Archive for November, 2009

Moroccan Yam and Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Posted by Natalie in Uncategorized

Yam Fries 3 copy 300x225 Moroccan Yam and Sweet Potato Oven FriesI have to confess that we eat yam and or sweet potato fries on an almost weekly basis. It’s written into our code of meal planning and we abide by it almost religiously. There are weeks where we decide to take a little break but they somehow always seem a bit lacking and are generally followed by a week of yam overindulgence. This was one of those weeks.

For the most part I keep the flavoring of these fries pretty simple, they don’t require much more than a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and a hot oven to taste amazing. This time however I got a bit fancy, just a bit, with some cumin, chili and garlic infused olive oil. They were a bit spicy and the freshly ground cumin was just the thing to take our favorite simple indulgence to the next level.

Spicy Poached Pears

Posted by Natalie in Uncategorized

PoachedPears4 copy 300x225 Spicy Poached Pears There are certain things that are just so easy to make and I don’t make them often enough. What I love most about poached pears is that you can sort of improvise with what you have on hand, there are so many flavor combinations that would make a lovely poaching liquid, that the possibilities seem endless.

I’m a major spice hoarder and after going through a few of my hidden Indian spice stashes, I settled on chai inspired flavors. Star anise, cardamon, black cardamon, cinnamon, red chili pepper I have to say it was very spontaneous and sometimes its that spontaneity that makes things turn out extra good.

Lettuce Wraps with Ground Chicken

Posted by Natalie in Uncategorized

ButterLettuce 300x229 Lettuce Wraps with Ground ChickenI have been having one of those months where anything goes in the eating department. The amount of cakes, muffins, cookies and other not so great for you sweet baked goods I’ve had this month is sort of shocking. It’s actually probably been more like 2 months… I sort of lost count after Thanksgiving. Sigh.

In and effort to tone it down (it being my thighs) and avoid having to shop in the maternity section before my time, I decided to put some effort towards not eating so much bread and other extremely tempting glutonous products that I love so much for every meal. I’m still going to eat bread, because life would be extremely depressing without it, but just not for every single meal.

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Posted by Natalie in Uncategorized

risotto2 copy 300x225 Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto Ive had a huge butternut squash sitting on my counter for over a month now and I’m so relieved that I was finally able to use it! I was having my doubts, it’s harder than you think to use such an enormous amount of squash in the course of a few days when you are just feeding two people. Little did I know that this was one of the best things I could have done.

I’ve heard all of those theories that squash is better once allowed to ripen for several weeks, even several months but have never bothered to to test that out. For the most part I buy what I’m going to eat in the near future and have never really been a person to think ahead in this way.

Chickpea Soup Italian Style

Posted by Natalie in Uncategorized

ChickpeaSoup 300x225 Chickpea Soup Italian Style

I’ve been neglecting the huge stack of new magazines purchased over the past few months and have been feeling somewhat guilty recently because I have made no effort whatsoever to rectify the situation. I’ve come to a point where the pile has become somewhat intimidating – there are just too many of them and I don’t know where to start.

I have a small disorder that prevents me from making this process any easier where I have to make recipes in chronological order starting from the first magazine I bought to the last. I won’t go into too much detail here because it’s actually quite sick. Let’s just say that when you start experiencing strong guilt issues with objects you may need to reevaluate a thing or two.

This becomes especially problematic in this situation because the first magazine I bought was entirely dedicated to really fancy cakes off all shapes and sizes, the sort that requires time I currently don’t have. Not to mention that it wouldn’t hurt me to cut down on the cakes of all shapes and sizes… I have to confess that I made that truly amazing Harvest Butternut Squash Loaf again yesterday, twice in 4 days, that has to be a record.

Absolutely Amazing Harvest Butternut Squash Loaf

Posted by Natalie in Uncategorized

ButtenutSquashLoaf5 copy 300x225 Absolutely Amazing Harvest Butternut Squash LoafSeveral weeks ago I bought a huge butternut squash and because I’m somewhat indecisive, it has been sitting on my counter untouched ever since. I found myself staring at it everyday, uninspired by the thought of making soup or roasting it as is, just bored of my usual recipes. Bored, bored,  bored.

What to do?

After a few weeks I decided that it was time to search around a bit and hopefully get inspired by what others have made and maybe find something that is a bit out of the ordinary from me. Something sweet like muffins but better, it definitely had to be better than muffins.

Well I didn’t have to search long before I found the answer tucked away in the 2006 archives of La Tartine Gourmand. The second I read Squash Harvest Loaf I was captivated and knew what had to be done.  Sometimes all it takes is a quick glance through the ingredients of a recipe to feel completely confident about how it will turn out. Pureed roasted butternut squash + buttermilk + Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Pecans, Walnuts… what could go wrong?


Posted by Natalie in Uncategorized

KolachesCorrected 300x225 KolachesKolaches are something one doesn’t find too often on bakery shelves in Vancouver. These little pastries originated in the Czech Republic, and consist of a sweet yeast dough with fillings ranging from different types of fruit preserves to cheese. I first discovered these little things years ago when I still lived in New York, but until recently have not really had any strong desire to tackle these in my kitchen.

I’m not one of those people who is easily intimidated by making yeast breads of any kind, but there is something I can’t quite put my finger on that happens when I make sweet breads involving yeast: they never taste quite as good as when they’re made by other people.

Similar to when I was a kid, I always thought my friends sandwiches tasted way better than mine. Not because my mother didn’t make a good sandwich, because she did, but for some completely random reason that makes no logical sense.

Fresh Basil Walnut Pesto

Posted by Natalie in Uncategorized

Pesto5 copy1 300x225 Fresh Basil Walnut PestoI have a tendency to have very unseasonal food cravings. I try to keep them under wraps, or at least attempt to control them, but one way or the other they always find a way to crawl out.  It can be the dead middle of the hottest summer in the last ten years and 3 months from flu season and I will be trying to stifle an out of control urge for chicken soup with matzah balls.

Wrong, I know but completely out of my control.

Unlike some people who insist that they can’t eat anything thats not light during those hottest months of the year, I have a tendency to crave these winter foods more intensely and then ultimately give in. I find that the easiest way to get a handle on cravings of this intensity really is just to give in to them. Which is why occasionally you can find me in my kitchen doing extremely unseasonal things that most people in the food world actively frown upon.

Whole Wheat Scones with Dried Blueberries

Posted by Natalie in Uncategorized

DriedBlueberryScones copy Whole Wheat Scones with Dried BlueberriesOne of the very first things that I baked, completely by myself without any help from my mother were scones. I’m not exactly sure why it was scones that I chose. I know these were a favorite breakfast growing up, and they were one of those things that I made every morning during a summer job I had at a bakery in my early teens, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was that attracted me to the scone in the first place. Not that they aren’t wonderful, and the most perfect accompaniment to a lovely cup of tea at anytime of day or night, just not something you would imagine a kid really wanting to make.

I think that one of the reasons I love them so much today is that they are a neutral canvas and can be mixed with many a different fruit either fresh or dried, cheese both mild and strong (Stilton and Pear Scones are one of my favorite combinations) and are extremely easy to pull together. So easy in fact that it’s quite possible to get these together in the morning while your coffee is still brewing and have one of these beautiful little things in your mouth before your first cup is empty.

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