November 27, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Biscuits are a highly debatable topic, and for a good reason. Overworking the dough can lead to tough biscuits, using room temperature or warm fat (butter, shortening, coconut oil) will not offer the enviable flakiness biscuit purveyors strive for, and traditions still hold strong in all parts of the U.S. with strict recipes being passed down throughout the generations. Wavering off the path of traditional, as I seem to do on here, I thumbed through one of my favorite cookbooks by photographer and cookbook author, Heidi Swanson of 101 cookbooks. I’ve made many of her recipes in Super Natural Every Day, and even featured my own version of her Miso-Curry Delicata Squash and Tofu last year on my blog.
I have a huge jar of coconut oil in my kitchen cupboard that is just begging to be used. I love that the oil is so versatile, and I’ve used it not only in cooking, but in DIY body scrubs, and as a moisturizer and hair product. There are countless ways of using coconut oil, and the never-ending lists are scattered all over the internet. Just type in the phrase “coconut oil uses” and millions of hits come up. Coconut oil not only smells great, but is a healthier fat as it is a medium-chain fatty acid (however, my former nutrition teacher would say otherwise). The health benefits of coconut oil are still up for debate, and I could go on an on about them, but that would be best left to another post.
Replacing the butter in Heidi’s recipe for coconut oil gave a subtle coconut flavor to the biscuits. They came out flaky, perhaps not as flaky when using shortening, but flaky nonetheless. The greek yogurt provides the tang that normally comes from using buttermilk, and adds some protein as well. Biscuits are not supposed to be complicated, and the ingredients in this recipe are just as straightforward as traditional ones. A butter or butter/shortening-based biscuit will always be a classic in my opinion, but when you want to switch things up, make a batch of Coconut Yogurt Biscuits. These would be great for Thanksgiving or served along with any holiday meal this winter. Add some chopped herbs to the dough, or better yet, top it with a homemade compound butter.
November 23, 2013 § Leave a Comment
When cauliflower comes to mind, there aren’t many people who tend to jump up a say, “Yes! That’s what I want for dinner!” This cruciferous vegetable, the cousin of the ever popular broccoli, often gets a bad rap, but roasting and pan searing slabs of it may quickly change your perception.
I first ran into this recipe while scanning through my Pinterest feed earlier this year, and was skeptical, but curious to try it out. On a whim, I bought a head of cauliflower at my local supermarket that week, and was not sure what I wanted to do with it just yet. Bam! A stylized photo of seared cauliflower steaks caught my attention, and the rest was history.
The recipe looked fairly simple, and was much more interesting than the roasted version I always made with potatoes and carrots. That first bite was enough to make me a believer. Caramelized and nutty, the cauliflower complemented the spicy garlic yogurt sauce making for a delightful supper. And have you ever seen the cross section of the vegetable? It is absolutely stunning. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 11, 2013 § 2 Comments
Climbing the rungs of the ladder that lay propped against one of the numerous trees at Honey Pot Hill Orchards, I plucked a perfectly ripe Cortland apple. Its blushing red exterior gave way to tart sweetness as my teeth sank in. As we drove out of Boston and into the winding tree-lined roads, the leaves hued in burnt orange, chartreuse, and ember red, blanketing the rolling landscape before us, we came to the consensus that none of us were ready to head back to the city, and ultimately, reality, just yet. I spent a quintessential New England fall day with my fellow classmates in Stow, MA picking apples, hopping on hay rides, running through hedge mazes, and finished with a hot cup of cider coupled with an apple cider donut.
November 5, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Fragrant, juicy, sweet. All are words that come to mind when biting in to a tree-ripened peach. While it may not be prime peach season in the U.S. at the moment, I couldn’t help but post this recipe for Peach Pecan Pie. WIth a buttery crust, flaking under the weight of the knife as I took the initial cut, I knew this recipe was a keeper. Simplicity at its best is a motto I try to strive for day in and day out of my life, and this pie certainly fits the bill.
Rounding out the last days of summer, I found myself with five pounds of ripe peaches at my local farmer’s market in late September. I was giddy at the sight of so many of these amber spheres toppling out of their boxes, and at one dollar per pound, I should have scooped up more to freeze for the impending winter months. My immediacy got the better of me, so I kept with the meager five pounds instead of, say ten, that I would have happily walked off with.
October 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
On an April Sunday I met up with a small group of my fellow Boston Brunchers to escape the gloomy weather and enjoy the popular Washington Square brunch spot, The Fireplace. With the weather warming up in Boston and its surrounding areas, I have made a point of walking to more of my destinations, because what better way is there to explore a city than through experiencing it with all the senses. After roughly a twenty-minute walk, I reached the corner restaurant located in Brookline, MA.
A few of the other brunchers and I must have overshot how long it was going to take us to arrive, because the restaurant had not yet opened. As the rain slowly drizzled outside, we took refuge under the awning that just grazed the entrance. Set up on a bi-level platform, the restaurant takes on a cozy feeling, especially as you are greeted with a fireplace – hence the name – after walking through the front doors.
I decided to start with a Bloody Mary and closed in on the duck hash as my entrée of choice. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 14, 2013 § 2 Comments
If you’re like me, and running around the house at the start of busy day while trying to scrounge up something nutritious but easy for breakfast, it can be difficult. With the weather temperatures reaching the lower 70s last week, Spring has made its name known in Boston. Along with that nice weather, came the people who emerged from winter hibernation – myself included. Creating more time to spend outside whether it’s for a stroll in my neighborhood, a long run, or to get my hands dirty over at the Fenway Victory Gardens, has decreased the time I have in the kitchen. But it is a welcome change, and one that will surely carry me along until the last days of summer.
Granola is a no-brainer, simple companion to my morning routine. I like to eat it over greek yogurt with fresh fruit, over milk, or on its own as a snack. You can make a large batch of this and store it for a couple of weeks in an air-tight container. This would make a great gift for Mother’s Day or for the holidays later in the year. It would also make a great addition to a bake sale or food swap (if those are set up in your city). Like most of my recipes, many of the ingredients can be swapped for ingredients of your liking. Alternative ingredient bases include: tropical-based, citrus-based, berry-based, and so on.
March 16, 2013 § 3 Comments
A large theme of the 2013 International Boston Seafood Show was centered on sustainability. Sustainability is a popular buzz word in the food world, especially as the overproduction of seafood products has compromised its respective quality and availability. The show had a number of panels covering this hot topic, and many vendors openly expressed their support for sustainably produced seafood. I had the pleasure of meeting with John Carlill, from Scottish Development International representing the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, a luxury salmon farm industry supporter, to discuss how Scotland is taking on sustainable fishing practices.
When the issue of farmed salmon comes up in the alternative food community, some cringe and root strongly for wild-caught salmon. I too was in that category, until I recently researched other methods of farmed fishing. Though I am still an active supporter of wild-caught salmon and seafood practices, I believe a compromise needs to be made as the demand for salmon in the United States is currently unsustainable to meet the current supply. My suggested compromise is to maintain the availability of wild-caught salmon, and additionally supplement it with sustainably-caught salmon.