Thursday, May 20, 2010

At Market...Fava Beans

Grilled Fava Beans

This fabulous way of preparing fava beans not only imparts a rich, smoky flavor, but also saves on clean up! Feel free to use any herbs and spices that suit your fancy like crushed red peppers, lemon zest or chopped fresh herbs.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 12 minutes
Yield: serves 2-3


1 pound of fava beans
a couple of glugs of olive oil
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
a good pinch of sea salt


1. Wash pods well then toss with oil, garlic, and salt in a large bowl

2. Heat a grill (or grill pan) to medium high. Grill fava beans for about 5 minutes on one side, then flip and grill for another couple of minutes. Remove one from the grill, open the pod, slip the bean from the skin to see if they are tender enough. If not, continue grilling for a couple of minutes more.

3. Serve hot...with napkins.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sugar Snap Pea and Tangerine Stir Fry

Sugar Snap Pea and Tangerine Stir Fry with Pork Tenderloin
adapted from Bon Appetite

The contrast in colors and flavors, not to mention the heat from the chile sauce, makes this dish exciting. Don't bother peeling the tangerines as their skin becomes tender and sweet during cooking. I've included a recipe for sweet chile dipping sauce below, but sometimes you can find it at the grocery store.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: serves 4


1 1/4 pound pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon cornstarch
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 seedless tangerines, sliced into 8 wedges
1 pound of sugar snap peas, de-stringed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup sweet chile sauce (*see below)
1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal


1. Slice the tenderloin into 1/2 inch rounds, then slice each round into strips. Toss with the corn starch and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside.

2. Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add oil and when nearly smoking add the fresh ginger root and stir. Toss in the tenderloin slices and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat begins to brown. Add the tangerines and cook for 30 seconds more.

3. Stir in the sugar snap peas, soy sauce, chile sauce and half of the green onions and cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Take off the heat and top with remaining green onions. Serve over hot rice.

*Sweet Chile Dipping Sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Yield: about 3/4 cup


1 C sugar
1/2 C white vinegar
1/2 C water
3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 t salt
1 T chile garlic sauce (sambal oelek or siracha sauce...or minced fresh chiles or dried chile flakes)


In a medium saucepan bring the first 5 ingredients to a gentle boil over medium heat. Boil for 10 minutes or until the mixture is a thin syrup. Remove from heat and stir in the chili garlic sauce. It keeps for about a week in the fridge when sealed in a glass jar. If you are using dried red chile flakes or fresh chiles instead, use sparingly as they can be quite spicy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Salted Caramel Blisscakes

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Oh my goodness, these are good. Frost sparingly, and while the frosting is still hot, as it sets quickly and is quite heavy. Maldon salt is best for sprinkling over the tops. It can be found online or at many specialty grocers (like Whole Foods). If you don't have cake flour, all purpose flour can be substituted. After measuring, remove 4 tablespoons of flour and replace with 4 tablespoons of corn starch.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes


2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of buttermilk, well shaken


1 stick of butter
1 cup of dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup whole milk
5 cups of powdered sugar, sifted

Maldon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners, or spray liberally with cooking spray.

2. Whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

3. Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Add sugar and beat until mixture becomes light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined.

4. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula.

5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from muffin tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

6. Make frosting. In a large saucepan melt the stick of butter with the brown sugar over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Bring mixture to a boil (will take about 2 minutes), then add the milk. Remove from heat when it returns to a boil and whisk in vanilla and then the powdered sugar, cup by cup. Frosting will be quite thick.

7. If desired, spoon warm frosting into a piping bag (or ziplock bag with the corner snipped) and pipe frosting over cupcakes, sprinkling salt over each one immediately after it is frosted. Alternately, frosting can be spread on top of the cupcakes with a knife. Frosting will harden quickly, so you need to work fast. Cool and serve.

Summer Squash, Olive and Feta Tart

Summer Squash, Olive and Feta Tart

adapted from Martha Stewart

This dish makes a wonderful main course when served with a salad, or cut it into smaller squares and serve it as an appetizer. Using a mandoline slicer to cut the squash really speeds up preparation time, but a sharp knife does the job too. Martha's version doesn't call for cheese, but I think it adds a rich,salty edge to the otherwise mild squash.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Yield: 4 main course servings


3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh thyme, plus a few sprigs for garnish
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 small zuchini, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
2 small yellow summer squash, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
6 sheets phyllo dough (each 12 by 17 inches), thawed if frozen
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Unroll the phyllo dough on the counter, count out six sheets, and cover them with a clean, damp cloth. Re-roll the remaining dough, wrap with plastic and refrigerate or re-freeze. Brush a large baking sheet with butter, then carefully lay down one sheet of phyllo. Brush it lightly with the melted butter, top it with another sheet and brush it lightly with butter. Continue in this way until all the phyllo is stacked together on the baking sheet.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the parsley, oregano, thyme, garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper and the olive oil. Spoon the mixture over the phyllo dough, leaving a 1 inch border all around.

4. Spread the squash slices evenly over that, again leaving a border. Drizzle the squash with olive oil. Sprinkle over the olives and the feta cheese and another pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until edges are crisp and the squash is tender. Serve immediately, or at room temperature.