IT’S BERRY GOOD!

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It’s fall in Los Angeles which means HOT.

If you are an Angeleno you know what I mean.

No sweater weather, no warm cider, or cuddling with your special someone under a blanket at a football game.

Instead it’s air conditioning on full blast, shift dresses and trips to the beach.

 The worst is getting into your car and grabbing the steering wheel only to discover

it is hotter than the surface of the sun and you’ll loose a layer of  tender skin that has stuck to your car seat. 

Ouch!

So the only thing to do is to cool off by eating something cold and I have the perfect recipe.

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I got the recipe from my friend Megan who is a member of my Cooking Club and she brought dish last time we met.

It’s a Pamela Salzman recipe for Food Processor Strawberry Gelato.

I’d say its more sorbet like, but whatever it is, it’s delicious!

Another bonus is that it is actually on the healthier side of things, especially if you cut the sugar.

It’s easy to make, and will definitely

cool your jets.

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Here’s the recipe:

Food Processor Strawberry Gelato

2 pounds strawberries hulled and cut into 1/2″ pieces

1/4-2/3 cup granulated sugar (depending on sweetness of strawberries)

1/4  Cup Whole Greek Yogurt

3 Tablesppons freshly squeezed orange juice

Once Cut Toss Strawberries with sugar and orange juice in a large bowl.

Arrange on a rimmed cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator for 2 or more hours.

Once the strawberries are frozen, scrape off of the sheet into the food processor and add the Greek Yogurt.

Pulse a couple of times and then blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl about 3-4 minutes.

There will be big chunks of strawberries, but they will break down!

Serve Immediately or put into a sealed contrainer and freeze.

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Enjoy!

xoxo 

Carrie

P.S. It’s great to be back!

Thanks for the encouragement Naomi, Jessica and Simone 

Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread

We all have Holiday Traditions

That’s what makes Holidays fun.

One tradition I wait all year for is Monkey Bread.

Christmas morning would not be complete without it.

Coffee/Fire/Christmas Music/ Monkey Bread and it’s been that way as far as I can remember.

I also like knowing that the same thing will be going on with my sisters at their homes Christmas morning.

It is the perfect thing to tide you over until Christmas Brunch.

It’s gooey, delicious, makes the whole house smell amazing, and it’s super easy so no added stress.

It is a recipe that will take you 10 minutes and you do it the night before.

The next morning all you have to do is pre-heat your oven and pop the pan into the oven.

It’s midwest goodness, certainly not a culinary masterpiece or high-end in any way, but even the biggest foodie snob will be swayed.

Here’s the recipe.

Monkey Bread

1 package frozen dinner rolls (18-20)

½ cup pecans

1 package butterscotch pudding (do not use the instant kind, the old school real deal)

6 Tablespoons melted butter

½ cup brown sugar

3 teaspoons cinnamon

  1. Grease a Bundt pan with Pam or Canola Spray
  2. Sprinkle bottom of pan with the pecans
  3. Arrange 18-20 dinner rolls in pan
  4. Sprinkle Package of pudding over rolls
  5. Combine melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon
  6. Drizzle mixture over rolls
  7. Cover with plastic wrap that you have sprayed with Pam so it doesn’t stick to rolls
  8. Let the Monkey Bread Sit over night
  9. Bake in 325 degrees oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Invert on plate and serve

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!

xoxo Carrie

Veg Out!

Cooking Club Table

I hosted Cooking Club this past month and decided on a vegetarian theme.

I am always looking for a vegetarian option at home and when I am entertaining.

I have a good number of vegetarians in my life so I like to have an arsenal of recipes on hand that will impress them and still satisfy the others at the table who are not.

I also try to have our family eat a vegetarian diet a couple of days a week and I was bored with my usual recipes, and needed some inspiration.

I knew my Cooking Club gals would turn it out and would introduce some delicious new recipes that I could put into rotation.

They did not disappoint.

I think it may have been one of the top meals we have cooked.

Tarts

The host makes the main dish so I decided to make a couple of tarts.

Always a crowd pleaser and filling.

The first was a Corn and Heirloom Tomato Tart  recipe by Daniel Boulud published in  Elle Decor a few months back.

Perfect for the last days of summer sweet corn and juicy tomato’s.

Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

The other, a wild mushroom tart from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

I am a wild mushroom fanatic and this recipe satiated that obsession.

An added bonus was that it was super easy.

Either tart is perfect for a light lunch or dinner party.

 Make one for the family and dine on the left overs all week.

Sally's Cauliflower RecipeSally  made a Roasted Cauliflower and Chick Pea recipe from Gwenyth Paltrow’s new cookbook,  “It’s All Good”.

Gywneth Cookbook

I’ll come clean and will admit to owning the cookbook.

I have actually found numberous recipes that are not short on flavor and  healthy to boot.

 Of course there are the annoying “Gwyneth” bits to the book.

But I will give credit where credit is due.

Sally's Eggplant

Sally raised the bar with this Burnt Eggplant and Tahini recipe from the “Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi” Cookbook.

Plenty Cookbook

Normally not a huge fan of the eggplant, but this had such depth of flavor, the smokiness of the blackened eggplant and sweet pop of pomegranate made it a winner.

I hoarded the left overs and hid it from my husband.

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On a side note, member Heather was unable to attend, but she swears by Plenty’s

Green Bean Salad with Mustard and Tarragon  recipe.

Jessica's Carrot Soup

Another hit was Jessica’s  Carrot Soup with Lime Creme Fraiche.

A recipe from a family friend and it rocked.

It’s officially my new go to soup recipe.

Carrot Ginger Soup w/ lime crème fraiche

Ginger Oil:

1 c. canola oil

2 T ground ginger

1-1/2 T ground turmeric

Carrot-Ginger Soup:

2-1/2 T olive oil

1 white onion, thinly sliced

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 small jalapeno, seeded & thinly sliced

1 t peeled grated fresh ginger

4 large carrots (~1 pound), peeled & sliced

4 c. chicken or veg broth

salt & cayenne pepper

Lime Crème Fraiche:

1/2 c. crème fraiche

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 T minced fresh cilantro

Salt & Garnish w/ Sprigs of cilantro

Freshly cracked black pepper

To make the Ginger Oil:

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Carefully whisk together &

pour into a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over med-hi heat & return to

the bowl.  Refrigerate overnight to infuse the oil w/ flavor.  The following

day, carefully ladle off the yellow ginger oil & store in a bottle or other

airtight container.  Discard the solids.  The oil will keep in the

refrigerator almost indefinitely.

 

Heirloom Tomato with Yogurt Basil Drizzle

We finished off the night with Lentils from Lulu,Heirloom Tomato with Basil Yogurt Drizzle from Megan, Truffled Israeli Cous Cous with Meyer Lemon and Basil and Zucchini Parmesan Crisps from Nicki. For dessert Stacy made her family’s Zucchini Bread recipe (not only perfect for dessert but also with a cup of coffee the next morning) and my hero Vanessa who rallied despite being 38 weeks pregnant (I was couch surfing at that stage in my pregnancy) with her delicious and complex Chocolate Thai Green Curry Cake.

Seriously good stuff.

Try out the recipes and let me know which is your favorite.

Bring more vegetarian dishes to your diet.

Healthy, flavorful, delicious.

So my dear readers kick that pork chop to the curb and get cooking!

xoxo Carrie

Food Photos: Sally Horchow, Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi and Whole Foods.

My 5 Favorite Salads

Carrie table scape

I love a hearty salad.

The perfect one plate meal.

Here are 5 that are at the top of my list.

It’s no surprise that most come from my all time favorite cookbooks.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

1. Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

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The Barefoot Contessa does it again!

This recipe, featured in her Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics Cookbook  is

a great winter time meal, accompanied by a nice bowl of soup and crunchy bread.

Time Saver: I buy squash that has already been peeled and cut so all I have to do is throw it on a pan.

MachePhoto: Kitchenography

2. Salad of Mache,  Raw Asparagus, Pistachios and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Zuni Cafe Cookbook

This recipe comes from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook  and is a great  Spring time salad especially with the season’s first crop of asparagus.

Judy Rodgers is a genius.Zuni Cafe is one of my all time favorite restaurants and the cookbook is a gem.

Time Saver: Trader Joe’s sells Mache pre-washed in bags.  I also buy my shelled pistachios there.

winter-salad

3.  Winter Chopped Salad

Seriously Simple Holidays

This recipe comes from Diane Rossen Worthington’s: Seriously Simple Holidays.

I make this over and over and over.

I crave it.

Time Saver: Buy a rotisserie chicken!

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Photo:Miseenplace

4. Persimmon & Pomegranate Salad with Arugula & Hazelnuts

Sunday Suppers at Lucques

This gorgeous salad is from Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques.

It’s another great winter salad. Persimmons are at their peak.
Always worth waiting for, especially in this salad.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of a Sunday Supper at Goin’s consistently awesome LA restaurant Lucques, you can recreate some of her menus at home.

This is a must own cookbook.

5. Iceberg Lettuce and Watercress Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

The Gourmet Cookbook

Nothing wrong with a wedge. Decadent and delicious. Crunchy Goodness.

Yum!

The recipe for this Blue Cheese Dressing is my hands down favorite.

This recipes comes from The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl.

It’s a well-worn and loved cook book in my kitchen.

When I serve this at a dinner party there are no leftovers on the plates.

Sometimes when I am home alone (which is very seldom) I make this recipe, pour a glass of wine and sit down and savor the delights of this salad.

It is a bit naughty, especially when I crumble a piece of well cooked bacon on top so I don’t do it often, but when I do it’s worth the extra workout.

So what are your favorite salads?

I’d love to hear.  It’s always great to get a new one into rotation.

xoxo Carrie

Fall Decor Galore

I love fall.

It has always been my favorite season.

Pumpkins, Gords, Cider, Ghosts and Ghouls.

Sweater Weather

Football

Colorful leaves

Soup

Halloween!

Our neighborhood goes crazy on Halloween. Neighbors set up a huge Bouncy House,  show Horror Movies in the Driveway,  there’s an outside bar for parents where they can grab a roadie while the trick or treat with the kids.  I have a ton of people over, swing open the front door, order a ton of pizza and stock the bar and everyone uses our house as home base.

              Last year we went through 18 pounds of a candy.

This year I jumped the gun a bit on the decorating and had the house done by October 1st.

Perhaps I was rebelling against the heat wave outside hoping that the thermometer would dip below 70.

I hit the bank busting Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch and the galley of paparazzi waiting to catch a celeb buying a pumpkin.

It’s a bit over the top.

But Caroline loves it and so do I.

And yes, I bought a $50 pumpkin.

I also love baking with Pumpkin this time of year.

I love pumpkin bread and muffins.

Pumpkin Pancakes.

Pumpkin Filled Ravioli with Fried Sage Butter.

 Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Soup.

Put a little Creme Fraiche and Caramelized Pepitas on top and it is delicious.

I also love the Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie recipe from the Seriously Simple Holidays Cookboook.

You can find Pumpkin Ice Cream seasonally and as soon as it has hit the freezer I create a reason to make this pie.

It is so easy and so simple.

Just like a lazy fall day.

How do you celebrate the season?

xoxox Carrie

My Favorite Fall Soups

Though it is going to be in the high 80’s today, I am thinking about Fall.  Fall foods in particular.   To me Fall means Soup and I can’t wait to start making them.  Such an easy way to feed the family.  Some are meals in themselves, others you just need some crusty bread and a salad and dinner is served.

I always try to make extra and eat it through the week or freeze it for a day when I need something on the fly to feed the troupes.  I also love to hand out soup as gifts.  Never heard a complaint about that.

I find all soups to be comforting, nourishing both body and soul.

 Here are my top five favorite soups, in no particular order.

1. Poblano Corn Chowder With Shrimp

Photo: www.epicurious.com

 

2. Squash and Fennel Soup

Photo: www.amateurgourmet.com

3. Italian Wedding Soup

Photo: www.inspired2cook.com

4. Roasted Potato Leek Soup

Photo: www.ezrapoundcake.com

5. Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Chimichurri and Poblano Creme Fraiche

Photo: www.food52.com

What are your favorite soup recipes?

Please share!

xoxo Carrie

Top Photo: www.abhisphotos.com

A Night Out on the Farm

I love my  visits to the midwest, especially during the summer.

Last night we went out to my favorite haunt when I am visiting my sister.

It’s called Heritage Prairie Farm and we went for Mike’s Wood Burning Oven Pizza night.  The ingredients are all plucked from the farm and local food artisans.  The pizza oven is set up outside in back of the little farm stand.  You sit on picnic tables mere feet from an adorable Burrow, Goats and Corn.  Once you place your order you head on into the farm stand for beverages.  That night the signature drink was fresh honey, mint, lemonade and vodka, served in Mason Jars (of course). We loved the pizza so much that were eating off our children’s plates, when the tears started we realized it was in our best interest to order another pizza. We ordered a simple margarita for the kids (the mozzarella made just a few miles away), 4 cheese pizza with homemade bacon,  fresh spinach with a white garlic sauce and pepperoni, and a sausage/bacon/wild mushroom pizza.

We ate so fast I forgot to snap a shot of the pizzas when they arrived at the table.

Luckily, I got this before the plate was empty.

If you don’t want to sit at a picnic table to enjoy pizza and cocktails, you can cozy up to this spot.

Perfect for wine drinking and sunset watching.


My Favorite Goat

The kids ran around and danced to The Stones, played with the animals and picked apples off the tree.  While they were working off their steam I ventured(cocktail in hand) into the market for a little damage. I love their home-grown products and I love to support the farm.  Win-Win.  I gathered bags of freshly milled whole grain wheat, buckwheat and organic popcorn.  Jars of homemade pickles and pickled beets.  And a ton of honey….Rosemary, Lavender, Cocoa and Plain.  I bought flights of honey for hostess gifts.

The lovely Ladies of Heritage Prairie Farm

Despite the drought that has devastated the midwest, they had fresh corn for sale along with a variety of other organically grown vegetables.

Mozzarella that was used for our pizza and for sale in the shop

Part of my Haul

The Farm also offers the venue up for weddings and events.  They have cooking classes, a Saturday Farmer’s Market, and year round Farm Dinners that are based on seasonal crops.  Next time, I am scheduling my trip around a Farm Dinner!

Sun setting and stomaches full, we headed on home.

Thanks Heritage Prairie Farms for another great experience!

xoxo Carrie

What do you do with a Lima Bean?

I bought a large bag of fresh shelled organic lima beans at the Farmer’s Market.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them, but decided since they were in season I’d buy them and figure it out later.

I searched The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl and found  Herbed Lima Bean Hummus.

                            

It was as delicious as it was easy.

I also suggest that if you don’t have this cookbook, you should.

Buy it here: www.amazon.com

I consult it on a regular basic  for inspiration when I don’t know what to do with a particular item of food.

Happy Cooking!

xoxo

Carrie