If not, let me familiarize you with this great grain. Not only is it a hearty whole grain that transforms into tasty little puffs when cooked, but when milled into a flour it becomes a wonderful gluten free substitute for all sorts of baking….
I recently started experimenting with buckwheat, and to my surprise, have been love, love, lovin it
Why, you ask?
– It’s quite sticky, “glutinous” and “starchy” so does well in recipes that need a lil’ binding love like crackers and crepes.
– The flavor is deep and earthy, but mild enough to still be paired nicely with sweets like buckwheat crepes & Nutella!
– It’s naturally gluten free, high in protein (contains lysin, an amino acid not found in many other plant based sources), high in fiber, B vitamins, copper and magnesium.
Say HELLO to my new favorite grain!
These Crackers are ridiculous!!! 4 ingredients and SO SIMPLE-
YOU WILL NEVER BUY PACKAGED crackers again.
Packed Lunch for my friend who just had a baby – that’s avocado edamame spread under the lemon (so excited for the day I can pack my kiddos lunches!!!!)
Buckwheat Crackers with Almond Butter and Banana
Crazy (simple) Crackers:
I promise, these are so easy, after making them once, you’ll never buy crackers again!
Combine 1 ½ cups of buckwheat flour and 1 cup of Almond Flour, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ cup of hemp hearts. mix well. Add ¾ cup of water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well with a spatula. Divide into 2 balls and and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375.
Roll out one ball between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Place on a cookie sheet and remove the top piece of paper. With a pizza cutter, cut into whatever shapes you fancy! Bake for 20-25 minutes until edges turn golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before breaking the crackers.
I catered a lunch yesterday with a menu that I am so excited about! It was such a beautiful representation of what you’d find at a Farmers Market in July – so fresh and delicious – I have to share. If you are not a big meat eater – I think salmon would substitute nicely for the skirt steak.
Figs and Prosciutto over Ricotta, Drizzled with Honey
(For the non pork eaters substitute chopped pistachios for prosciutto)
Grilled Peaches with Toasted Walnuts, Pt Reyes Blue Cheese in a Balsamic Dressing
Skirt Steak over Fresh Corn Polenta
Sun Marinated Heirloom Tomato (soaked in a bowl of olive oil, balsamic, basil and garlic – Amazing and can go on anything! This is my summer staple)
Fresh Chopped Salad of Summer Squash, Zucchini, Wax Bean and Haricot Vert Swith Lemon Zest, Basil, Pine Nuts and Fresh Grated Parmesan
Dessert (not pictured) Short Cakes, Vanilla Ice Cream and Plum Compote
Prep Ahead Tips: Day Before: prep, chop and blanch your summer veggies Steam corn for polenta Make your dressing and marinades Start Marinating your Tomatoes Chop nuts make Shortcakes for dessert
Morning Of: Make crostini Grill the peaches Grill the Steak (only to rare – let rest for 10 minutes, then slice and divide on 2 small baking pans. Reheat in the oven for your guests right before serving – this will finish the cooking too. I divided the meat between 2 pans so that one batch would be brought up to med-rare and the other batch I left in the oven a bit longer to bring the meat up to med) Fill a large pot on the stove with broth and line up your polenta ingredients to throw in and make cooking/hosting as easy as possible (4 cups broth, 1 cup polenta. 1 cup parm, 2 cups fresh corn steamed and cut off ear)
Skirt Steak Marinade: So good- I need to write this down so I don’t forget what I did Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Chopped Garlic, Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love an excuse to host a party. So when my married friends and I started a monthly dinner group, you can imagine how excited I was when it was my turn to host!
I want to share this dinner party as an example of how simple it can be to host a fabulous supper in style and stilettos ah! The key is to plan ahead and decide on a menu that can be prepped days before and requires little hands on time during your party… for example a cheese, fruit and nut platter for an appetizer and slow cooked meat for your main…
I decided on a Provence theme because, well, I’m obsessed with the south of France! The food, wine, culture, language, men, style, architecture, cobble stones, surf, music, all of it!
Provence Party Menu
Slow Cooked Lemon Chicken in Garlic and Thyme
over Saffron Rice
Rosated Broccoli and Garlic with Basil, Parmesan and Pine Nuts
Ratatouille with Homemade Pesto
Lavender Madeleines with Honey Creme Fraiche
Set the mood
Offer your quests a glass of wine when they come in. Simple say, “I just opened a bottle of wine, can I pour you a glass?”
French music on Pandora
Savorying Provence, cookbook on my coffee table
Olive tree to add a little nature
Little bowls of olives and rosemary marcona almonds
Blue Cheese, Skillet Red Potatoes, Pancetta, Caramelized Onion and Rosemary
Herbed Goat Cheese, Zucchini, Parmesan and Thyme
Every Christmas my parents host an Annual Lighted Boat Parade Party. Friends and Family are invited over to enjoy appetizers, drinks, parade viewing and lots of laughs!
Our house is perfectly situated on the hill overlooking the canal where the boats pass by… providing perfect viewing from our deck
I wanted to help my mom with the menu and bring a few dishes she could bake and serve easily.
They look more advanced than they really are. Just a little time consuming with all the assembling…but definitely not difficult.
Get creative with the toppings and different combinations. I didn’t use a recipe… I just used up what was in my fridge. So if you have asparagus, use that instead on zucchini. Herbs de Provence instead of fresh herbs. Brie in place of Blue.
You get the idea
This recipe is the perfect example of sticking to my cooking philosophy:
“don’t make it so technical”
I even combined the little bit I had left of Humbolt Fog Blue and Point Reyes Blue in the Cuisinart to give me more and make it creamy (spreadable). Many foodies would call that move sacrilegious… but that’s ok, we’re not making cooking technical… just making it fabulously delicious!
I also combined in the Cuisinart, feta, Herbs de Provence, good olive oil and garlic for the Herb Goat Cheese..
I bought this adorable cookie cutter from Sur la Table and have been dying for an excuse to use it. You can use any shape though. Stick to about 1.5 inches in diameter.
The crust is simply store bought pie dough…making this all the more simple for the busy lady (or man!) to throw together.
(Don’t assemble more than 1 hour before baking or the center will get a bit soggy)
Just stick to the order and you can’t go wrong:
Cookie cutter dough
Top with a teaspoon of cheese
Followed by veggies
End with Garnish (Shaved cheese, fresh herbs, ground pepper good salt)
Keep in mind that these are only baked for 10-12 minutes. Therefore, you will need to slice veggies thinly, or even cook first like I did with the potatoes.
(I don’t need to explain that though, right? Potatoes take longer than 12 minutes to cook!)
Potato and Pancetta
Thinly sliced potatoes
Red onion thinly sliced
Rosemary for Garnish
Cookie Cutter Dough and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Top each with 1 t of cheese, spread to the sides
Caramelize the onion over very low heat, in a little oil. Stirring frequently. Add a bit of sugar at the end of cooking.
Meanwhile, for the potatoes and pancetta:
In a large non stick skillet cook the pancetta over medium heat, stirring frequently.
With a slotted spoon, drain the bacon on a plate topped with a paper towel. Leave the bacon grease in the pan.
Fry the thinly sliced red potatoes in the bacon fat. This will take a while. just keep stirring until they are well browned.
layer potato, bacon, onion and rosemary.
Bake 10-12 minutes
After baking sprinkle with a bit of goooooood salt to really make it bang!
Try fleur de sel
Anyone who has lived in San Francisco knows that September is the most beautiful month of the year. It’s actually common for the fog to disappear for a few consecutive days! Everyone’s mood changes and positive vibes fill the streets, shops and cafes.
Anyway, my plan was to go to the do-over, a day party at the Phoenix Hotel where I’d dance and drink the beautiful afternoon away with girlfriends. As I was slipping into my summer dress, my friend texts me to say, “the line is crazy, we’re going to the park!” So I slipped into my bikini, grabbed a towel and water (with fresh lemon) and made way way to the roof of my apartment, where I spent the next few hours basking under the San Francisco! I’ve got to get tan because in one week from today I will be laying pool side at the Trump Hotel in Vegas with about 15 of my closest girlfriends (since preschool/middle school)! I must have listened to about 7 TED talks on my iPhone, and Brene Brown’s discussion on The Power of Vulnerability was by far my favorite. I also painted my toes in my favorite O.P.I. color wrote up some great thoughts for my new business/branding direction (so excited, I’ll share soon!).
By 4 my tummy was rumbling and I made my way down to fix lunch. I love being in the heat because I feel like it suppresses my appetite, and makes me eat smaller portions, well French portions (proper portions) These Sushi rolls are perfect for lunch on a hot summer day or for a late light dinner. I served with wasabi that comes in powder (you mix with water) and pickled ginger that always have in the fridge to snack on
I was planning on using the avocado that has been waiting helplessly in my fridge- but I was too late – she was a goner Because I always have a whole grain in the fridge ready to add to dishes, this was a super fast lunch. You can use what ever veggies you have on hand like I did
Makes 2 Rolls Ingredients: 2 Sheets of Seaweed 1/2 cup cooked rice Pea shoot sprouts 1 large carrot shredder 6 shrimp, boiled 1/3 of a cucumber, peeled and sliced
I use a sheet on tin foil when I don’t feel like searching for my bamboo sushi rollers, it works just as well. Place 1/4 cup of precooked rice (if you learn anything from my, it is to always have a pre cooked whole grain in your fridge, ready to add to dishes!) on the bottom third of a sheet of seaweed Top with your veggies and shrimp Roll and enjoy
(I actually started writing this on September 18th…and am just now getting to adding the photos and posting! It has been a BUSY month!)
First, I must explain my recent 3 week disappearance… My best friend from Milan touched down in SF for a great 2 week visit. We were so busy sight seeing and eating, I didn’t get a chance to stay connected. We managed to eat out at some great San Francisco hot spots, play an American game of Sloshball and even party in LA for the weekend. I will soon share some of the great recipes and meals enjoyed along the way, but for now, here is one dish that was inspired by Cecile’s Milanese-ness! Risotto… famous in Italy and it is no wonder why. It is rich, creamy and incredible satisfying. Risotto is always a crowd pleaser and perfect served anytime of the year made with what ever happens to be in season! With that said, when I was asked to cater a small birthday lunch, I knew a Summer Risotto must make its way onto the menu.
I’ll post the recipes soon, but for now here is the Risotto recipe courtesy of my cousin who volunteered her afternoon to help me in the kitchen. Helane was home visiting from New York where she works for in Fashion Media and when feeling inspired writes on her blog
Summer Lunch Menu: To Drink: Mint and Strawberry Lemonade (spiked with vodka if you are feeling up for it!) Light Bites: Melon, Prosciutto and Manchego Appetizer: Summer Squash and Zucchini over Pesto and Feta Puff Pastry First Course Crab Cakes topped with Herb Aioli on a Bed of Lamb’s Lettuce (recipe) Secondly: Summer Risotto (recipe) Something Sweet Lemon Crème brûlée
At what point do you go from being able to have a few margaritas and still feel like 100 bucks the next morning OR have a few margaritas and wake up absolutely crabby!? Does this aging happen over night, literally?!
Last night Mindee and I had dinner (and margaritas) at Tacolicious in the Marina- a neighborhood where the pitch of women’s voices reach a frequencey unlike anywhere else in San Francisco and all the men look and dress the same. Not exactly mine and Mindee’s type of neighborhood… it’s the authentic tacos and margaritas, not the well groomed men, that keep us coming back for more. By sun down and the time it takes Mindee and me to finish our first margarita, this place has gone from taqueria to swanky, sleazy, sweaty bar! These aren’t the sugar packed and pre mixed margaritas, but rather made with actual lime juice and good quality tequila! So good, they go down like juice! Anyway, I woke up feeling, well you know the feeling, not entirely chippery, to say the least. And the only thing sounding remotely appetizing is something hot, spicy and greasy! I mixed together what I had on hand, canned crab (is that tacky?) bell peppers and hot sauce and the result were these perfectly little moist crabby cakes! yum!
Enjoyed anytime of day for any occasion, casual or fancy, hung-over or chippery, these little guys are a pleaser for sure! I topped them with homemade herb aioi to really add to the fat-factor!
Makes 8 small cakes Ingredients: 3 cans crab 2 eggs 1/2 bell pepper diced 2 T homemade aioli (or mayo) A handful of mixed fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, chives, dill) 1 garlic minces 1 T fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used gluten free) Sanf and pepper Extra bread crumbs for rolling Vegetable oil for frying (I used grape seed) Mix the eggs Add the remaining ingredients Divide into 8 patties Fill a shallow dish with some bread crumbs, season with salt and pepper Line a baking sheet with foil, spray Roll the cakes in the bread crumbs and press the crumbs into the crab Place the tray in the fridge for about 30 minutes, allowing them to firm up Preheat the oven to 300 Heat the oil in a frying pan In batches of four, fry the cakes, about 3 minutes on each side Transfer back to the baking sheet and continue with the remaining four Transfer the sheet to the oven. Heat the crab cakes through, about 10-15 minutes
I feel so sorry for avocados. They have such a short life. Really, only one perfect day to be enjoyed at its best. And once you cut in, there is no going back. It’s only downhill for the little lady from there.
My beautiful little Hass Avoacodo had been sitting on my windowsill for a couple days now, just waiting to ripen to perfection under the sun light. This morning, I reached up to give her a little squeeze and she waaaaaaas perfect!
Now my favorite part of being a chef begins… coming up with something delicious and creative with a few given ingredients.
My culinary wheels did a little spin that went something like this: Basil on it’s last leg of life, why not pesto (my recipe made with brazil nuts), Marinated feta I’m currently obsessed obviously must be smothered on top (recipe) A big hearty slice of bread, because what’s better than crostini? And all put under the sizzlin broiler to let the flavors really melt together! Oh, and of course finished with fresh ground black pepper, sea salt and a drizzle of extra aged balsamic!
Please don’t end!
I was not planning on having an entire avocado for lunch today, but honestly, I didn’t feel I had a choice :o)
For those of you who like to eat gluten free when possible, you have got to try this bread.
I keep it in my freezer and cut off pieces as I like
And this is my favorite Balsamic, from Napa Valley
Oh my gosh, talk about a party in my mouth! This was inspired by the pound of asparagus lingering in my fridge and my latest obsession with marinated feta. Well, not to mention, I had an hour to think about what to have for breakfast as I was waiting for my car tire to be patched (I’m always driving over nails!) Oh I just thought of something great! How delicious would a poached egg be on top? So the order would be: toast, asparagus, egg, crumbled feta. Ah, I cant wait to try it! can’t it be tomorrow morning already!?
Ok, this may look time consuming but it is sooooo simple. I literally cooked everything at the same time on one pan.
Ingredients: Marinated Feta (recipe) 3-4 Spears of asparagus per crostini Olive Oil 1 Garlic Minced Baguette Parmsean Blsamic
For the crostini, cut your baguette at a major bias to really get a nice big surface Preheat Broiler Toss the asparagus in oil and garlic Drizzle the sliced baguette with a tad oil and rub with garlic Place asparagus and bread slices on a cookie sheet Broil for 3 minutes (set a timer!) Take out and toss the asparagus a bit, turn the crostini and drizzle with a tad more oil Return to the oven and broil for 3 more minutes (timer)
*oh, if your marinated cheese has been in the fridge like mine, place it in the oven to warm up (in an oven proof dish). The oven will be warn because your broiler is pumpin!
Spread the Feta over your Crostini Top with a few pieces of asparagus Drizzle with balsamic (I like the really thick, super aged kind) Sprinkle with parmesan Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper
Spread over warm crostini and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic
Mindee and I were first introduced to marinated feta in Greece this summer. You know the Greeks…they looooove their feta!
Since then, we always have a bowl of this deliciousness marinading in the fridge. It has become my new favorite condiment, and I’m sprinkling it on almost everything these days, from my poached egg in the morning to my crostini with grilled asparagus (recipe) at lunch
There are only a few ingredients here, so choose good quality cheese and oil! I used sheep feta but goat is just a yummy. I think next time I make this I will use a harder cheese. This brand happened to be a little too soft, which has great flavor but you want the cheese to keep its shape more than mine did.
20 oz feta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T garlic infused extra virgin olive oil
1 Heaping T of Herbs de Provence
1 t black pepper corns
1/2 t sea salt, or to taste
Cube the cheese and set aside
Whisk the remaining ingredients in a bowl
Add the cheese and gently toss
Let sit for 30 minutes before serving
Serve at room temperature
Transfer to a container with a lid so you can keep it in the fridge
I am so overwhelmed right now with food, I don’t know where to begin. Lists. Lots of them. Big ones. Recipes I’ve made and need to share. Recipes I’ve had on recent travels and need to share. Recipes that look delicious and I must make, devour and share.
Checking off a recipe from my “I’ve made and must share list” are these fresh little bites of springtime. Fresh Herbs are the key ingredients, but really anything seasonal and fresh will be great. The filling possibilities are endless!
The creamy nut sauce is so good, you may just eat it on its own
I make these for vegan clients for their lunches and as appetizers at private parties. They can last a couple days in the fridge with a wet towel around them. Therefore, I recommend making a bunch… rolling takes a while to get the hang of, so the first few may be a little wobbly looking, and the assembling is easy once you have all the ingredients laid out and ready to go. Don’t let the rice paper intimidate you, like it did me at first. Soaking them in water for 20 seconds is all it takes
Ingredients for Asian Rolls: Rice Paper Rice noodles Tossed in Sesame oil Bell peppers Cucumbers Cabbage Shredded Carrots Cilantro and scallions Tofu (optional) Sprouts for garnish
Ingredients for California Rolls: Quinoa tossed in a almond oil Romaine Avocado Cucumber Shredded carrots Asparagus Basil and mint Shrimp (optional) Sprouts for garnish
Have ready: Big shallow pan for dipping the papers in (I use a big skillet) All your veggies to one side in bowls A work surface for assembling with a a damp cloth Cutting board Directions: Place a rice paper in the water and rotate for about 20 seconds Lay it on the damp towel Place your grain or noodles across the bottom third in a thin line Top with a few veggies Tightly roll and set aside After you have a few made, cut them at a diagonal Top with sprouts and Peanut sauce
Asian Peanut or Californian Almond Sauce: 3 T Creamy Peanut or Almond Butter 3 T rice vinegar 2 t soy sauce 2 t brown sugar red pepper flakes to taste 1/2 – 1 t
On mine and Mindee’s first night on Sifnos, Greece, we had a wonderful dinner at O Argiris in the port of Kamares.
We started our dinner with chickpea balls and a Greek salad followed by melt-in-your-mouth slow cooked lamb called Mastelo, all Sifian Specialties!
Chickpea balls are similar to falafel only not as spicy. Falafel is made with cumin and coriander where chickpea balls call for fresh herbs and potato
This recipe was adapted from a cookbook written by a Greek woman living on the island that does just about everything…. from wedding planning, dance lessons, ceramic classes, hike tours and cooking classes. The cookbook is not very specific with ingredient measurements and cooking times… which just goes to prove the easy-going, laid-back mentality of the Greeks :o)
Ingredients: 1 part chickpeas 1/2 part potatoes, boiled and peeled 1/2 part onions chopped Parsley, dill, marjoram, mint 2 garlic Red wine to kneed Flour to roll in and oil to fry
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a blender Put into a large bowl Add a little wine at a time and kneed to combine Roll about 1 heaping tablespoon Roll in flour Set aside Fry about 5 at a time in oil Drain on paper towels
Spread on a baguette with chevre for breakfast, a flatbread with gorgonzola for lunch or dollop on vanilla ice cream for dessert
I made this with the dried apricots I received in a care package from a very special someone living in Holland
For a week I waited by my window like a puppy hoping to be home when the FedEx man arrive. Then, just as I was about to head out the door to a client’s house, the doorbell rang- Yah! I dropped my purse and ran downstairs to sign for my mystery box. First of all, receiving anything in the mail (other than bills) is exciting, especially when it’s food… from another country… sent from a wonderful person!
In my mystery box there was apricots, dried figs, and baklava. Baklava is my absolute favorite sweet in the world! I can not be in the same room (house) as baklava and not eat it. Seriously, I finished 1 kilo in 2 days. Yes, the phyllo did get a little soft during its week long journey, but whatever, it’s packed with pistachios and drenches in butter and honey! Throw it in the blender and I’d still eat it. Ok, now I’m salivating. Enough about that.
One batch makes a lot. I served it on three occasions this week: 1- My dear friend Mac who lives and works in Baja California, was home for the weekend and we served the chutney with Manchego cheese on crackers 2 – My dear friend Morgan, who currently lives in Switzerland ,came home for a short week visit and on her last night us girls got together for cocktails, laughs, cheese and wine (ingredients for the perfect ladies night!) Here we served the chutney on crostini with chevre. Morgan served a Parisian cocktail made with Proseccoo, St. Germain and mint leaves from here mom’s garden. So refreshing! 3 – My dear from Kate who lives in Seattle (we met two years ago while living in Thailand) came to visit and we used the chutney to create a savory, yet sweet, flat bread for dinner. Incredible! (amazing recipe here). (love you, miss you, kiss you guys!)
Ingredients: 400 grams dried apricots chopped (converter) it was about 3 cups 1 sweet onion chopped 3/4 cup cider vinegar 3/4 cup raisins 1/2 cup brown sugar (I think, I can’t remember. It’s up to you how sweet you like it) cinnamon stick
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy sauce pan Bring to a boil Cover and simmer for 15 minutes
Enjoy…in many ways!
Oh, if you want to make this less sweet and more savory swap a red onion for the sweet onion, skip the raisins all together and add chopped garlic
In a small bowl whisk the flour, buckwheat and salt
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk
Add the cooled butter and whisk until there are no more lumps
Heat a large nonstick frying pan or griddle over medium heat until hot
Spray the pan
working in batches, add the batter to the pan by the tablespoonfuls
Cook until slightly bubbly around the edges, about 1.5 minutes
Flip the blini and continue cooking for about 1 minutes longer
Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter
Set Up a Party Today!
Meals Made Easy
What Our Clients Are Saying
First, Thank you so much. Recreating the dinner you taught me was surprisingly very enjoyable and easy for me today (which is a huge testament to you) and secondly, every single bite was consumed and thoroughly enjoyed. Salmon dish was a HUGE hit. We all toasted you. — Lauren Irons, Mother of 3
Claudine is a master when it comes to making healthy food gorgeous and delicious. — Sarah Jenks, Weight Loss Coach
Thank you so much for the absolutely perfect event last week. Many guests said it was a truly "old-fashioned Christmas party!" The delicious family-style meal made it so! — Ann McNamee
Just finished salmon with roasted garlic and parsnip purée - brilliant! Everything tasted great and was perfectly filling. Truly, you are the best gift I've ever given myself - thank you! — Karyn Barsa