Joie de Vivre sauce for your recipe repertoire….

The following recipe is a combination of pistou & Sauce aux herbes ( a french  green sauce.) I love the combination of the anchovy , capers and herbs with a hint of garlic. Anchovies are to Mediterranean cuisine as fish sauce is to Asian cuisine.. Your not quite sure why the sauce is so unique and delicious as you taste it but you know it is special.

I call it Joie De Vivre because it adds so much sparkle to a dish.

I love the process of using a mortar and pestle for this sauce. ….each ingredient  releases such a wonderful aroma as you add it to the bowl and mash. Consider buying one if it is not one of your kitchen tools already.

The pleasure of cooking is not just in the eating, but also in the preparation. Planting a few herbs and harvesting them from your own garden, going to a farmers market and chatting with the farmers. Lots of chatting.. I don’t have the nickname Chatty Cathy for nothing! 

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You will need:

2 cloves of garlic

1 TBSP. of salt cured large capers. I love the CENTO Brand

3  small anchovy fillets

If salt cured rinse them slightly and pat dry.

If oil cured remove them from the oil and let them drain slightly.

 

2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon leaves, no stem

2 Tbsp. Italian flat leaf parsley leaves, no stem

2 Tbsp.  baby arugula leaves,

2 hard boiled egg yolks

! TBSP. olive oil

1 fresh lemon for juice

coarse ground black pepper

Put the garlic in the mortar bowl and crush with the pestle

add the capers and pound until they become a paste.

add the anchovies and pound well.

add the herbs and pound until well mixed.

the sauce will not be completely smooth but you may have pounded out any frustration you have had for the day…..Cooking is so good for the soul!

 

add the egg yolks, oil and lemon juice, one at a time and pound to combine between each ingredient.

Add a good pinch of coarsely ground black pepper. Store in a glass Mason jar up to one week.

 

Slather on a whole chicken before roasting or  use it on sauteed vegetables right before you remove them from the heat .

Spread this sauce on baguette and sprinkle with great  shredded Parmesan, broil quickly and you have the best crostini in the Universe!

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If you have some free time and want to explore French food at its roots then you must read “Simple French Food“by Richard Olney.

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It was written in 1974 and the text & recipes express so eloquently what chefs are doing right now in their commercial and home kitchens…….Getting back to locally sourced food , simply prepared with the best product available and shared with family & friends.

In France this is termed Gueuleton… translated to……. “a meal among friends made of many dishes and  washed down with great quantities of better than average wine with much conversation, gaiety and laughter.”

I think that is going to be the name of my new food venture…

That is the best kind of day♥ 

 

 

Have A Spring Fling That Turns Into A Summer Romance

Crazy thing to suggest? come on be Frivolous, “I love that word” ♥

 I am talking about your garden, which could be a few planter boxes or a small container & if your blessed by the garden Gods then you have a big area to plant. It doesn’t  matter as long as you get fresh vegetables from your garden to your plate. …..Home Grown and Kissed by the sun.

Today I tore out our winter garden, which was on its last leaf. Our winter weather has been having serious mood swings from hot to cold to windy to hot and I think we will be baking by the end of the week and not in my kitchen~!

Take the rest of May to plan out what you would like to try. One of my favorite suggestions to my clients is to start out with a container garden. A salsa garden to be exact. Using a 2 gallon container ,of any sort ,plant a one tomato plant of your choice. add a jalapeno plant and some cilantro seedlings….. in 30 days you will have the great start to awesome fresh salsa. Your local garden center will be glad to help you with this project and I can guarantee that you will eat up the results.

We have four 8′ X 4′ planter boxes and a dozen different container combinations. One of my favorite is a lime tree that I co- planted with french tarragon. The tarragon loves the shade of the lime tree and  I am always finding them tangled up together. The romance of the two flavors rubbed onto roasted Chicken is sublime!

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Companion planting makes so much sense, right? Especially if it is something that you use over and over.

EnJOY.

 

 

 

Peach & Habanero BBQ sauce

chefcatherinemcknight:

The best way to glaze a Ham for your Easter celebration! It is worth the effort and Peaches are early this year and in the Markets !

Originally posted on chefcatherinemcknight:

I love savory spicy BBQ sauce especially if it is made with Masumoto Peaches.

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Our friends Cindy and Ed Beck shared their tree with us!Image

Masumoto Farms is an organic peach farm near Fresno in Northern California. It has been in his family for generations.

Mas and his peaches, as well as his two books are delicious. Epitaph for a Peach and Wisdom Of the Last Farmer are absolutely two of my favorite books. His connection to his family and land are awe-inspiring!

Mas and his family share their heirloom peaches with a select group of people who adopt an heirloom peach tree for the year and then get the opportunity to pick from the tree over the course of two weekends in late July and Early August…My husband and I went with the Beck’s two years ago & their tree was right next to the Whole Food tree. 

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Cocoa & Cashew Truffles

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.                     -Roald Dahl

 

My magic cocoa & cashew truffles

2 cups pitted dates

1 cup dried figs

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup cocoa nibs

1 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup raw cocoa powder

Optional: 1/2 cup  Vanilla Vega protein powder ( I always add it!1)

using the blade of your food processor and the pulse setting

pulse the dates until well chopped.

add the figs and pulse to combine.

Add the cashews,pulse well to combine.

add the coconut and cocoa powder, pulse again,

add the cocoa nibs last and combine well…

roll the dough into 1″ truffles and roll in an equal mix of coconut flakes and cocoa powder ( I used a 1/2 cup of each.)

so delicious.. Add the protein powder to the last pulse  before you roll it in the cocoa coconut dust, to make a protein packed truffle to satisfy your sweet tooth and as a post workout snack!

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Spring is your chance to BLOOM!

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” ~ Socrates

My husband  planted an amazing  Spring garden for us. I have been getting handfuls of gorgeous greens for our salads. We garden organically so you have to look for extra goodies that might come in on the lettuce, things like spiders, grasshoppers, ants etc. Yesterday I found a tightly spun caterpillar web on the underside of a crispy leaf of Butter crunch lettuce.I wish I would have taken a picture of it before I transferred it back to the garden. I will never interrupt the process it takes to become a butterfly. (I also don’t want to eat caterpillars, a little squishy for me!)

Each one of us is so tightly wound ,like that cocoon, or attached snugly to something. 

What are you hanging onto that is keeping you from being a butterfly?

Today is a great day to begin. Just like all of the birds, bugs, plants & animals in nature we need to get started today. We now have 31 days until Easter Sunday.  Have you started your Spring cleaning yet?

I am not talking about your closet or garage. Let’s clean your pantry and physical body. You are worth it! 

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My Meyer Lemon blossoms. The honey Bees are buzzing around raiding the pollen. I wish I could find their secret stash of honey!

I had so many thoughts today as I was watching the activity in my garden but the biggest one was that all of the creatures out there looked so light.

floating, flitting, soaring, gliding and dancing in the new growth. Leaping from stem to stem or flower to flower Such freedom in their movements. Can you feel it, that energy? I could and it encouraged me and empowered me to be my healthiest self.

This salad tasted just like Spring with the crisp lettuce, arugula, beets, pea shoots, basil, tarragon, chives heirloom carrots, Thumbalina bell peppers,blueberries& mango. I also crumbled some bacon on top for some crunch and salty goodness. A drizzle of California olive oil and Banyls vinegar finished it.

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Sweet potatoes & The @Whole30

Sweet potatoes saved me during my 30 days on the @Whole30! I made then anyway they could be cooked. …..sauteed, mashed, grated, cubed or baked,they made it to my plate at least 4 times a week. When I put some of their magic on my plate I felt like my meal was complete. One little bite of grated sweet potatoes mixed with fresh chives and sauteed with a TBSP. of ghee and my tastebuds said “ah, thank you!”

So a quick little recipe to get you started, especially  if you have only had sweet potatoes at holiday time with marshmallow topping and you think you hate them!

Sweet potato fritter

1 organic sweet potato, peeled

2 TBSP. fresh chive, minced

pinch kosher salt

pinch coarse ground pepper

1 tsp. dried chipotle flakes

1 egg white. beaten

2 TBSP. almond flour

3 TBSP. ghee or clarified butter

 

Using a hand grater or your food processor, grate the sweet potato. Mix it a medium bowl with the salt,pepper, chipotle and chives.

next toss the grated potato with the almond flour to distribute evenly.

mix in the beaten egg white and mix thoroughly.

melt the ghee in a saute pan over medium high heat .

drop in large spoonfuls of the potato mixture and let it sizzle for about three minutes .

Flip it over and let it sizzle some more.. they should have a little crust top and bottom.

Serve these with your protein and lots of fresh veggies for dinner or with your eggs for breakfast..you will never miss mashed potatoes or pasta, I promise ♥

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Shown here with guacamole & bacon burger with a garden salad

Drinking Of The Green for St. Patrick’s Day

If you are planning on indulging in a Guinness (or two) today then a good start to the day would be a green juice.

All things green today, right?

Here is my favorite ….makes 32 ounces.

2 organic cucumbers

2 cups organic Italian parsley leaves

1 cup of Kale

4 stalks celery

1 apple

 

1/2″ piece fresh ginger root

1 lemon

Put all of the vegetables through the juicer and enjoy!

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Pasture Raised Eggs and other goodies on The Whole30

I grew up on a small farm in Northern California. I use the term farm loosely but we did have chickens, a garden and my beautiful  Quarter horses.

We grew( at various times and with various success) potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, melons etc……just enough to feed our large family of 8 kids and two adults.

My favorite breakfast was the delicious free range eggs our chickens provided us with. The yolks of a sunny side up egg looked like bright sunshine on the plate. I loved them scrambled with Vella dry jack cheese and chives from the garden.. makes me hungry to think about it. I still make scrambled eggs that way, just without the  Vella dry jack for now.

If you have to buy eggs at the farmers market or the store it can be very confusing..  Natural eggs?? aren’t they all natural? Organic Eggs? Again the confusion. Is the egg organic or the feed the chicken eats ?

free range?another one that’s really misleading… gets me thinking that the chickens are all running around and getting their pecking order on..but in reality they are probably moved from spot to spot in a portable pen on a small patch of ground.

Here is the deal.. buy pasture raised eggs if you can. That means that the chickens get to roam around freely in a pasture and eat grubs and stuff , as well as any organic feed they might be supplemented with.

But if you can, buy them from a farm that you have checked out yourself.. I get mine from a neighbor friend  who has chickens…. Illegally of course, but without the Rooster strutting around and looking for attention from the hens , it is a pretty quiet enterprise.

I also buy my pasture raised eggs at Whole Foods if I need to.  (like when the snooty neighbor who never eats, let alone an “OMG egg with butter!”, complained about my friends egg business and tried to shut it down)

Pictured is a great simple recipe for breakfast on the Whole30 or just because you want to start your day healthy and satisfied.

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 In order to make this the correct way you need to have Ghee or Clarified butter prepped. Here is the easy way to do that,

The night before... melt 4 sticks( 1 pound) of grass fed organic butter ( I love Strauss dairy) in a medium sauce pan on medium/high heat, let the butter melt completely and turn to simmer. Simmer for 8-10 minutes until it starts to crackle. This is the water evaporating out of the butter. The cream foam will rise to the surface( you may skim off if you like) and you will see the gold liquid start to separate on the bottom of the pan. It is okay to have some brown bits but do not let the butter burn.

note to self…..Do Not get sidetracked by your Instagram while melting the butter!

Turn off the heat and pour the liquid butter into a  small rectangular glass container with a lid. Let it chill overnight in the frig and then in the morning before you cook your breakfast, poke a large hole in the butter and pour off the milky liquid. These are the milk solids that cause burning when you use a pat of unclarified butter in a hot pan!

This clarified butter or simple ghee (There is a slight difference that you can research ) is now ready for the next weeks worth of cooking. I also refrigerate the clarified butter liquid it in a small ice cube tray so that I have  the proper portions already to go.  One cube is perfect for my big saute pan and is about a thumb size of good fat!

Back to the breakfast recipe:

Salsa  poached eggs with spinach and leeks

Ingredients for two servings:

2 portions of clarified butter

4  illegally raised pasture raised eggs

4 cups organic spinach

2 organic leeks, white part only, rinsed clean of sand

1 cup hot ,organic salsa of your choice, If store bought make sure it has no sugar!

salt and pepper to taste

prep the leeks .. cut them in half lengthwise and slice then thinly.

Using a large saute pan, turn on medium heat and pre heat the pan,

Add the butter and let it melt completely.

Add the leeks….. saute them until the start to get crispy edges.

Add the salsa and stir well.

Add the spinach and cook down. It will rapidly reduce in size and water will be created from the spinach leaves.

Crack your eggs over the  top of the spinach mix , sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover with a glass lid to poach the eggs with the steam.Poach the mix for approx. 5 minutes, Until  you see the egg white start to cook and become white.

When the white start to harden flip the mixture over gently.

Cook for three more minutes.

Devour and Have a delicious day!