June 2013

polaroids from a day in santa cruz

Posted on June 24, 2013

A few weekends ago we met friends in Santa Cruz. We caught a few solid rides before the tide turned on us and we decided to head in. We ate lunch at The Picnic Basket. In a land of corn dogs and funnel cakes, they serve beautiful local food. I don’t turn my nose up at funnel cake, but something so fresh and good on the boardwalk was a nice surprise. After we finished eating we still had time on the meter so we walked around the neighborhood.

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The meter ran out and we parted ways. Jordan and I drove up the coast as the fog rolled back in. We stopped to get strawberries and artichokes. We listened to Eat a Peach. It felt like summer.

-Emily

green smoothie

Posted on June 20, 2013

We’ve been having smoothies for breakfast everyday for a while now and have been tweaking this recipe along the way. It started out as an attempt to sneak more leafy greens into my diet, but Jordan and I both got hooked. It’s a great way to start the day—fresh and full of fruits and veggies. We use one of those infomercial-famous Magic Bullet blenders, which was my dad’s parting gift when I moved out of the house, so this recipe for a single serving.

Like all smoothie recipes, this recipe is flexible. If you’re missing an ingredient, swap it for something else in your crisper. Also, if you’ve got a winning smoothie recipe, please let us know. We’ve been enjoying this one for about a month straight, but I expect we’ll hit a wall with it eventually.

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Green Smoothie
1 banana
2 – 3 tablespoons of frozen pineapple tidbits
2 – 3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup fresh spinach (or as much as you can cram into the remaining space in the blender)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup coconut water

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Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Though the Magic Bullet infomercial claims it will make a fruit smoothie in miraculous 5 seconds, mine usually takes about a minute.

-Emily

sucré macarons giveaway {closed}

Posted on June 11, 2013

Today is an exciting day! Today you have the chance to win these delicious cookies!

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Before you think, “Dang, Emily, you’ve gotten so good at making delicate french pastries. And snap, that packing is impressive for a food blog,” I’ll clarify. I have yet to attempt the difficulties of the french macron—though the idea will eternally be bouncing around in my head. These beautiful macrons are from Sucré, an artisanal sweet boutique in New Orleans specializing in macarons and chocolates and glorious baked goods.

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They kindly send Jordan and me a box of their delicious macrons, which we promptly devoured in one sitting. Our plan was just to have one as an after work snack before starting dinner, but these cookies are good—impossible to just have one good. I was a big fan of pistachio and dark chocolate, Jordan was torn between pecan and salted caramel.

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We know you’ll love them too, which is why we’re happy to say that Sucré has offered to send a box to one of our readers. Comment below to enter to win some of these delightful confections delivered right to your door! Giveaway ends next Tuesday June 18th so get on it!  Giveaway closed. Congratulations Elisabeth Springer! Thanks for playing along everyone!

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caramelized onion tart

Posted on June 9, 2013

Every time I have caramelized onions, I wonder why caramelization isn’t obligatory for all onions. It is just magical how onions can transform from sharp and pungent to sweet and magnificent with just a little heat and a little patience. This tart is lovely because it lets the onions shine. If you can crank out a decent pie crust, all the better. Flaky dough + creamy onions = heaven.

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You could also consider this tart a perfect opportunity to eat bacon. I’d cook the bacon first, drain off some of the fat from the pan, add a tablespoon of butter and then saute the onions in the bacon fat and butter combo. Chop up the bacon in to bits and then combine them with the onion custard before you pour it into the tart shell.

We had this tart for dinner with a salad and roasted veggies. It would also go nicely with soup or roast chicken. I had it for lunch the next day and can attest that it reheats like a dream—in the unlikely event that you have leftovers.

Simple Caramelized Onion Tart, adapted from Orangette
1/2 recipe for flaky pie dough
3 tablespoons butter
2 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg
salt
pepper
pinch of nutmeg

Flaky Pie Crust 
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
about 5 tablespoons ice water

Make the pie crust the night before. In a food processor, combine flour and salt. Remove the butter from the fridge and cut into 1 inch cubes. Add them to the flour mixture. Process until the butter chunks are about the size of peas. Add the water and pulse a few times to combine. Divide into two equal balls, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

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In a heavy-bottomed pan over medium low heat, melt two tablespoons of butter. Add the onions. Caramelize the onions stirring occasionally. Depending on your stove, this will take somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 minutes.

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While your onions are caramelizing, roll out the pie dough. Put it in a 9-inch tart pan and trim off the excess. My favorite Julia Child trick for getting perfect edges on a tart is to drape the excess dough over the edges of the pan and then roll the rolling pin on top of the dough over the edges of pan. The sharp edges of the pan will cut through the dough and you can easily pull away the excess. Put the tart shell in the fridge until your onions are done caramelizing.

Whisk together the egg, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

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After the onions are a medium brown, remove them from the heat. Mix them with the egg mixture and pour into the tart pan. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes, until the top of the tart is golden brown. Unmold the tart and serve hot or let cool to room temperature and serve.

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-Emily

simple tomato soup

Posted on June 4, 2013

For once I don’t have much to say. The past two weeks have really been tough and my brain refuses to remember what spurred me to make tomato soup in the first place, not to mention the struggle to come up with anything in the way of creative prose.  This soup is simple and good. It wouldn’t hurt to pair it with a sage grilled cheese sandwich or perhaps a cheesy bun. A simple salad wouldn’t be amiss.

In case the idea of tomato soup intrigues you, but you don’t feel up to making it from scratch, I’d recommend the creamy tomato soup from Whole Foods – either their prepared version from the deli or the boxed one – and would avoid the creamy tomato soup from Trader Joe’s – it’s strangely sweet and needed a fair amount of doctoring to be palatable.

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Tomato Soup, adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, sliced
1 – 2  leeks, sliced and rinsed of their grit
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 – 28 oz cans of  tomatoes, or four pounds fresh tomatoes
2 tablespoons white rice
1 bay leaf
2 springs of thyme, basil or oregano
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper

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In a large heavy-bottomed pan, saute onion and leeks in olive oil and butter. Cover and cook until soft but not brown, 5 -10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add the tomatoes, rice, bay, herbs and salt.  Saute for 10 minutes. Add the water and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.

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Remove the herb sprig and bay leaf. Blend the soup until as smooth as possible. Strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer into another pot. It is worth the straining, trust me.

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Rewarm the soup and add the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with creme fraiche and croutons.

Bite-Sized Croutons
several slices day-old bread
olive oil
salt

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I like my croutons to be manageable. Huge croutons that fill your mouth and seem like they’ll crack your teeth are not my thing. Make these using any old french bread you’ve got lying around.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Slice the bread into 1/3″ – 1/2″ cubes. Toss with olive oil. Spread onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake 20 minutes, until browned and just slightly crunchy. They’ll get crunchier as they cool.

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-Emily