Happy 100th, Julia!

*photo courtesy of kitchensaremonkeybusiness.com

Today marks what would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday!  As a child I spent many a weekend afternoon watching old PBS reruns of Julia Child’s cooking shows.  She had a zest for food that was contagious and everything she made always looked decadent and spectacular.  She lacked self-consciousness and bounded into her recipes with more authenticity than just about any TV personality chef I have seen on television (and I watch my fair share!).  I found her captivating, even in my elementary school years.

My mother was a fan, too.  Being a great cook herself, my mom  had several of her cookbooks in her kitchen bookcase.  She consulted them for a handful of favorites that she would make when entertaining.  One of the standouts was Julia’s Gateau de Crepes from her Julia Child and More Company book.  This gorgeous dish resembles a layer cake, only it’s bound with crepes and filled with savory things like swiss cheese and sautéed mushrooms.  It was Mom’s perennial favorite for Easter Brunch.  Many years ago her cookbook went missing, but I was fortunate to find a replacement on Ebay from a kind man in Hawaii.  It was my first Ebay experience and one I will never forget as I anxiously awaited this vintage book and hoped that this Ebay thing wasn’t a huge racket!  It arrived safe and sound and Easter Gateau resumed.

Gateau de Crepes

Ingredients

For the crepe batter

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Vegetables and Cheese for Filling

  • 1 lb carrots
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper
  • I lb fresh mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons shallots
  • 1 bunch fresh broccoli (about a pound)
  • 2 cups shredded grated Swiss cheese

Custard Mixture for Filling

  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
  • a pinch of fresh nutmeg to taste

Rosie from Kitchens are Monkey Business photographs and describes the process better than I ever could!  Click here to see her beautiful work!

http://www.kitchensaremonkeybusiness.com/2010/12/rosie-makes-julias-gateau-des-crepes.html

snacks reinvented…

One of my all-time biggest peeves is wasting food. I’m slightly neurotic about it, actually, which drives my husband kind of crazy.  One day I had what Oprah has coined an “a-ha moment”… I could turn all that leftover yogurt my son didn’t finish into tasty, healthy treats!  You can, too – it takes all of 60 seconds. Just put a few bits of fruit of your choice (frozen or fresh) in the bottoms of a popsicle maker and then spoon the yogurt on top. Your child can also help by putting in the fruit or the popsicle sticks, and voilá!  Yogurt popsicles for the whole family!  P.s. this works wonders on those teething babes or for sore throats/mouths

Berry Delicious: Wheat Berry Salad

Wheat berries are deliciously chewy and nutty whole wheat kernels that make great salads, breads and sides!  Because they are unprocessed they retain all three parts of the grain, including the germ, bran and endosperm.  This means that the grain has lots of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals like vitamin E, iron, magnesium and lignans.  It’s biggest boast is a healthy dose of  fiber, about 24 grams per cup!  But, each cup also has about 7 grams of protein – not too shabby.  I recently boiled soft wheat berries for about 45 minutes, allowed them to cool and tossed them with:

  • avocados
  • sliced raw green beans
  • steamed chopped beets
  • cucumbers
  • feta cheese
  • dried cranberries
  • olive oil, white wine vinegar and salt & pepper

Have fun experimenting with this yummy, earthy whole grain!

3 Cheers for Healthy Bread!

Have you tried Ekekiel breads?  I love the Cinnamon Raisin Bread for my toddler.  It’s made with a combination of organic sprouted grains.  This means that the bread contains no flour, has preserved its naturally occurring amino acids and bursts with nutrients.  It also means that it is a complete protein.  This type of complete protein is super exciting to me, because it comes from a vegetarian source but closely resembles that found in milk or eggs, and that is fantastic!  We serve it as a snack, a vehicle for spreads or made into french toast.

Quinoa Burgers…hearty, healthy, delicious

I came across this recipe in Martha Stewart Living and my husband and I were immediately hooked.  These can also be baked on a greased baking sheet.  They’re so hearty, they don’t even need the bread.  Serve with a side of eggplant caponata (recipe to come!) for an extra dose of deliciousness.

 

Greek-Style Quinoa Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rinsed quinoa
  • 1 medium carrot, cut in large chunks
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 15 ounces great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Coarse salt
  • Ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 pitas (each 6 inches)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced diagonally

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil; add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes; set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse carrot until finely chopped. Add cooked quinoa, half the scallions, beans, breadcrumbs, egg, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; pulse until combined but still slightly chunky.
  3. Form mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties (dip hands in water to prevent sticking). If too soft, refrigerate 10 minutes to firm. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium; cook burgers until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, and the remaining scallions; season with salt and pepper. Serve burgers in pita topped with cucumber and yogurt sauce.

http://www.marthastewart.com/314093/greek-style-quinoa-burgers

Benedictine Orange Rice = yum!

My friend passed this recipe on to me after I raved about it when she served it for dinner.  It’s sweet and tangy, wholesome and hearty, yet you can feel the love and how nourishing it is.  She actually learned of it in a monastery during a travel adventure.  Get ready for a religious experience, haha!  Hope you enjoy it!

 Benedictine Orange Rice 

1/4 cup butter and cooking oil (Shelley uses ghee and olive oil)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup uncooked rice, brown or white  (Shelley also incorporates quinoa)
1 1/3 cups orange juice, plus enough water to make amount required by rice you are using (see package directions)
1 vegetable bouillon cube (Shelley uses “Better than Bouillon”)
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins

Melt butter in saucepan or baking dish.  Add celery and onions and saute over low heat until tender.  Add rice and saute until all grains are coated with oil and golden brown.  Add orange juice and water and bring to a boil.  Stir in orange peel, salt and raisins.  Cover pan with tight lid or foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes for white rice, 1 hour for brown. This can also be simmered on very slow heat on top of the stove.
Serves 6

[Note from Shelley: After I sautéed everything, I put it in the rice cooker.  I bet it will taste yummy baked.  The quinoa and rice cook at different times, so it came out more like puree, because I had to keep adding water.]