September 28, 2012

tomato pincushion


I finally broke out the sewing machine after a whole summer!  And with a little help (ok, alot of help) from my Mom (thanks Mom!), I made a tomato pincushion.

You can check out Martha Stewart for step by step instructions and different tomato varieties.  I made the heirloom tomato variety.

I started with a piece of fabric that I cut into a circle.  The technique to get it into a ball-ish shape is to do a staight stitch and then gather the stitch up so that it bunches up the fabric.


Then I added the stuffing and gathered up the stitch even more.


After gathering it up all the way, we punched in the "stem" back into the tomato.


I cut pieces of ribbon to make the tomato leaves.


And sewed them on...


Et voila!





September 24, 2012

paleo bread


I love to bake.  My husband likes baked goods, but doesn't want to eat too many grains because he likes the caveman lifestyle - the paleo diet.  What to do?

Well, I've tried baking more paleo/no grain stuff recently.  Like these coconut flour pancakes and donughts.  And this almond butter bread.



It's inspired from this recipe, but I substituted the cashew butter for almond butter because I couldn't find cashew butter at the store.  It worked great, but I definitely recommend having it with a nice pat of butter so that the bread isn't too dry.

Here's the recipe!

Almond Butter Bread

Ingredients:
1 cup extra smooth almond butter at room temperature
4 large eggs, eggs and yolks separated 
2 tablespoons honey 
2.5 teaspoons vinegar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Butter a loaf pan.
2) Beat the cashew butter with the egg yolks, then add the honey, vinegar, and milk. I'd recommend using a stand mixer if you have one because the dough at this stage is quite thick. 
3) Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until peaks form. 
4) Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
5) Make sure your oven is completely preheated before adding the egg whites and the dry ingredients to the cashew butter mixture. You don’t want your whites to fall, and the baking soda will activate once it hits the eggs and vinegar.
6) Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and beat until combined. This will result in more of a wet batter than a dough. Make sure to get all of the sticky butter mixture off of the bottom of the bowl so you don’t end up with clumps.
7) Pour the beaten egg whites into the cashew butter mixture, beating again until just combined. You don’t have to be gentle with this, but don’t over mix.  Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, then immediately put it into the oven.
8) Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door anytime before 40 minutes, as this will allow the steam to escape and you will not get a properly risen loaf.
9) Remove from the oven, then let cool for 15-20 minutes. Use a knife to free the sides from the loaf pan, then flip it upside down and release the loaf onto a cooling rack. Cool right-side up for about 30 mins to an hour before serving.
Enjoy!

September 21, 2012

swiss chard tzatziki


Hello!  Yes, I have yet another salad recipe to share with you today...  Should this blog be called "Salads and a couple of crafts"?  Maybe, but it's not.  Thanks for hanging in there with me.




This recipe is very similar to a persian salad called "mast 'o esfenaj" which means yoghurt and spinach. The spinach is replaced with swiss chard.

So you can definitely replace the swiss chard with spinach if you don't have any chard on hand.  I really loved the chard though because it has a great bite to it.

Here's the recipe!

Swiss Chard Tzatziki
adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:
1.5 cup swiss chard, cut in 1/2 inch chiffonade
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cup greek yoghurt
salt & pepper

Combine all of the ingredients, and enjoy!


September 14, 2012

swiss chard artichoke feta pizzette


A pizzette (mini pizza) is a great way to use up random things you have in your fridge.  I made something similar a while ago too, but this recipe has you making your own crust.  Fun!

For topping you need some kind of sauce and/or cheese, and then add whatever topping you like.


Here's how!

Swiss chard artichoke and feta Pizzettes
adapted from Anne Burrell

For the crust:
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil, plus more for coating bowl

Combine the yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl.  Stir to combine and let it sit for about 15 mins.  When ready, the yeast will look frothy on top and smell very yeasty.

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center of the flour and add the olive oil and yeast mixture.  Using a fork, gradually stir the flour into the liquids until combined.  Turn the dough out onto a smooth clean work surface and use your hands to knead the dough to a smooth homogeneous consistency.  Lightly coat the mixing bowl with olive oil, and return the kneaded dough to the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the grill.

Portion the dough into golf ball size pieces.  Dust a work surface with flour and roll each pie into a whatever shape you like.   Carefully place each piece of dough on the grill and grill on both sides until the dough is stiff and crisp and has grill marks on both sides.

Now for the topping:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place any sauce or cheese you like on the pizzettes first, then the rest of the toppings.  I added: some shredded cheddar cheese, canned artichokes, sauteed swiss chard, and feta cheese.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 5-7 mins until the cheese is melted and the toppings are warmed through.

Enjoy!


September 07, 2012

artichokes




They're so lovely.  Just sayin'.

I love steaming artichokes and dipping the leaves (and the heart, of course) into my homemade dijon vinaigrette.

The way to steam artichokes is to fill a pot with about 1-2 inches of water and then place the artichokes face up in the pot.  Put the heat on high until the water comes to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer.  Close the lid and steam the artichokes for about 30 mins.  You know they're re done once you can easy pluck out one of leaves.

I have them with a vinaigrette made from dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper.

How to eat steamed artichokes:  

1) pluck out a leaf starting from the outside
2) dip the bottom of the leaf into your vinaigrette
3) scrape the bottom of the leaf with your teeth
4) continue steps 1-3 until you get to the heart
5) pull out the hairy part at the top of the heart
6) dip the artichoke heart into your vinaigrette and enjoy your prize!

September 06, 2012

it's easy being green


A few weeks ago, I made a pesto sauce.  Chimichurri is very similar, but it's Argentinean and consists mostly of parsley, oregano and garlic.

A friend of mine makes the meanest chimichurri I've ever tasted.  It's so good, I could just eat it on its own.  I've always wanted to make a chimichurri that tasted as great as hers.  This attempt of mine last week was the closest I've ever come.


If you have a meaner recipe for chimichurri, please let me know!

Here's the recipe!

Chimichurri

Place the following in a blender, and blend until smooth:
1 cup firmly packed fresh italian parsley, trimmed of thick stems
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh chives
1 jalapeno pepper
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
salt & pepper

Serve over any type of meat, pasta or bread, and enjoy!

September 01, 2012

pain perdu


I love the French name for French Toast, Pain Perdu.  It means 'lost bread'.  There's something so romantic about that.  It's lost bread, but you haven't truly lost it because you're going to bring it back to life by making into a delicious breakfast.


Here's a quick, easy and unfussy recipe for Pain Perdu.  Enjoy!

Paid Perdu

Ingredients:
3-4 slices of stale bread
4 eggs
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp milk
1tbsp butter

Directions:
Whisk together eggs, sugar, cinnamon and milk in a flat bottom dish.  Place the bread slices in the mixture for 2 minutes, then turn them so they absorb the mixture on both sides.  Heat a pan on medium high, then add 1 tbsp butter to the pan and melt.

Place the bread slices in the pan and pour any remaining egg mixture on top.  Grill on one side for 5 minutes until golden brown, then flip the bread slices onto the other side.  Grill under golden brown.
Serve immediately with maple syrup and fresh berries.