A blog of hopeful, inspired living: cooking & baking & growing & harvesting & preserving & gleaning & eating & sharing food... while bringing positive change to my kitchen and our food system.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pain D'Amande: Italian Almond Cookies

I savor weekend mornings. It is so lovely to sleep in, loll out of bed to be handed a hot, freshly brewed cup of coffee, and then collapse again on the couch to leisurely read the paper. It gets better: eating these cookies. Before a bigger brunch production, weekend mornings allow for a treat over coffee. It depends on the weekend, and what I've been able to bake during the week (sometimes we have a slice of this). But these cookies are a favorite, both for their taste and texture and because the dough freezes so well. I take a log of dough out of the freezer, slice it up, and 15 minutes later have another round of the crisp, caramel-y, nutty goodness ready to munch. These are wonderful with coffee as well as with ice cream (these are a good choice, too). 

A couple weeks ago I found an undersized cookbook at the library that I almost passed by: Biscotti.  I almost passed by it because I didn't immediately notice the smaller print: Recipes from the kitchen of the American Academy in Rome, Rome Sustainable Food Project. Hmm -- what was this all about? Well, this is a very sweet little book from a cool program in Italy. It has a surprising number of recipes for its size, an introduction by Alice Waters, good photos, and overall thoughtfulness. The title 'biscotti' refers to a collection of Italian (or Italian-inspired) cookies, not just the super-crunchy, 'biscotti' slices served at every coffee shop everywhere.  The ingredients and recipes reflect the seasons, sustainability, and simplicity. The cookies are smaller and less sweet than typical 'cookies' -- and that is a good thing. These cookies are delicious and memorable.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Something Different: Photo Card Auction for #afundforjennie

Thus far, I've only posted food posts and food photos. You are in for something totally different today. As I wrote about last week, food blogger Jennie Perillo's husband recently died from a sudden heart attack, leaving her and her two small children with a tremendous weight of grief. Several food-blogger friends started Bloggers Without Border as a way to jump-start this fundraising event and online auction to raise funds to help Jennie and her girls. The results have been tremendous, uplifting and inspiring.

These botanical photo cards are my contribution to the auction for #afundforjennie: in addition to my love of food and taking photos of food, I also enjoy taking photos of flowers, plants and all things in nature. And I love my sweetheart for his patience as I lag behind on big hikes, hovering for long moments over small blossoms and crawling on my stomach through leaf litter.

The first 3 people who make a donation of $25 or more to #afundforjennie, by clicking the donate button below, and leaving a comment on this post letting me know that you made a donation will receive 5 original photo greeting cards (on watercolor-weight card stock), complete with matching envelopes, shipped anywhere in the U.S. You will receive one of each photo here or you can request multiples of specific photos, totaling 5 cards.  If the link below does not work, go HERE and click on the donate button. I will ship your photo cards within 10 days.  You can also browse other auction items.
Donate to Bloggers Without Borders

Thank you for for reading!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chocolate & Banana Pudding Parfaits (Vegan!)

This pudding is luscious, creamy and delicious -- both a tribute to how fabulous vegan treats can be and also to how well they can disguise as their non-vegan twins. You probably would not guess by the taste that this is not a regular, fabulous, milk/cream/eggs-based pudding. You probably also would not guess that it's made with... tofu. This is the first time I've tried vegan pudding. I was unsure if I would like it. I do! And here it is to inspire you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dilly Beans and a moment for gratitude

dill flower

There is something about putting up a batch of summer's green beans, watching the beautiful floating herbs marinating the beans. Later in the year, when the days are shorter, it feels exciting and nostalgic to pick out a jar to share. Peering in at the amber liquid and floating beans and spices, we may as well be munching on time suspended, summer preserved. It calls up memories of a beautiful, perfect season together. Which this is. It makes me grateful for the passing of time and the gift of that time.  How lucky and blessed we are.

Also, Bill absolutely adores Dilly Beans and makes a big deal about opening a jar. It brings me immense joy to see him happily snacking on them next to me. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Zucchini Marmalade Bread

I've been continuing on my zucchini craze lately -- trying desperately to eat the pounds of zucchini that appear each morning on my super-happy zucchini plant bush. I've also continued to tackle Tartine as my bed-side book of choice before I have to return it to the library. This recipe for zucchini marmalade bread utilizes both my stock pile of zucchini as well as my pantry full of homemade marmalade. It makes a moist, flavorful bread with a lot of depth. It is lovely as is, and toasts well. We enjoy eating it for breakfast as well as for an afternoon treat with a cup of tea.  If there's a break in the heat this summer, and you can bear to turn on your oven, I recommend giving this recipe a try. If the heat is unbearable, grate up some zucchini and freeze it for later.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Grilled Eggplant & Fresh Tomato Salad

Another fabulous summer veggie recipe for you! The name Grilled Eggplant & Fresh Tomato Salad does not quite do this recipe justice, but it looked a bit excessive to write Grilled Eggplant, Fresh Cherry Tomato, Feta, Balsamic and Mint Salad. That's what this salad is: those five ingredients tossed together create an exceptionally flavorful and fresh summer side dish. This is a perfect recipe to try if you are already planning to grill. The eggplant only grills for a few minutes on each side, so it can easily share the flame with your other grillables.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Spicy Summer Green Beans

After posting this recipe, I've received a couple requests for more veggie recipes. I hear that. I love my ice cream maker a little too much, perhaps. And cookies. Definitely love the cookies. A lot. But I go to a couple different farmers' markets each week and could definitely be sharing more of the summer's market-recipe bounty.

This Spicy Green Bean recipe is a big go-to dish in our house. We make it a couple times a week and eat it with just about everything. You may be a bit more choosy in your flavor-partnering, but we mix up all sorts of flavors, from all parts of the world. The spices used here are Indian-inspired. If you don't have these spices on hand, they stock them at Indian grocers, as well as at well-stocked grocery stores (or try this place online -- a great herb and spice shop). Feel free to eliminate the fenugreek if you don't have it (but I do recommend giving it a try -- it has a distinctive fragrance and flavor). You can change up the flavor a bit and add other things, like curry powder or chopped fresh basil at the end, or make it more or less spicy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sparkling Strawberry Mint Limeade

This Sparkling Strawberry Mint Limeade is a refreshing, family- and party- friendly drink to get you through hot summer days. Fresh ingredients and some bubble from the club soda make an ultra-cooling and delicious treat. Looking for something boozy instead? Add a shot of vodka or rum and you're set.