack completely. Just before the tart is cooled dust with the sea salt.

Serve the tart with creme fraiche.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: