February 7, 2011 § Leave a comment
When I am figuring out a menu, I always try to find flavors and colors that balance each other out. For example, when I serve something heavy as a main course, I like to offset it with either an extremely light side or a very sweet accompaniment. With this simple corn pudding, the bright color and intensely sweet taste is a great accent to a boldly flavored main course, such as a rack of lamb or a Mexican feast. The shot of golden color is like a ray of sunshine on your plate.
There are also two ways I would serve this as a side: either bake it off in a large baking dish and then serve family style or make individual portions in little ramekins so that everyone gets his or her own little portion. For a casual dinner, I would go with the former; but for a little bit more formal feel, I would serve individual portions.
- 4 cups organic sweet corn kernels (either cut off a cob or you can sometimes find organic sweet corn kernels in the freezer section)
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan or quattro formaggio cheese, separated into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup portions
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium buttered skillet, saute the onions until they become clear, then add the corn. If you are using frozen corn, you can put the frozen kernels right in without defrosting. Saute the onions and corn for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- While the corn is cooling, combine eggs, milk, cream, salt, and pepper in a bowl and beat together with a fork. Stir in the 1/2 cup of Parmesan.
- When the corn is cooled, put it into a medium baking dish or individual ramekins, filling either about 2/3 deep (so that you have enough room to pour in the custard mixture). Pour in the custard mixture and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the pudding is golden brown on top. Serve.
I would love to know if you tried making this and what you served it with!
January 12, 2011 § Leave a comment
When looking for a fast and crowd pleasing side, I frequently turn to potatoes. So when friends gathered at our place last weekend, I found myself wanting to dress the potatoes up without adding more prep time. I decided to experiment with balsamic vinegar – it turns out that it gets along well with the potatoes, garlic, onions and spices in this recipe.
The idea behind this dish is to get the potatoes to a daringly dark color that toes the appearance of being burnt. The balsamic adds an intense depth of flavor, as well as a glorious mahogany color to the plate.
- 1 medium yellow onion (cut into large pieces)
- 4 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)
- 1 teaspoon of thyme
- 1 cup of balsamic
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine ingredients in a baking dish and toss together. Make sure that the olive oil and butter coat the potatoes evenly. You will probably feel like you have added far too much balsamic vinegar, but not to worry – there is a method behind the madness! The balsamic vinegar is what gives this dish character.
Place on top rack of preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until top layer of potatoes appears very dark and almost burnt.
Remove from oven and toss. Serve.
July 28, 2010 § 2 Comments
Since I eat vegetables all of the time, I try to spruce them up by putting a variety of fresh vegetables in a soup, or in baked pasta, or in enchiladas, the list can go one forever. The point is, I forgot just how good fresh veggies can be on their own. These veggie kabobs make a great dinner and only needed some rice (I made coconut pineapple rice) to make a full meal. So if you want to enjoy summer, use your grill, and have a light dinner (one that doesn’t leave you comatose on the couch afterward) these kabobs are perfect!
- Various vegetables (I used peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, and sweet onion.)
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. Ancho chili powder
- 1 tsp. chili sesame oil (you can use regular sesame oil, if your don’t like spicy foods)
- 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Soyaki
- 2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (less or more depending on your spice level)
- Zest of 2 limes
- Juice of 2 limes
- Toasted sesame seeds to sprinkle
1. Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then add in the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Let all of the flavors in your homemade marinade mix together while you chop up your fresh vegetables and start your grill.
2. Cut your vegetables into chunks. You want all of the veggies to be roughly the same size, so they finish cooking at the same time. Make sure to cut your onions and peppers into large chunks because they will be the veggies that finish cooking first.
3. Once you have cut all of the vegetables, arrange them on the skewers in whatever order you want. I usually use a pattern because it looks great on the plate.
4. Put all of the vegetable skewers in a baking dish. Brush each skewer with the homemade marinade. If you have leftover marinade, pour it onto the skewers. Let the skewers soak in the marinade for about 15 minutes.
5. Put the skewers on the grill. Rotate and baste the kabobs every 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are cooked all the way through. The timing on the vegetables depend on which veggies you used, so just check up on them and make sure they don’t burn to a crisp. When the veggies are done, use a basting brush to brush the kabobs with the marinade again. To finish them off, sprinkle them with toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
March 21, 2010 § Leave a comment
I recently moved from Marina del Rey to West Hollywood, so I was a little nervous and excited to visit my new West Hollywood Sunday farmers market (located on Melrose Place & Croft). Would the selection be as great as it was at the Main St. market in Santa Monica? Would the veggies be as fresh? The wait was making me very excited!
Alas, Sunday morning I walked on over to the market — it was small with far fewer vendors than the Main St. one, but the selection was great! I could not be happier. The fact that it was small only made it easier to get in and out very quickly without wading through the typical crowd in Santa Monica.
Here are my finds from this week’s market trip:
February 12, 2010 § Leave a comment
This salad is very popular in Russian households, especially in the wintertime when roots (carrots, potatoes, beets, etc) are readily available. Although this is a salad, it is definitely hearty enough to be served as a light dinner main course. It is best served at room temperature or cold.
This recipe is quite simple and it is perfect for the end of the week because the roots you get at the farmers market will still be nice and fresh.
- 1 lb boiled potatoes (I used mini potatoes — you could use any size, just make sure they are young potatoes)
- 4 boiled fist-sized beets
- 1/2 lb boiled carrots (I used red carrots, but regular orange ones are fine too)
- 1 cup peas (I used Trader Joe’s organic frozen peas)
- 4 dill pickles or 1 large dill pickle
- 2 small yellow onions OR 1 large yellow onion
- 1 large APPLE (add it if you have it, it will change your life)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Note on boiled vegetables: In order to prepare the boiled vegetables, simply wash them and boil them in a large pot so that the water is always covering them. Boil on medium for about 30-45 minutes. Test with a fork to make sure they are cooked: stick a fork into the largest vegetable and if the fork slides in and out smoothly, they are done.
Do not worry about peeling anything before boiling. It is much easier to peel them once they are cooked. Once the vegetables are cooked, peel the beets and the carrots by simply scraping your knife over the skins until they come off. See picture below.
Next, cut the vegetables, apple and pickles into 1/4″ pieces and combine in a bowl with peas, olive oil, salt and pepper:
Mix and serve. (I can’t get over the beautiful color of the beets!)