Saturday, March 14, 2009

Farmer's Market Roasted Tomato Dill Soup

Tomato Soup is good! I'm a big fan, in fact, tomato soup may even make an appearance on the menu at our wedding.....
My favorite tomato soup is Saturn Cafe's tomato soup. If you are from Santa Cruz, you know what I'm talking about. It's slightly creamy, smooth and yet a bit chunky, with a nice sprinkling of dill. This soup is addictive.

I have a confession to make. When I was in college in Tucson Arizona, far away from my beloved Saturn Cafe tomato soup, my roommate, Christina, and I would try to recreate the Saturn Soup. We tried and we tried, and we came up with some delicious tomato soup's along the way, but we never quite mastered the Saturn Cafe tomato soup recipe.

Moving on... At the Farmer's Market this morning I picked up a bunch of beautiful ripe tomatoes. I'm not going to try and recreate Saturn's Soup, but instead create my own delicious tomato dill soup. My Mom recently gave me my first Le Creuset pot. Hallelujah. I've basically tried to cook every meal in it. I love it. I officially became slightly obsessed with Le Creuset cookware when I was at JenO's house and we used her Le Cresuset pots to make a fantastic 7 course meal. I think we made roasted tomato soup that night too. Thanks a lot JenO for giving me expensive taste in cookware!

I decided to roast my tomato's in the Le Creuset, to give the soup a little smoky flavor. Roasting is great because it lets out yummy juices, the soup practically makes itself, you hardly have to add any other liquid. I wanted to make this soup non-dairy. If you choose to use veggie broth instead of chicken broth, this could be a vegan soup.

Roasted Tomato Dill Soup

* approximate. I never really measure, this is my best guest. Play around with the broth...add a little at a time until you reach the consistency you want.

12 small tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 shallot
1/2 cups Chicken broth
1/8 cup olive oil
1/3 or more fresh dill, chopped
a few dashes of paprika

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Cut stems off tomato's and slice in half. Slice the red pepper in half and scoop out seeds. Toss the tomato's and peppers in olive oil, salt, & pepper.

Oil the bottom of the roasting pot.
Place the tomato's & red pepper, flesh side down, in a roasting pan or pot.
Roast for 20 minutes, add shallots, and continue roasting for 25 more minutes.

Add small amount of chicken broth to the roasted tomato & red pepper at a time and blend with an immersion blender. If you don't' have an immersion blender, you could place all the ingredients in a blender, but be sure to add all the juices from the roasting pan or pot. OR if you want a chunkier soup, remove the skin off tomatoes and peppers then mash the tomatoes with a masher. Continue to add broth until you reach the desired consistency.

Add chopped dill and stir in. Add paprika, salt & pepper to taste.

***Yum. This soup basically ROCKED. Mike described it as "clean & fresh." The red pepper gives tomato soup and interesting kick.

I served the soup with Farmer's Market artichokes & a yogurt, lemon, dill dipping sauce. Sounds like a strange mix, I know, but the dill in the soup & in the dipping sauce really tied the meal together.

I am quite happy with this meal. :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Yummy Valentine

Valentines Day and the Marcellino-Paul house was delicious. Not being huge fans of Valentines Day, but still wanting to celebrate somehow, we spent the night in, cooking an awesome 3 course meal together.

Valentines Day Menu
Mushroom Soup
Brioche stuffed with filet
, mushroom, onion, and swiss cheese
Coffee Ice Cream Profiteroles.

Mushroom Soup
...crazy easy...crazy crazy good

I have no idea how i made this, but it was awesome. I really wanted to make a creamy mushroom soup without using cream or milk......I came up with this. I just added stuff here and there, so I have no idea of measurements.....if you make this, and I think you should, just play around with it till it tastes good to you.

Mushroom Soup
14 brown mushrooms, sliced
2 large portabella mushrooms
1TBSP butter
1 shallot, chopped
3 TBSP greek yogurt
1/2 cup of chicken broth
splash of red wine vinegar
1/2 lemon
fresh dill

In a deep saucepan, saute mushrooms and shallots in butter till soft. Add yogurt, dill, paprika, salt and pepper. I put this mixture into my magic bullet, added 1/2 of the chicken broth and blended it (it came out thick, almost like a pate), pour mixture back into saucepan and add chicken broth until you reach the desired consistency. Reheat mixture till hot.

Brioche stuffed with
filet mignon
, mushroom, onion, and swiss cheese

This was decedent. Sooooo good. We just threw this together, so I don't really have a recipe for this either.....but I'll try.

2 small round brioche bread loafs
Filet Mignon, cooked and cut into small pieces
sherry vinegar
red wine
swiss cheese
flat leaf parsley

cut out a round circle and scoop out the bread
from the center. Lightly toast the bread in an oven set to 250 degrees for about 5 minutes and take the bread out of the oven. Turn up the over to 400 degrees.

In a skillet, saute mushrooms and onions with butter until soft. Add filet mignon pieces, red wine, sherry vinegar
, flat leaf parsley, salt, and pepper.

Lay a piece of swiss on the bottom of the brioche bowl. Spoon in filet, mushroom, and onion mixture into the brioche bowl making sure to add the juices from the mixture into the bowl. Place one piece of swiss cheese on top, covering with a small amount of mixture.

Place in over for about 10 minutes.

Coffee Ice Cream Profiteroles
(thank you Epicurious)

I won't lie, I am a fan of all things cream puff.....eclair, profiteroles.....oh my. Love em. I thought the eggy hollow dough would be difficult to make, not so. This was so easy...too easy, now I know I can make these things on a whim, could be dangerous. We decided to make profiteroles, but instead of stuffing them with traditional cream, we choose to make coffee ice cream to stuff them with. I'd seen this idea before on epicurious. Good choice. This was so good, i can't even explain to you the amazing-ness! all I can say is YUM-CITY. Making the coffee ice cream was a bit long and complicated, but I must say, worth it.

Profiteroles Pastries

6 TBSP unsalted butter

3/4 cup water

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup flour

3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 425°

In a small saucepan boil butter, water, and salt. Reduce heat to medium, then add flour beating with a wooden spoon, until all ingredients are mixed together mixture and a dough ball forms. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool for 2 minutes.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating with an electric mixer.

Transfer warm mixture to pastry bag ( I used a zip lock baggy and cut off a tiny bit of 1 works perfect) pipe small mounds on a buttered baking sheet. I piped mine a bit too big....pipe them small to get a true cream puff shape.

Bake for 20 minutes. Prick each profiterole one time with a skewer, turn off oven but return pastry to oven to dry, propping oven door slightly, 3 minutes.

Cool on sheet on a rack.

once cooled. Slice each profiterole horizontally and stuff with coffee ice cream (see recipe below)

drizzle with chocolate sauce Serve immediately or put profiteroles in freezer.

Coffee Ice Cream-David Lebovitz recipe

1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole decaf coffee beans
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon finely ground coffee
pinch of salt

Heat the milk, sugar, whole coffee beans, salt, and 1/2 cup of the cream over medium heat until mixture is hot,but not boiling. Remove from heat and let the mixture steep for 1 hour.

An hour later.....Reheat the milk and coffee mixture, on medium heat, until its hot again. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Then, pour the heated milk/coffee mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so the egg does not cook. Pour this mixture back into a sauce pan.

Here's the boring...but essential part....Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, for about 10 minutes. the mixture will thicken and become a custard.

Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set on ice over a larger bowl.

Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Strain out the beans. Mix in the vanilla and finely ground coffee, and stir until cool.

Follow your ice cream maker instructions.

Whoa-la. Coffee ice cream. Delicious.

This was a perfect wintery meal. Mike and I had so much fun in the kitchen preparing dinner. We decided that cooking a 3 course meal will be our new Valentines Day tradition. The best thing in this menu, believe it or not, was the mushroom soup. It was simple and unexpectedly delicious. Don't' get me wrong, I will make profiteroles again, maybe everyday for the rest of my life, but the mushroom soup is a definite crowd pleasing keeper. Happy Valentines Day Friends!

Monday, August 18, 2008

#1 Rainbow Cake

Last weekend my sister Tiffany was visiting Santa Barbara from New York. My sister and her husband, Segundo, have two kids, my nephews...Felix is 3 years old and Luca is 1 year old. Luca turned 1 while they were in Santa Barbara. I was so excited to be able to be at his first birthday party and I got to make the cake. YIKES. I was looking for inspiration of Tastespotting and found it! I discovered a great blog called Ovenhaven. She recently blogged about rainbow cupcakes....they are so much fun. Great for a kids birthday. I decided to try her idea on a cake. It worked out.

I just used a box of white cake mix (gross, I know, but kids aren't very picky about their cake)

I also used Ivy's suggestion to throw in a little gelatin into the cake mix. I used about 1 TBSP or so).... AMAZING! I will never make cakes or cupcakes without utilizing this magic ingredient. It made the cake incredibly moist and bouncy. It was awesome. Thanks for the suggestion Ivy!

I separated the cake batter into four bowls and dyed each batter a different color. I poured the first colored batter(green) into the middle of the cake pan , the next color (yellow) I poured into the middle of the pan again, right on top of the other color and repeated this with the blue and yellow batter.

When it came out of the oven, the colors were really muted and dull on the outside of the cake. I carefully shaved off the sides to revel the beautiful bright vibrant colors.

I made this cake to look like a BIG cupcake....but you could frost the whole thing like a cake. The colors would be revealed when the cake is cut. The inside of the cake looked very cool, unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the cake after it had been cut :( The colors inside don't layered, instead it looks tie dyed. Ovenhaven's pictures show a great example of what the cake looked like inside.

This cake was made with the intention that Luca would put his hands all over it and dig in, so I made lemon blueberry cupcakes for the adults.

Luca was slightly confused by his cake

But he got the idea with help from Felix
It was a great 1st Birthday Party for LUCA !!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Okay, I'll admit it, I have an unnatural obsession with Pinkberry. Have you had Pinkberry? What is a Pinkberry you ask, it's a frozen yogurt chain that is all over new York and Los Angeles. It is very different from frozen yogurt you may have had before It has a very distinct taste, it is very tart and tastes like plain yogurt. It only comes in three flavors, Plain, Green Tea, and Coffee. Then, there are tons of toppings to choose from, berries, kiwi's, mango, granola, chocolate chips, oreo's, it even gets as obscure as Captain Crunch and Fruity Pebbles.

My favorite combos:

-Green Tea with raspberries, mango, and fruity pebbles
(that's right, fruity pebbles...don't knock it till you try it)
-Coffee with coco pebbles.

The sad news is the closest Pinkberry is in West Lake Village in Los Angeles. The good news, that's where Mike's parents live. I have to get my fix every time I'm there.

So what is the point of this mindless homage to my beloved Pinkberry??? I was having a craving for Pinkberry the other night while I was watching Project Runway at home in Santa Barbara, what to do??? Then it hit me, I could make Pinkberry at home. I had recently seen a beautiful blog post from Vanilla Basil, she had made a delicious looking Raspberry & Cookies and Cream Ice Cream. YUM. I decided to feed my Pinkberry addiction and try a yogurt version of Vanilla Basil's ice cream. The result: Spectacular!

Raspberry Cookie's & Cream FRO YO

2 cups organic plain yogurt
2 tbsp milk
1 cup of organic raspberries
4 trader joe's jo jo's or oreo's
2 tbsp organic agave sweetener (or sugar)

Combine raspberries and milk and puree with an immersion blender. Pour puree through a strainer to strain out the seeds. Combine yogurt and raspberry puree and agave. Pour into ice cream maker according to manufactures directions.
Once it's done crumble cookie into frozen yogurt and stir to mix it up. Transfer frozen yogurt into a large tupperware and freeze for 30 minutes.

PS. I failed to mention the best news EVER. A few days ago I found out that Pinkberry is coming to Santa Barbara very soon. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I may have to survive on a strict diet of Pinkberry, I may put all my money into feeding my Pinkberry addiction and go broke. Wish me luck.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fresh Key Lime Tartlette

Mike and his best friend Jon are out sailing to Anacapa Island today. After a day of sun, fun & hard work, I thought it would be nice if they came home to a delicious summer dessert. Lucky boys.

Key Lime Tartlette with Roasted Macadamia Nut & Coconut Crust

1 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup organic brown sugar
1 tbsp organic sugar
1 tbsp organic butter
2 free range organic egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toast macadamia nuts and coconut until both are browned, about 5 minutes. watch closely to make sure they don't burn. Combine nuts, coconut, brown sugar, sugar, and butter in a food processor. In another bowl whisk egg whites until soft peaks form, this will take about 10 minutes of continuous whisking. Slowly add egg whites to the nuts mixture, gently folding them to mix together.Press mixture into a lightly buttered small tart ramekin. Cook for 10 minutes. Let cool. Keep oven on.

Fresh Key Lime Filling
(adapted from Epicurious)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 free range organic egg yolks
1 tbsp key lime zest

While tartlette crust is baking. Squeeze key limes until you get about 1/4 cup of juice (about 20 key limes.) Strain to discard seeds. Combine condensed milk and egg yolk, mix together. Add key lime juice and mix till smooth. Grate lime zest into mixture.

Once the tartlette crusts are cooled, fill the crusts with filling. Bake for 15 minutes. The filling will begin to set in oven but will still be soft. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. This will set the filling. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving. Top with coconut whip cream, a raspberry, and fresh lime zest.

Coconut Whip Cream
whipping cream
unsweetened shredded coconut
vanilla extract
vanilla bean seeds

Combine ingredients to match your preference of sweet & coconutty. Whip until soft peaks form. Cool.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

California Wine Festival

This weekend Mike and I went to the California Wine Festival in Santa Barbara on the beach. There were tons of wineries, breweries, and restaurants serving up tastings of their finest products. Bacara had a booth offering the most amazing petite four display I have ever seen. Little cakes, chocolates, nut brittles, profiteroles, it was the full spectrum of sweets. I am kicking myself for not getting a picture of these delectable desserts. I cheated and got in line twice for a double dose of the Bacara tasting. Shhhhhh, I couldn't help it. You can imagine my sheer joy when on Monday my boss told me that my going away party (I got a new job) would be held at Bacara. SWEEEETTTT. I am pretty excited, I'll let you know how it is.

I also enjoyed the Wilson Creek booth. They were serving a unique Almond Champagne with a splash of chocolate liquor. I couldn't drink a lot of it, but it was delicious. I may just order a couple bottles of the Almond Champagne the Wilson Creek website.

Mike was quite impressed by the tequila tasting...I stayed far away from that one...something about mixing wine, beer, and tequila doesn't sound appealing.

A wine, beer, tequila, appetizer, and dessert tasting festival on the beach in Santa Barbara, what a fantastic way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Vegan Blueberry Ice Dream

Blueberry Ice Dream

2 c. organic unsweetened soy milk
2 c. organic blueberries
3 tbsp organic agave
2 tbsp lemon, juiced

In a large skillet, heat blueberries, agave, and lemon juice until the blueberries are soft. Blend the mixture with a hand blender till smooth and slowly add soy milk. (you can strain the mixture to remove the blueberry skins, but the skins have tons of antioxidants, so i keep them in.)

Cool mixture in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Add mix to ice cream maker to manufacturers instruction.

This is a delicious fresh summer treat. I am seeing blueberry ice cream & gelato all over the place. This recipe at Coconut & Lime looked delicious and inspired me to try a vegan version of my own. I am still having difficulty using soy milk in the ice cream maker. It freezes like ice milk, instead of ice cream, but it is what it is and it is still yummy. I read recently that using coconut milk yields a creamier texture, I will try that next time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer Strawberry Salad

I spent last weekend in LA catching up with old friends and spending time with my sister Tracy and her boyfriend Brian. Tracy and I made a healthy delicious dinner on Saturday night, Caprese Pizza on whole wheat crust and an Arugula Strawberry Salad... sadly, I didn't have my camera. Last night I recreated our fresh healthy salad for Mike to try. I didn't have arugula but i did have some frisee greens, yum. Thanks Tracy for this lovely salad idea.

Summer Strawberry Salad

frisee greens (or arugula or spinach)
organic strawberries, sliced
roasted almonds, sliced
organic avocado, sliced

Simple Dressing

2 tbsp organic olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
sea salt

Saturday, July 12, 2008

4th of July Surf & Turf

Mike and I spent the 4th of July this year in my hometown and Mike's college town...Santa Cruz,Ca. We had great day hanging out with our Santa Cruz friends and family. We started out the day at Harbor Cafe, no surprise there. It's our favorite Santa Cruz spot. Our friend Dan owns the cafe, he bought it from my Stepdad Jerry two years ago. This cafe is our version of Cheers. We run into so many friends when we are there, it's so much fun. they have a huge, beautiful patio and the best breakfast in the West. If you are ever in Santa Cruz, stop by Harbor Cafe for breakfast, you won't be sorry...tell them Jenn sent you.
We spent the rest of the day at the beach with friends. We went to our friends Chris and Caroline's for a Surf N' Turf BBQ. WOW. Amazing friends, Amazing food. We were lucky enough to get lobster tails and marinaded skirt steak for a great price from the Fish Lady. I don't have much of a recipe to offer you all for this delicious meal because it was so so simple.
Here's the menu:

4th of July Surf N' Turf
Steamed Lobster Tails
BBQ'd Skirt Steak
Fruit Salad

Caroline steamed the lobster tails, husked the shell off, squeezed some lemon over them, dipped them in browned butter, and ate them. It was our intention to serve the skirt steak and the lobster together, but the lobster was ready a couple minutes before the steak, and we couldn't resist eating them right then. It was decedent, so delicious.

As for the skirt steak, we threw it on the grill, and brushed it with it's marinade, that's it!

The fruit salad was simple too. It consisted of Mango, raspberry, blueberry, kiwi, and nectarines.

The end....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Corn Cakes with Grilled Shrimp & Roasted Guacamole

I love this blog. It has been so fun to post recipes and learn food photography. One of my favorite aspects of blogging is the amazing community of food bloggers. I had no idea there were so many people doing the same thing I am doing. It is my new favorite past time to look at the food blogs I have bookmarked and search for new fun food blogs. The other day I found this hilarious blog, Average Betty, she combines cooking with sketch comedy and she cracks me up. Her unicorn fritters jumped out at me...YUM, corn cakes with shrimp and mashed avocado...sounds like my perfect meal. I made them last night and they rocked my world. They were so good and really easy to make.

Corn Cakes with Grilled Shrimp and Roasted Guacamole

Corn Cake
(adapted from Average Betty recipe)
2 c. organic roasted corn, removed from cob
2 tbsp organic olive oil
1/4 c. organic cilantro
1/4 c. white onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeño, chopped
1/2 small organic red pepper, chopped
1/2 c. organic almond flour*
2 organic & cage free eggs
1/2 tsp. honey
dash garlic powder
dash cayenne pepper
dash chili powder
dash salt

Combined roasted corn, red bell pepper, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, almond flour, and honey. Crack eggs into mixture and stir together until well blended. Add garlic powder, cayenne, chili powder, and salt.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Scoop corn mixture into small patties and place on skillet, let brown about 30 seconds and flip with a spatula.

*almond flour is a substitute for flour. Regular flour works great too, I'm just trying to stay away from white starchy food. You can make almond flour really easily by throwing almonds in your food processor and grinding them until fine, about 20 seconds. Be careful not to grind almonds for too long or it will begin to turn into almond butter.

Grilled Garlic Shrimp
10 jumbo raw shrimp
2 tbsp organic olive oil
1 large clove garlic
1 lime, juiced

Marinate shrimp for at least 30 minutes in a mixture of olive oil, pressed garlic, and lime juice, and salt. Skewer shrimp and place on grill until shrimp turn pink.

Roasted Guacamole
1 organic avocado
1/4 c. organic cilantro
1/8 c. roasted tomato salsa (I like Trader Joe's Salsa Del Cabo)

Mash avocado and mix in cilantro and roasted salsa

I absolutely loved this dinner, and so did Mike. I had two corn cakes left over and turned it into an amazing breakfast. I heated up the corn cakes, poached an egg, made some more guacamole and topped it off with a chipotle raspberry BBQ sauce. It was delicious. I love when leftovers become a whole new fabulous meal. Try this recipe out, you won't be sorry you did. Thanks Average Betty!