"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Monday, August 22, 2011

Healthy Blueberry Bites

I think that mini muffins are a very American comfort food. Who doesn't love to see these bite size goodies at home, work or a party. These ones are more breakfast / energy muffins than dessert muffins. Made with complete healthy ingredients and blueberries for sweetness. These blueberry bites taste great with almond butter or apricot jam. These recipe is adapted from the wonderful kid's cookbook Healthy Yummies of Young Tummies
Healthy Blueberry Bites
Makes 28 mini bites

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oat bran
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs whites, lightly beaten
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup safflower oil
1 3/4 cups soy milk
2 cups frozen blueberries
Pumpkin seeds for garnish

1. Lightly butter the mini muffin tins.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
3. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl beat the eggs whites, honey, oil and soy milk. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until moistened.
4. Fold in the blueberries.
5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top.
6. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until lightly browned - Enjoy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Isabel & La Mar in Santiago, Chile - Top Ten Meal!

During Geeks on a Plane South America I had the amazing experience of being taken out to La Mar Cebicheria in Santiago. The meal was superb and I was SO HAPPY to have one of my best friends, Isy/Isabelita, join us! It had been about a year since we last saw each other and to meet at a top restaurant in her current home town was absolutely wonderful. Here is a picture of Isy and I followed by a group shot of all the Geeks at La Mar Cebicheria in Santiago, Chile. 

As you read through this post you may want to refer to the gastronomic dictionary on the global La Mar website. Our experience began with authentic Chilean Pisco Sours - the national drink - although many will say the origin of the drink is Peruvian. A Pisco Sour is a cocktail containing Pisco, lemon juice, egg whites, simple syrup and bitters. These drinks are strong and delicious and not too sweet:  
Because we were out to dinner with a couple of Peruvians who took this meal very seriously - they took control of all the food ordering. They ordered the best dishes! The seafood was all freshly caught, the flavors simple using few ingredients but very obviously high quality ingredients. Everything tasted fresh, delicious and extremely flavorful. Our meal began with a mix of Kennebec potato, sweet potato and plantain chips served with a selection of sauces - huancaina and rocoato sauce. I am not sure what the third sauce is here: 
Next, and perhaps my favorite part of the meal was the chef's sample tasting of cebiches! Cebiche is the national dish of Peru. The tasting included 5 different kinds of cebiche served in generous shot glasses. They included:
  • Cebiche Clásico - Halibut in a leche de tigre with red onion, habanero, Peruvian corn and yam
  • Cebiche Mixto - Yellow tail, calamari, shrimp in a aji amarlio leche de tigre with cilantro, red onion, Peruvian corn and yam
  • Cebiche Chalaco - Yellow tail, mussles, clams, scallop, shrimp, red onion, cilantro in a rocoto leche de tigre
  • Cebiche Carretillero - Yellow tail, shrimp, mussels, clams, celery, red onion cilantro, cancha and habanero in a classic leche de tigre with Peruvian corn and yam
  • Cebiche Nikei - Tuna, red onion, japanese cucumber, daikon, avocado, nori and sesame in a tamarind leche de tigre
Next up we had a plate with  a different kind of cebiche. In this photo you can see how Peruvian corn is so much larger and plump than American corn:
Next we had these delicious freshly caught white fish (I don't remember if it was tuna or yellow tail) served with thinly sliced red onion, Peruvian corn, and a sweet potato puree.
After three course of cebiche and faw fish we had a selection of causas. Causas are a combination of whipped potatoes topped with seafood and vegetarian combinations.  We got a chef's causas tasting which included:
  • Causa Limeñ - Dungeness Crab on top of a yellow potato causa with avocado purée, quail egg, cherry tomatoes, ají amarillo Huancaína sauce and basil cilantro oil
  • Causa Nikei - Tuna tartar and avocado purée on top of whipped purple potato with creamy rocoto Huancaína sauce topped with Japanese nori
  • Causa Camaró - Sweet and spicy poached shrimp and fried onions on top of purple potato with leche de tigre aiol
  • Causa Caser - Yellow potato causa, artichokes, asparagus, avocado and tomato confit with basil cilantro oil
Next we had a divine octopus skewer over a  pureed yuca with Peruvian corn, spicy panchita and rocoto sauce:
Next we had the main course which was steak literally covered with french fries and served with a mound of rice mixed with Peruvian corn. This was delicious. Served with roasted tomatoes and onions. Carbo overload yes but it was very satisfying.
Finally for dessert we had these sweet potato and pumpkin fritters served with a spiced honey sauce. 
La Mar Cebicheria
Santiago, Chile
N. Costanera 3922, Vitacura. t. 207839

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Peach Crumble

To end the perfect meal for Create a Farmer's Market Feast we made a delicious peach cobbler with incredible yellow peaches from K&J Orchards. At the Farmer's Market, we met with Amboon, the warm and vivacious daughter of the farmers. She shared with us her knowledge of all the different types of peaches along with samples and explanations of how to use the variety of peaches. We learned that it is a bad idea to cook with white peaches as they turn too mushy and lose their peachy taste. The best peaches for cobblers and crumbles are yellow ones. Here is a picture of Amboon telling us about her wonderful peaches!
I served this peach crumble with a delicious coconut milk green tea ice cream. It was a beautiful contrast in flavor and texture.

2.5 pounds yellow peaches, cut into wedges
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 stick butter, chopped
Lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the peach wedges in a glass baking dish.
2. Sprinkle the peaches with cinnamon and lemon juice. Gently toss to just coat.
3. In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, almonds, oats, salt and butter to get a nice even crumble topping mixture.
4. Place the topping on the peaches, sprinkle with some more cinnamon. Bake for 25 minutes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer Salad with Grilled Shrimp

As main course at our Farmer's Market Feast we had a delicious summer salad of all local ingredients and juicy grilled shrimp. This was as simple and delicious meal that definitely tied all the pieces together. Here is a photo of the gang with our meal sitting on our deck:
For this salad the mixed greens were from Heirloom Organic Farms in Hollister. We met with David from the farm who was very knowledgeable about all the different types of greens and shared samples with us of various flowers and furry greens. The large summer tomatoes and crisp cucumbers in our salad were from Capay Farms, our avocados were from the kind Will of Brokaw Nursey in Ventura County. The shrimp was from San Francisco Fish Company at the Ferry Building. We had a simple tangy lime and sesame dressing to tie together the shrimp and bitter greens.
4 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

2.5 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled and divined

2 ears corn
3 small tomatoes cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges
2/3 large cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
1 large avocado, thinly sliced
8 cups loosely packed mixed greens

2 tablespoons mint leaves
4 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
Ground pepper
1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1. Mix the chili garlic sauce, cumin, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add in the shrimp and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate.
2. Heat olive oil on medium high heat on a skillet. Add half the shrimp and cook for about 3 minutes or until done. Use tongs and transfer to a plate and set aside.
3. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place the corn ears in the water for 5 minutes then run under cold water. Remove the kernels from the ears with a sharp knife.
4. In a separate bowl whisk together the lime juice, rice vinegar, sesame oil, olive oil and pepper.
5. In a large salad bowl, place the mixed greens, corn, tomato wedges, avocado, cucumber and mint. Place a few pieces of grilled shrimp on top and drizzle the dressing over the salad. Enjoy!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chickpea Flatbread

As part of my Farmer's Market Feast we created a flat bread made with chickpea flour instead of all purpose flour. This is a gluten free, healthy and flavorful substitute for traditional flat bread. My original idea for this came from the chickpea pizzas that were all over Northern Italy. We had this flat bread with simple cheese and herb toppings, but this can easily be the base for a tomato sauce and actual pizza toppings. For this I used  Bob Mill's chickpea flour and rosemary from the the street side planter boxes on Brannan Street between 2nd and Delancy. As a topping we used grated Capricious Goat Cheese from the Achadinha Cheese Company in Petaluma.
2 cups chickpea flour
1/2 plus 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 cups water, divided
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
9 tablespoons olive oil, divided
9 tablespoons capricious goat cheese, grated
Ground pepper
Garlic powder

1. Sift the chickpea flour and salt into a large bowl.
2. Gradually add 1 cup of water, whisking until smooth.
3. Whisk in the remaining water. Add in the rosemary. Let mixture stand for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the broiler.
5. Drizzle a large non-stick oven proof skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the skillet. Drizzle with more olive oil. Cook until the top is almost set - about 4 minutes. Pierce the bubble with a knife.
6. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of grated cheese and sprinkle some ground pepper. Here you can sprinkle on the garlic powder and za'tar if you want.
7. Place skillet in broiler until golden - about 4-5 minutes. Slide onto a platter or cutting board and cut into wedges. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Grilled Zucchini Roll Ups

I recently created a profile on the awesome new startup, Vayable, to start giving "Farmer's Market Feasts" to travelers, explorers, foodies. For the first time I did it - we had a menu of grilled zucchini roll ups, chickpea flat bread, summer salad with grilled shrimp, and peach crumble with green tea ice cream. All the ingredients were sourced from local farmers. These were our appetizers and they were an off shoot from previously made eggplant rolls. As a vegan alternative, you could swap the cheese for soft tofu. Alternatively you could add slices of prosciutto to these before rolling them up.  Our zucchinis were from Capay farms, the herb cheese mixture was made with fresh goat cheese from Laura Chenel's Chevre in Sonoma County and the herbs were from Dirty Girl Farms in Santa Cruz.

4-5 small zucchinis, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pinch salt
Black pepper
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2/3 cup basil leaves
2 teaspoons lemon juice


1.   1. Heat the grill
2..      2. Drizzle olive oil on the zucchini slices, sprinkle with salt and pepper
2.       3. Grill the zucchini slices for about 2-3 minutes per side so that they soften and get those nice     grill marks. Set aside.
4.       4. In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, parsley and lemon juice.
          5. Place a small mound of the cheese spread on one end of the zucchini. Place a basil leaf on top of the cheese, carefully roll up the zucchini around the cheese and basil leaf.