Vive La Crêpe

FullSizeRender copy 3While almost every country has its own version of the crêpe, is was in the Brittany region of France where the original tools were created and the technique perfected.  Originally available only to royalty, whipping up crêpes for brunch or an afternoon snack will make everyone feel regal.  While some advise making and freezing crêpes, or other elaborate presentations and fillings, we recommend them best hot, rolled and dusted with powdered sugar or filled with caramelized bananas. (A perfect use for over ripe bananas.)

The kitchen smells amazing, they are indulgent but not too heavy and they are an absolute crowd pleaser for both their taste and the spectacle of their creation!

Crêpes Magnifique!

  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Place all ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth.


C’est parti

0620311Place two crêpe pans on the stove on low/medium heat, melt a trace of butter on the bottom and sides. Pour a thin layer of batter into one of the pans, tilting and rolling to distribute the batter evenly. Achieving the right level of thickness is something you simply have to get a feel for-but the mistakes are delicious so nothing is lost.

After 25-30 seconds run a flat spatula around the edge and then flip the crepe into the waiting second pan.  You can truly flip the crepe through the air by swinging the pan, or do a quick transfer by placing the second pan on top of the first and then flipping the pans. The cooked side should look like the surface of the moon.  Just 30 second more and then onto the plate, folding in half or tucking into thirds and dusting with the powdered sugar or filling and rolling.

PS crêpe pans make the process easier, but two saute pans make a fine substitution.  We also weren’t kidding about crepes being a crowd pleasure.  Greet kids after a long day at school with this fun and delicious activity-the grind of their day will be quickly erased. College kids especially are fans!

Go Green

Top o’ the mornin’ to you!

Add a little kale to your life with this powerful green smoothie that is a perfect breakfast or a high protein pick-me-up in the afternoon. Just one cup of kale has 3 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fiber, vitamins A,C,K and B plus folate + an important omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic. The combination of the ingredients in this smoothie make it easy to Go Green!

FullSizeRenderGo Green

  • 1 cup of frozen kale
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 scoop of protein powder
  • 6 almonds

Combine in a power blender and enjoy this powerful start to your day! Thanks to our LiveWell friend, Yvonne Tally, for the inspiration!

Sunday Soup

Whether it’s cold and snowy or mildly sunny and cool where you are, winter Sunday’s seem to be a perfect day for soup. An easy quick meal that can be enhanced for those with a bigger appetite (adding quesadillas as a side to chili is popular for growing teenage boys) or salad for those wanting more greens, the beauty of soup, however, is that it can easily stand on it’s own.

From lighter starter soups served to hearty stews and chilies that take center stage at a meal, there is rarely a food more readily identified as “comforting” than soup.  When we are sick we seek soup for both its health benefits (easy to digest, often full of vitamins, antioxidants and protein) and for it’s comfort factor.  By most accounts, soup has been in existence since 20,000 BC, and for those who grew up in a household where soup was made regularly, the smell is transporting.

IMG_6827There is a terrific book by Lorraine Wallace, “Mr. Sunday’s Soups” that features nothing but simple, delicious recipes that will give you more than a year’s worth of Sunday meals.  The recipes are so varied and universally pleasing that you will rarely need to look outside it’s pages for other options.

One of the most common ingredients for soup is chicken stock, a staple everyone should know how to make.  Once you create it from scratch, you will be a devotee.  Making the stock fills your home with a wonderful aroma plus you can shred the meat from the chicken breasts to use in tacos or chicken salad and even give the puppies a little something extra for dinner. (Try mixing some of the dark thigh meat in their kibble and add some of the stock-you will be their hero!)

Simple Chicken Stock 

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 carrots chopped coarsely
  • 2 celery stalks chopped coarsely
  • 1 yellow onion in quarters
  • 1/2 unpeeled head of garlic
  • 8 spring fresh parsley
  • 4 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Place all ingredients into stockpot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Place a fine mesh colander over a bowl and strain the contents of the entire pot.  Chill the stock over night and remove the surface fat before use. Either use immediately or pack in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.  Enjoy!

What are your favorite soup recipes?

Hit List – The Kitchen Decoded

IMG_3916Logan Levant, owner of famed Buttercake Bakery in Los Angeles, has co-authored the new cookbook The Kitchen Decoded that’s at the top of our Hit List!

Cleverly organized around the appliances and gadgets most likely already in your kitchen, the book seeks to demystify these tools (everything from the ice cream scoop to the KitchenAid mixer) and then put to good use in delicious, simple recipes.

IMG_6726From the basics (such as spice rubs and marinades that require only a container with a lid) to the more complex (Arugula Pesto or famed Black Bean Patties that utilize a food processor) there is something to please each palate and skill level.

Logan and co-author Hilary Hattenbach, co-founder of the blog We Heart Mac and Cheese, share a “trick” with each recipe (such as proteins to substitute in the halibut dish or advance preparation techniques) allowing anyone with so much as a spatula to get cooking with confidence.

For a taste, try Logan’s favorite recipe in the book Buttercake Bakery Lemon Bars and you’ll see why this book is on our HIT LIST for everyone from recent graduates to those looking to sharpen their skills. Time flies so get cooking!

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Hey, Pumpkin!

IMG_4796It finally feels like fall is in the air and that means the return of all things pumpkin.  

From gracing our doorstep in heaps to taking center stage at dessert time, this seasonal signature squash brings a bold spot of color to our decor as well as remarkable health benefits.  An excellent source of fiber, vitamin A and potassium, pumpkin can boost eyesight, aid in weightless and refuel the body post workout. It is naturally rich in phytosterols, which has been shown to reduce LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, as well as the anti-oxidant beta-carotene, which may play a part in cancer prevention.  Pumpkin is hydrating, at 90% water, can boost your mood and is beneficial in keeping skin smooth and wrinkle-free.

The average American will reportedly consume five pounds of pumpkin this year, but it may be that Americans love pumpkin-flavored foods and beverages even more. Pumpkin beer now accounts for two-thirds of all fall beer sales, according to Nielsen and Starbucks’ early release of their Pumpkin Spice Lattes felt like a national holiday. (As an said, we tend to agree with Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s take on this spiced drink, that “the coffee that tastes like a candle.”)

But back to the task at hand: sharing our favorite pumpkin-inspired foods.  If you have the time, bake The GREAT Pumpkin Bread because it’s amazing and nothing tastes more like fall. If you are slim on time, we have to admit that Trader Joe’s offers a good alternative when baking from scratch isn’t always accessible.  Their boxed pumpkin mix, with its prep time of four minutes flat, is causing us to stockpile our pantry for the months ahead, like a squirrel gathering acorns.

Equally as delicious is another new favorite: Pumpkin Pancakes, also from Trader Joe’s. This light and delicious breakfast treat is irresistible when topped with melted butter and paired with crispy bacon and charmed ever the most seasoned pancake connoisseur.

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If you want to add a little pumpkin to your body regime, try a moisturizing pumpkin body mask (1/2 cup each of pumpkin puree and cold-pressed coconut oil with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon).  Massage into skin, wait 10 minutes and then rinse with warm water.

For the extreme pumpkin experience, head to the World Pumpkin Capital in Half Moon Bay, California for the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival to “pay homage to the great and almighty gourd.” Complete with a pumpkin parade, art & crafts, a $30,000 pumpkin weigh off and “Smashing Pumpkins: Battle of the Bands” competing on three stages, there is plenty to celebrate at this world-famous annual event.  So raise your Jack-o-tini and toast the arrival of Orange October.

 How are you enjoying this seasonal favorite?

Frozen at Pressed Juicery

IMG_4455California was hit hard in 2010 with the juicing craze. Suddenly there were hundreds of recipes online and in print, kale growing in every garden and a parade of kitchenware to produce your own juice. In Southern California, however, Pressed Juicery in Brentwood was one of the first spots to encourage people to abandon their kitchens and drink their greens elsewhere.

Teens and adults began their new healthy obsession with juice cleanses, spending $8 on a single bottle containing kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, and lemon. Celebrities and ubermoms swore by Pressed Juicery promises: a regulated, nourished colon, increased energy and stamina, increased mental clarity, better sleep patterns and a radiant complexion. Customers embraced the “getting back to your roots mantra” and Pressed Juicery began to expand its stores throughout Southern and Northern California, as well as online with free at home delivery.

Just when palates started adjusting to the earthy ingredients, Pressed Juicery in 2014 announced a new addition: “Freeze,” a soft-serve frozen treat using only juices from fruits and veggies, plus almonds and coconuts. This trifecta (it’s vegan, gluten free & dairy free) is not quite the consistency of frozen yogurts, but it rivals other frozen yogurt stops because of its comparably short ingredient list and sweet distinctive taste.

IMG_4470With 6 flavors, Freeze appeals to all generations: greens and roots (popular among supermoms on the go), citrus and fruits (for the teens and tweens ready for any new edible trend), and chocolate almond and vanilla almond (for sweets loving kids and adults ). Toppings such as homemade granola, shaved coconut, fresh fruits, and nuts can be added. Unlike juicing, you can’t imitate Freeze at home. The only way to satisfy your craving currently is at Stanford Shopping Mall in Palo Alto, where Freeeze began a test run earlier this summer. It’s instant  popularity means this chilly treat will be hitting other California stores in late 2014.

If this cold treat doesn’t sound like your cup of nutrients, several new flavors (including simple juices like watermelon and orange) have just been released and we’ve already crowned “Brazil Nut” our new favorite!

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Have you tried this new frozen treat or are a fan of the cold pressed? Leave us a comment with your favorite (or least favorite) flavors.

Quick Tech 411-Good Eggs

Spend just two minutes on the  Good Eggs site and you’ll either pop in an order right away or send them an email begging they come to your community next.  At the heart of this tech company is a genuine desire to connect small food producers with consumers who value local grown and artisanal food products.

Good Eggs Order-Tues
Currently available in the Bay Area, Brooklyn, LA and New Orleans, GoodEggs provides a wide range of groceries-from produce to dairy to fish to snacks-from local farmers and producers.
 Customers select their groceries, (gluten-free, vegan or other specialty products abound) choose either pick up or free delivery (yes, free delivery) and Good Eggs handles the rest.  Their network of providers receive an email by midnight with orders for the next day, which they then deliver to the Good Eggs warehouse.  Orders are packed (reusable ice packs and insulated sleeves are part of the “lending library” which you return or leave for pick up with the next order) and sent on their way.

It’s local, it’s simple and it’s like magic when your order simply appears at your front door.  There is also the added bonus of supporting small food businesses, farmers, entrepreneurs-like the Good Eggs motto: “Better Food, More Heart.”

Here’s how to give it a try:IMG_4242

1. Visit Good Eggs and select exactly what you want

2. Choose either pick up or free delivery

3. Enjoy!

 

*Top snapshot  shows order placed in one minute on the site this morning, for delivery on  Thursday. Lower photo is last week’s delivery.

What’s For Dinner

Nearly every meal around here in September involves tomatoes from the garden.  While our go-to “burrata, tomato, basil” is always a crowd pleaser-for tonight’s family dinner we turned to one of our favorite (and well tagged) cookbooks “What Would Brian Boitano Make?” for inspiration.

BB's Book

Best know for his excellence on the ice rink, Brian began a second career as a culinary champion. Beginning in 2009, he hosted a show on the Cooking Channel (later on the Food Network), showcasing his favorite recipes to prepare in his San Francisco home for friends and family.  His cookbook features many of the same themes as the show-fresh, accessible ingredients, a straightforward approach to cooking and a generous sprinkling of his Italian heritage.  His style is relaxed and perfectly matches our Sunday mood.

Sunday nights are a favorite evening to invite neighbors or another family over for a quick catch-up before the busy week ahead.  We set a relaxed table for a one course meal-served family style, and guests often bring the dessert. The result is cocktails to clean up in under 2 hours, with very little prep.  For tonight-we are pairing Brian’s “Heirloom Tomato, Cantaloupe and Feta Salad” with  a grilled market steak and crunchy grilled french bread-an easy, relaxed meal that ensures your time is spent with your guests and not in the kitchen. Brian’s salad takes 10 minutes to prep and results in a gorgeous, colorful and delicious late summer dish that is universally enjoyed.

BB's Salad

In a bowl combine 2 cups of diced tomatoes (we mix whatever we harvest that day-heirloom, roma, cherry) ⋅  2 cups diced cantaloupe  10 leaves basil cut with kitchen scissors ⋅ 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts  ⋅ toss with dressing (3 Tbs avocado oil + 1 Tbs white balsamic vinegar)  ⋅ a little maldon flakes salt on top  enjoy

*FYI Brian’s recipe calls for 1 cup of feta cheese and we offer ours on the side so those who wish to enjoy may

Bulletproofing It

IMG_4289We hear from our friends on the East Coast and Jimmy Fallon too, that Bulletproof Coffee has been making the rounds for a while (how did we miss this?) It’s time to brew, blend, butter and sip a cup.  

At a high level, here’s what we know: Bulletproof Coffee is a recipe formulated in 2009 by biohacker Dave Asprey with its genesis at the top of Mt Kailash in Tibet, where a revitalizing cup of yak butter tea provided a physical and mental boost and an initial spark.

By combining pure brewed coffee, unsalted butter and coconut oil in a blender, a creamy latte-like beverage is produced that by many accounts results in increased focus, improved brain and body energy, weight loss and muscle gain. Or as Jimmy Fallon said,  “you burn energy slower, longer and you don’t eat as much.”

The secret, at least partially, is in the quality of the ingredients.

First, the beans. Coffee that is cheap or high in toxins can adversely affect  brain function, mood and energy levels-clearly the opposite of what most of us would hope for. Look for local coffee that is low in toxins.

Unsalted grass-fed butter. Happy, grass-fed cows produce butter with improved nutritional properties and is a source of good cholesterol.  Basically, use better butter.

Coconut oil (or medium-chain triglyceride oil if you have that hiding in the cupboard) considered by some to be the healthiest oil on earth, naturally increases energy and metabolism.

When you blend it all together, the resulting drink, with its high calorie count, is intended as a meal replacement, not an add-on to breakfast.

So gather clean beans, better butter, coconut oil and your blender.  For simplicity we are using the Bulletproof Coffee kit-which includes the beans and MCT oil (the aforementioned medium-chain oil) and purchased butter from a local farm.

IMG_4295Let’s do this:

1. Brew coffee using Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee or other low-toxin beans

2. To a pre-heated blender, add 2 cups of coffee, 1-2 Tbs unsalted grass-fed butter, 1-2 Tbs coconut/MCT oil

3. Blend until frothy, like a latte, and enjoy

4. See how the next 6 hours go

We’ll report back how our day went after a morning dose of bulletproof-so stay tuned!  Have you tried Bulletproof Coffee? What did you think?