Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Avocado, Citrus, and Roasted Beet Salad

Ouch, it has been too long since I last posted! I didn't mean to neglect my blog, I just felt like I was lacking cooking inspiration. Sometimes I dream about what it would be like to be able to stay home every day and just cook and take pictures...sadly real life doesn't quite allow for that at this point! 

When you're busy (or at least when I'm busy) it's easy to loose the motivation to cook new, exciting recipes and experiment in the kitchen. So for this post, I'm putting out a request to anyone reading: share some inspiration with me and with each other! Leave a comment with a link to a recipe you love or ingredients you're interested in, and I'll incorporate your suggestions into upcoming posts!

We had this salad for dinner a while ago, after a weekend of almost non-stop eating. I wanted something healthy and light, but substantial enough to feel like a meal. It was refreshing and delicious, and while I loved the roasted beets, I might try keeping them raw next time and either thinly slicing them or grating them for some crunch.

Avocado, Citrus, and Roasted Beet Salad (serves 2)
2 large or 4 medium-small Chioggia beets (or any type of beet)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 oranges, peeled and segmented (I used one blood orange and one tangelo)
1 avocado

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Slice the beets into 1/4 inch thick segments and toss with olive oil and salt. Roast them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, until they're slightly soft.

Aren't they so beautiful with those stripes?!

Once the beets are done, set them aside to cool. Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining lime juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

When the beets are just slightly warm, toss all ingredients together with the dressing. Top with a little lime zest like I did, or an herb like mint or basil would be equally delicious!

A few weeks ago, we took Poppy to the vet for a check-up. Our poor cat was told that she needs to lose a few pounds, so she's been on a diet. To make matters worse, she had to get three shots and was a little miserable afterward. Here she is, looking forlorn and sore. Have you ever seen such a sad face?!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread

Happy Superbowl Sunday everyone! I can't say I'm usually much of a football fan, but I have to represent San Francisco! Unfortunately I don't have a classic football-watching recipe for you, like potato skins or chicken wings. These lemon bars are quite the opposite - delicate and ladylike, but so, so delicious.

I've had the Tartine cookbook for a long time, but I've always been kind of intimidated by it. The recipes are all very thorough, which I appreciate, but five pages on croissants and proper croissant folding and rolling technique scares the crap out of me. I'm sure it would be well worth the effort, but for now I'm sticking with these simple, tart, beautiful lemon bars.

Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread (recipe from Tartine)

1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest from 1 lemon
6 large whole eggs
1 large egg yolk
Pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. For the crust, sift the confectioners sugar into the bowl of a mixer, and add flour and stir to mix the two. Be careful with this part - I mixed on too high of a speed and sprayed flour everywhere...oops! Add the butter and beat on a low speed until a smooth dough forms. 

Press the dough into your prepared pan so it's about 1/4 inch thick and about 1/2 inch up the sides of the pan. Use a fork to score the dough, which prevents it from puffing up too much. As you can see from my photo, my crust was definitely not very beautiful and probably could have been more evenly distributed, but no one will know once the filling is on top! Bake the crust for about 25-30 minutes, until it is a deep golden brown.

While the crust is baking, you can make the filling. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and sugar. Add in the lemon juice and zest and stir well so that the sugar dissolves. In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolk, and pinch of salt. Finally, add the egg mixture to the lemon juice mixture and whisk well.

Ideally, you'll have the filling ready just as the crust finishes baking (it helps to juice all the lemons first - that part took me forever!). Remove the crust from the oven and carefully pour the filling into the pan. 

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes, just until the filling is solid and not wobbly.

Cool the bars completely, and dust them with powdered sugar. You can cut them into bars or just start attacking them with a fork like I shame!

Here's a behind the scenes look at my photography process, which usually involves shooing Poppy off the table. Nobody likes orange cat hair in their food, sorry Poppy!