Friday, April 30, 2010

Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Pecans and Goat Cheese

This is one of those rather elegant staple menu items in our home that, though served on more occasions that I can recall, our mouths still salivate each time we meet the delectable flavors that greet us on our plates. I find Portobello mushrooms to be a savory reprieve from meat while still fortifying good nutrition and protein, especially when combined with the pecans and goat cheese. This dish pairs nicely with a glass of crisp white wine and a simple Mixed Greens and Citrus Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Organic Broccoli Crowns with Chevre Sage Sauce ~ Gluten-free & Dairy-free

When my son, Alessandro, tasted this dish, he fell to the ground exclaiming, “It’s so good, I fell to heaven!” You have to understand, of course, that he is nine years old and that being said, such a reaction is quite a compliment when you consider that this dish features broccoli. (He is also dairy-intolerant, by the way, and has quite the refined palette for his years.) Alessandro, enjoying fine cuisine as he does, relishes in taking part in its preparation. In fact, he aspires to be a chef someday, already labeling his restaurant after himself. We’ll see where his dreams take him. For now, I enjoy his little hands in the kitchen and it creates savory memories.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chocolate-Lavender & Fig Torte ~ Gluten-free, Dairy-free

Some things are just good for the soul. A quiet morning spent gazing out the window with the sound of songbirds echoing in the distance. A lazy summer afternoon sipping iced tea in the garden. Curling up with a sumptuous book in front of a blazing fire on a snowy winter’s day. Gazing into the eyes of one’s true love. An artist-date with one’s self. Grandma’s chocolate cake.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gluten-Free Organic Juniper Pot Roast

This recipe came to me while I was out for a run one rainy afternoon. My thoughts were on creating an elegant spin on the traditional pot roast dinner. I was considering juniper and bay, a combination I had not yet tested, but my sense was that juniper may impart a nice flavor and compliment the flavors of bay and beef agreeably. I tested various formulas in my mind as I traversed the hillside streets overlooking the Puget Sound. As I rounded a particular bend, I noticed a lovely stand of juniper bushes. Juniper varieties grow prolifically in the Pacific Northwest and serve as a wonderful ornamental. Though this particular variety was not that which produces edible berries, it was perfect confirmation for my creativity and spurred me to fashion up this recipe.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sautéed Dandelion Greens with Shallots

It’s remarkable how many edible plants surround us in our everyday lives. Though we consciously choose to develop a sustainable garden on our property, even those whose aim is simply to maintain an elegant outdoor surrounding to compliment their home or a fun-filled play area for their children may have edibles within their reach. Dandelions are such an example, and one whose qualities as a valuable bitter green are often disregarded. You can find dandelions growing in just about every climate; they are hearty and prolific in variable conditions. Kids amuse at blowing their dried seeds laced with their wishes into a gentle summer breeze. Adults often find them pesky lawn and garden intruders, robbing the soil of nutrients meant to fortify planned garden varieties.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chicken with Walnut and Pomegranate Sauce (Khoresht Fesenjaan)

This is a very special recipe. If you know anyone of Persian descent or familiar with Persian cuisine, they will no doubt rave about this amazing dish. It is traditionally served for special occasions and holidays and is called Khorescht Fesenjaan. It may be prepared with chicken or lamb, but is prepared with duck by tradition. I happen to prefer it with chicken so that is what I have used here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dairy-free Garlic Mashed Parsnips and Potatoes

Who doesn’t enjoy a nice helping of mashed potatoes once in a while? Well, as a dairy-free gastronome, I find myself passing these by in frequent when they are prepared outside of my own kitchen. When I do make them, I like to mix it up a bit by incorporating parsnips in the recipe. Parsnips have been cultivated in Europe since the 1500s and are believed to have originated in the Mediterranean, presumably consumed since ancient times. The addition of these root vegetables into the recipe adds a delightful and unique flavor. They are a less starchy than potatoes in fact the carbohydrates in them are derived from

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gluten-Free Pasta Puttanesca

I know I have mentioned that my husband is half Irish, now it is time to celebrate the other half…the Italian half. His mother’s family came from a town a bit east of Rome called Foggia. My husband’s grandfather was the mayor of Foggia before immigrating to the U.S. My husband grew up watching his grandfather tend his vegetable garden and guiding the pasta yields so carefully created by his grandmother’s hand. Consequently, I cannot take credit for this dish. It is my husband’s specialty. Tonight, he cooked and I took careful notes on his method. I have attempted to replicate this dish, but it never quite tastes the same as when it emanates from his Italian soul. We call this dish, "Puttanesca al  Donovino."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Organic Asparagus with Dairy-free Béarnaise Sauce, Chevre and Marcona Almonds

Like many of the recipes I develop, this one was inspired by a menu selection we happened along at a local bistro. The dish was neither gluten-free nor dairy-free, but it smelled fabulous and, as I am told, it tasted delicious. It is rather easy to prepare and dresses up asparagus, a vegetable I love on its own. However, this makes it something special and bumps it up a few notches on the delectable scale. I worked this up with a wonderful friend after we passed the afternoon practicing our archery skills. Life is good!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Gluten-free and Dairy-free Chocolate Soufflé

I find it difficult to resist the temptation of a succulent deep, dark chocolate, especially when served in the form of a warm soufflé fresh from the oven. This is an elegant dessert laden with sheer indulgence when accompanied by a glass of port or cognac. It adds chic sophistication and stylish flair to any menu.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Meatloaf ~ Revisited and Gluten-free

There is something to be said about comfort food. No matter how far we migrate from our culinary roots, there are days when we yearn for the dishes of our youth. I see it in many local restaurants, wherein meatloaf and other comfort dishes have been showing up on menus in fine-dining establishments that we frequent. So when I set out to create a gluten-free version, I wanted to alleviate at least some of the guilt, so I have attempted to make this dish as healthy as possible by incorporating flax meal and oats.