Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gnocchi alla Romana

This easy noodle dish is perfect for serving up any day of the week. Get the kids involved in the prep work and cooking to get them excited about food. If you don't have kids, this recipe is a great way to use up that leftover polenta and enjoy an entirely different meal. Whatever you decide, grab a fork, because you're sure to eat up every bite.

Gnocchi alla Romana
Excerpted from Noodle Kids by Chef Jonathon Sawyer of

Sometimes we make this dish just as it’s written here. Other times I make soft polenta to serve with supper one night and I save the leftovers to make this dish later in the week. All you have to do is add the flour, cheese, and eggs. Cooking in large batches and using all the leftovers is something we do in the restaurant. It makes a lot of sense at home, too.


6 cups (1410 ml) whole organic milk
3 tablespoons (42 g) salted butter
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups (280 g) polenta or semolina
1 tablespoon (8 g) all-purpose organic flour
2 cups (200 g) grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, divided
2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (235 ml) of your favorite tomato sauce

Other stuff

Two square (9 inches, or 23 cm each) baking dishes
Medium saucepan
Plastic wrap
Round cookie cutter

How to

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180ºC, or gas mark 4) and grease two baking dishes.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk, butter, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Add the polenta in a slow, steady stream while whisking vigorously. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the polenta has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the flour and 12/3 cups (165 g) of the cheese. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then stir in the eggs.

Pour the mixture into one baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and cool in the refrigerator.

Using the round cookie cutter, cut the cooled polenta into circles. Layer the rounds in concentric circles in the other baking dish. Top with the tomato sauce and the remaining 1/3 cup (35 g) cheese. Bake until golden brown and delicious, about 25 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Chef Says

If you are using an heirloom variety of polenta, good for you. Just follow the package cooking instructions before adding the cheese and eggs. Some types of heirloom polentas can take as long as 3 hours to cook.


Noodle Kids Around the World in 50 Fun, Healthy, Creative Recipes the Whole Family Can Cook Together 

Oodles and oodles of noodles! Get your kids in the kitchen with Noodle Kids. Packed with recipes, tips, suggestions, and inspiration to introduce children to, and get them involved in, making noodles like Japanese ramen, Italian spaghetti, Southeast Asian stir-fries, and classic American mac and cheese. The recipes are simple and will take you on a journey around the world. The tips provided can help you choose the perfect topping and even help you set up your very own noodle bar dinner party! So go ahead, see where these worldly noodle recipes will take you!

"There is nothing that sings in the key of joy like a happy child and almost nothing that brings me to a higher plane than a delicious plate of pasta. Chef/dad/genius Jonathon Sawyer has combined the two to create this handbook of tasty euphoria that makes the celebration of the creation and sharing of simple and delightful noodle-bound happiness as a family the ultimate expression of love and collaboration. This book will make you, your kids and their pals, (and your childish friends) a happy, jubilant choir of yum." - Mario Batali, chef, restaurateur, writer, and media personality
Blogger Tricks

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I know that most of the Northeast United States is buried under what sounds like the most epic snowpocalypse of all time (helllllloooooo #Juno), but I thought we could all still use some cupcakes, ammiright? Cupcakes taste a lot better when you have the perfect icing, so today we're sharing our favorite swiss meringue buttercream icing from Elizabeth Marek's new book. Whatever cupcakes (or cake) you put this icing on will go quickly. We promise. And there's no better way to spend a snow day than that.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Excerpted from The Artisan Cake Company's Visual Guide to Cake Decorating by Elizabeth Marek

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC) is smooth, rich, light, creamy, and dreamy. It is the buttercream that I use the most. It has a not-too-sweet flavor and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The butter content makes it ideal for chilling and for using on sculpted cakes.


8 egg whites
1 lb/454 g granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb/454 g unsalted butter
3.5 oz/99 g solid vegetable shortening
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water.

Whisk occasionally. When mixture reaches a temperature of 120°F/49°C (use a thermometer), the sugar is dissolved.

Place egg white mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and turn onto high.

Add salt and beat until stiff peaks form.

Let buttercream cool to room temperature. I will usually take out half of the meringue and place into a cake pan and put both in the refrigerator to cool down faster.

Once cooled, add chunks of butter to meringue on medium high and then add the shortening.

Let whip until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract.


Chocolate Buttercream

Add 1 oz/27 g cocoa powder to the buttercream and a splash of dark rum to enhance the chocolate flavor. Whip until combined.

Mint Chocolate Chip

The easy way to do this is to add a touch of mint extract and some mini chocolate chips, but I find that nothing beats fresh mint leaves. I actually infuse my eggs and sugar with two to three sprigs of mint leaves while the sugar is dissolving and then pull out the leaves before whipping. Once the buttercream is whipped up, I add a dab of green food coloring (optional) and a handful of mini chocolate chips—delicious between chocolate cake layers.


Brew some extra strong coffee or espresso and chill it. Use a tablespoon or so to flavor buttercream to taste. You can also use instant espresso powder mixed with a little water to get the same results. Add small amounts until you get the taste you like. You can always add more but you can’t take it out.

Salted Caramel

This tasty buttercream works great in many flavor combinations. My favorite is ganache, salted caramel buttercream, and vanilla cake. It’s like eating a candy bar. Add two tablespoons to your buttercream (more or less, to suit your tastes).

Lemon Buttercream

You can add lemon curd and some zest to your buttercream but I actually prefer the lemon extract or lemon oil and some zest for this one. I don’t like my buttercream too lemony, and the oil really gives it a light flavor.

Strawberry Buttercream

This buttercream is made by adding a couple of tablespoons of strawberry purée (recipe on page 23) to the batch and then whipping it all up until it’s nice and fluffy. If your buttercream is breaking, meaning it looks grainy—as if the fats and liquids are separating—heat the bottom of the mixing bowl just a tad with a crème brûlée torch to help combine the two together. It helps to have the buttercream and the purée at the same temperature for even mixing.


Artisan Cake Company's Visual Guide to Cake Decorating 

In Artisan Cake Company's Visual Guide to Cake Decorating, Elizabeth Marek shows beginner-cake-decorators how to get started with stylish cake decorating techniques. Learn to add ruffles, stripes, and geometric patterns to your cakes. Figure out how to create the effect of cascading petals or metallic finishes. An easy, visual step-by-step format with hundreds of stunning photos, Marek will guide you through the tools, recipes and basics of decorating. Artisan Cake Company's Visual Guide to Cake Decorating also features principles of simple cake design using buttercream frosting, fondant, gumpaste, and more. From party cakes and wedding cakes to more advanced 3D cakes, this book explores a full range of cake decorating for beginners to professional-level. Let Elizabeth Marek's Artisan Cake Company's Visual Guide to Cake Decorating help you get your cake from boring and bland to amazing and spectacular.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Superfood Miso Carrot Salad Sandwich

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone out there who has never had a sandwich. After all, everyone has had a sandwich at least once in their life, right? But how often have you had that perfect sandwich? The one that makes you remember how much you adore sandwiches? Making a great sandwich at home isn't as hard as you think and the varieties are endless. Take this miso carrot salad sandwich. With an Asian flair, this superfoods sandwich is sure to bring the flavor (and have you remembering all of the reasons why you should have sandwiches all the time).

Miso Carrot Salad Sandwich
Excerpted from Superfood Sandwiches by Katie Chudy

RECOMMENDED BREAD: Honey Miso Whole Wheat Sesame Buns (recipe follows), sub rolls, burger buns
YIELD: 4 sandwiches

This sandwich is for nights when taking more than 10 to 15 minutes to put together a meal isn’t in the cards. It’s also perfect for road trips and take-to-work lunches because it’s so easy to transport and its bright, fresh flavors are the perfect pick-me-up for a midday slump.

2½ teaspoons white miso
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons (2 g) chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon (3 g) chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
3 cups (330 g) shredded carrot
1 cup (150 g) mandarin orange slices
4 buns, sliced in half

In a medium-size bowl, combine the white miso, rice wine vinegar, ginger, cilantro, mint, and sesame seeds. Add the carrots and stir to combine, making sure the miso vinaigrette coats the carrots evenly. Add the mandarin orange slices and stir to combine. Divide the carrot salad among the 4 buns.

Honey Miso Whole Wheat Sesame Buns
YIELD: 6 to 8 buns

Miso, fermented soybean paste, is what gives these buns a unique flavor. Five-spice powder, a Chinese blend of five to seven spices (traditionally star anise, clove, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, fennel, and Szechuan peppercorns), is also in the mix. This powder is thought to have been the result of someone trying to produce a “wonder blend” that included all five flavors—sour, bitter, sweet, salty, and savory. Though these buns are made from common Asian ingredients, don’t feel like they are only fit for Asian meals. They’re more versatile than you might think. You can also omit the five-spice powder for a more all-purpose bun if you wish. If you don’t have black and white sesame seeds, use whatever you have on hand and, of course, you could omit them altogether, but they
lend a nice nuttiness to the finished bread and look beautiful, adding a lot of character to any sandwich.

1 cup (235 ml) warm water
2¼ teaspoons (9 g) yeast
1½ teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
2½ teaspoons white miso paste
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ teaspoons black sesame seeds, plus more for the top
1½ teaspoons white sesame seeds, plus more for the top
2¼ cups (270 g) whole wheat flour
1 egg

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the warm water, yeast, and honey in a small bowl. Stir to combine and set aside until the yeast starts to foam, 5 to 10 minutes. Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the oil, five-spice powder, miso, salt, and both sesame seeds. Add the water-yeast mixture to the bowl, and then add the flour.

Knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough comes together and is elastic. If you don’t have access to a stand mixer, you can make this by hand by combining the sesame oil, five-spice powder, miso, salt, and both sesame seeds in a large bowl. Add the water-yeast mixture and then the flour and combine with your hands or a spoon. Once the dough comes together, transfer it to a clean work surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until it’s smooth and elastic.

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the bowl sit in a warm place until the dough rises and doubles in size, about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down with your hand. Turn out the dough onto a clean working surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a tight bun with your hands and using your palm, flatten the bun a bit. Repeat for each bun. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC, or gas mark 6) and allow the dough to rise again and double in size, about another 30 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap from the buns. In a small bowl, combine the egg and a splash of water. Use a pastry brush to evenly coat the top of each bun with the egg wash, being careful not to get too much on the paper or at the bottom where the dough meets the paper, which can cause it to stick and burn. Sprinkle each bun with the sesame seeds and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the rolls reaches 200ºF (93ºC).


Superfood Sandwiches Crafting Nutritious Sandwiches with Superfoods for Every Meal and Occasion 

There's nothing better than chomping into a super-fresh sandwich with crusty bread, packed high with all your favorite nutritious fillings. Some say the sandwich is boring and classless - not the case for these sandwiches packed with superfoods.

Superfood Sandwiches features recognized superfoods, fresh vegetables, fruits, all-natural meats and cheeses, and quality baked breads, making any sandwich a respectable and versatile meal.

Start from scratch or use up some leftovers. Whether you're on a budget or aiming for gourmet, Chef Katie Chudy provides tips and shortcuts for those in a hurry as well as more detailed recipes and options, making some extra effort in the kitchen well worth it. Inside, you'll find easy and healthy recipes, such as:

- Buttermilk Whole Wheat Bread
- Tomatillo Yogurt Sauce
- Beet Green and Pecan Pesto
- Turmeric Chickpeas with Cardamon Spiced Apple Sandwich
- Spinach and Zucchini Cornmeal Cakes with Spiced Goat Cheese
- Argentinian Steak Sandwich with Kale Chimichurri
- Sage Roasted Pumpkin and Smoked Gouda Melts
- Edamame Fried Rice Veggie "burger"
- Quinoa Crusted Eggplant Parmesan Sub
- Swiss Chard, Fennel and Walnut Sandwich with Panchetta Chips and Saffron Yogurt Sauce

Superfood Sandwiches revitalizes the concept of the everyday sandwich, drawing on global flavors and incorporating healthy superfoods that you want to eat. Celebrate the sandwich - a hearty meal option that is nutritious enough for any time of the day or night - while featuring fun and quirky recipes that will liven up your kitchen.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Smokin’ Hot Pork Butt

My husband and I are huge fans of vacationing in North Carolina's Outer Banks. In addition to the gorgeous scenery and sprawling beaches, we spend most of our time eating BBQ. There is really nothing better (in my humble opinion) than a good Carolina 'cue. I could literally eat it every day. No joke.

So when I found out that there was a 12 Bones Smokehouse Cookbook coming out, I just about jumped for joy (literally). Let's all get excited together with this sneak peek recipe from the book.

Smokin’ Hot Pork Butt
Excerpted from 12 Bones Smokehouse: A Mountain BBQ Cookbook by the team behind 12 Bones Smokehouse

Yield: 8–10 servings

1 (5–6 pound) boneless pork butt
3/4 cup 12 Bones Butt Rub 

12 Bones Butt Rub

This is what we use on our big Boston butts—which eventually become pulled pork—before smoking. You can do the same or you can use it on a regular, oven-roasted pork loin, if you want. This has a rather earthy flavor, which separates it from many store-bought rubs you’ll find. It may seem full-flavored at first glance since pork has a neutral flavor, but the fat can easily drown out spices if you go too light.

Yield: 4 1/2 cups

1 cup iodized salt
1/4 cup cayenne
2 cups paprika
1/2 cup granulated garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons dry English mustard
2 1/2 tablespoons dry whole oregano
2 1/2 tablespoons seasoning salt
2 1/2 tablespoons fine ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground allspice

Combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store what isn’t used in an airtight container.

Preparing the Smokin' Hot Pork Butt

When it comes to barbecue, there’s an ongoing debate about what truly authentic ’cue really is. In North Carolina, that debate borders on an all-out squabble. In the eastern part of the state, you’ll find many who swear that whole hog is the only way to go.

Farther out west, particularly in our neck of the woods, we tend to go for big old hunks of meat from the shoulder. It seems like the only thing most factions can agree on is that true barbecue is laced with the flavor of a long, slow roast over hardwood. That's why some may take issue with this recipe, which calls for smoking the meat only halfway, and then finishing it in the oven.

For those with a desire to stand outside all day and baste to their heart’s content, skip the oven and keep smoking until your pork butt, and all of its connective tissue and fat, have slumped and melted to form the heavenly mess that is perfect barbecue. Look for an internal temperature between 190 and 205°F, and you’re done.

This recipe is for those who can’t, or don’t want to, stay outside all day. Using boneless pork butt and
finishing it in the oven means you’re saving time, not only on the day of, but also the days beforehand.

That’s because no brining is necessary for this pork butt to turn out plenty moist. And, since the cut is
boneless, there will be more nooks and crannies to get the rub inside, which will give it plenty of flavor. Bring this dish to a potluck or summer picnic and you’ll be the king of the neighborhood. If you want to pretend you worked at it for 12 hours, we won’t tell anyone.

Mix the Butt Rub in just enough water to make a thick paste, which should be about 1/4 cup water. Thoroughly coat the pork butt, making sure to get the seasoning in all the crevices. Soak the wood chips and prepare a grill or smoker for indirect heat between 225 and 240°F, but no higher than 240°F. Smoke the pork butt over indirect heat for 3 to 4 hours, or until a good dark crust forms. The internal temperature should reach about 170°F.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300°F. Transfer the pork butt to a roasting pan. Chef Shane says he likes to line the bottom of the pan with some onions and garlic, on top of which he sets the pork butt, which keeps it from sitting in its own fat. Cover the pan with foil, tenting the foil to make sure it doesn’t touch the butt. Finish in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 190 to 205°F, which should take about 4 hours.

Let the butt rest for about 30 minutes, then slice, pull, or chop it. Serve with the “Q” sauce of your choice or plain.


12 Bones Smokehouse 

For lovers of the 12 Bones restaurant - including President Obama - as well as fans of progressive 'cue, 12 Bones Smokehouse includes signature recipes and techniques for ribs, pulled pork, and all the fixin's.

When 12 Bones Smokehouse opened Asheville, North Carolina, in the early 2000s, many doubted that it would succeed. The food wasn't 100-percent traditional or 100-percent true to Carolina barbecue's heritage. A decade later, 12 Bones has become a local institution that rivals the Biltmore Estate in popularity. In fact, it's 12 Bones alone that has been on President Obama's itinerary all three times he's passed through Asheville.

12 Bones Smokehouse is true to the spirit of the place. Everything is made from scratch, the meats are smoked long and slow over select hardwoods, and cornbread is not optional. Simple ingredients and lots of care make the best food. This cookbook includes over 60 recipes, ranging from beet salad to smoky collards to sauces, rubs, and dessert, built for the modern palate - blueberry-chipotle, pineapple, and brown sugar and spice are just a few of the rib flavors. Traditional sauces, like Carolina vinegar, are punched up with fresh jalapeno and cilantro.

Ribs, pork, bacon, beef, and turkey recipes abound, but 12 Bones Smokehouse is also uniquely vegetarian-friendly. From sides that have a symbiotic relationship with meat (potato salad with potatoes that never touch meat but benefit from the smoking process) to completely vegetarian creations (jalepeno cheddar grits, anyone?), there's something for diners of every stripe - vegetarian or carnivore.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Parsnip and Thyme Galette

Winter can be cold, long, and miserable. Which is why you should always have some great winter recipes on hand to get you through the "dark" months. If you haven't ever made a galette, definitely add this one to your arsenal. This vegetarian parsnip and thyme galette uses winter ingredients and hearty pastry and ricotta cheese to make a meal that everyone will adore.

Erin's new cookbook, The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen, publishes in April and is filled with great vegetarian recipes for every season. It teaches you the basics and then expands with easy and fast alternate versions of each recipe.

Parsnip and Thyme Galette
Excerpted from The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen by Erin Alderson

My husband and I have different eating habits, especially when it comes to carbs. He could happily give up bread or pastry without missing it, while I wouldn’t last a week before being struck with longing for a slice of bread smeared with peanut butter. What’s more, I love flaky pastries passionately—croissants, Danishes—anything with a crust, really. And that’s where this galette comes into the picture. This freeform pastry is half about the crust, and half about the filling, and it’s one of the few recipes in which I use unbleached all-purpose flour to ensure a wonderfully flaky crust—one that also provides a solid base for just about any filling you can think of.

As for the filling, you could, technically, omit the ricotta and use only vegetables, but I love the ricotta-vegetable layer. And, for the most part, I like to keep the flavors of the filling fairly simple, with hardly anything more than a tablespoon of fresh mixed herbs. A slice of galette and a good side salad make for an elegant dinner that’s filling without being overly heavy.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 recipe Ricotta Galette (recipe follows)
1 parsnip, thinly shaved
1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon dried thyme

Toss the shaved parsnip with the melted butter and thyme. Prepare the Ricotta Galette as directed, layering the parsnip mixture on the ricotta in place of the vegetable filling. Bake as directed.

Ricotta Galette

1 cup (120 g) unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup (56 g) cold unsalted butter
1 ounce (28 g) cream cheese
1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup
2 tablespoons (30 ml) cold water

½ cup (120 g) ricotta
2 teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1½ cups (240 g) thinly sliced vegetables
2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C, or gas mark 5) and cover a baking tray with parchment paper.

To make the crust: In a food processor or large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the butter and cream cheese, pulsing in a food processor or using your fingers until the dough is in pea-size pieces. Add the maple syrup and water, pulsing or stirring until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a floured work surface and roll the dough into a 10-inch (25 cm) circle. Transfer to the baking tray.

To make the filling: In a bowl, whip together the ricotta, honey, black pepper, and sea salt. Spread the ricotta over the crust, leaving an edge of roughly 1½ inches (3.8 cm). Layer on the vegetables, and fold the edges of the crust over the outer edges of the layered ricotta and vegetables, pleating the crust as you go in order to make an even circle.

Whisk together the heavy cream and egg, then brush the crust with the egg wash. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is set and bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.


The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen 

Fresh, delicious vegetables should be a staple of any diet, but if you've decided that you'd like to take your Meatless Mondays to a whole new level, then it might be time to ditch the processed foods and meats and try out a vegetarian diet. Eating vegetarian doesn't have to be complicated! In fact, it can be downright scrumptious and satisfying.

The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen helps you to create simple meals that will help you live a happier and healthier life. Erin Alderson, the popular voice behind the whole foods, vegetarian blog Naturally Ella, shows you how to easily eat plant-based vegetarian meals every day.

With 50 core recipes for everything from entrees to appetizers and desserts, The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen guides you through staple recipes such as salads, sandwiches, stir-frys, and stews and easily adapt them to seasonal or oh-hand ingredients. Enjoy spring's fresh asparagus in a delicious frittata and change it up for winter with Curried Butternut Squash and Feta. Core recipes allow readers to build an essential pantry list so eating vegetarian is always easy. And if you feel like going vegan, each recipe can be easily adapted with flavorful substitutions.

Start filling your kitchen, and your belly, with healthy, plant-based ingredients and start eating your way to a happier meat-free life.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Kids Cook French: Ratatouille

Kids are little sponges. For better or for worse, they watch (and mimic) everything you do. So it just makes sense that you should start letting them help out around the kitchen at a young age. In fact, Jacques Pepin and his daughter Claudine, believe you should have kids in the kitchen right from the start. I've always worked hard to include my kids in kitchen projects. Whether it's letting them add flour and sugar to a mixing bowl or holding them up to stir a pot of soup, they simply adore being involved.

If you're looking for a great way to introduce some culture to your cooking time, look no further than Claudine Pepin's new cookbook, Kids Cook French. It's filled with classic French recipes that you can make with your family AND it includes the French translations of the recipes next to the English, so you can teach your family (and yourself) the French words for ingredients. It's a fun way to get kids cooking.

Without further ado, here's Claudine's recipe for Ratatouille (with the French translation below). Bon appetit!

Excerpted from Kids Cook French by Claudine Pepin (with illustrations by Jacques Pepin)

Ratatouille is a taste of summer and a perfect dish to freeze when you have more zucchini in your garden than you can ever possibly eat. Traditionally, it is made with peppers, but I don’t like peppers, so I don’t use them. Please feel free to add them if you are a fan. This lovely vegetable dish can be served hot or cold and is great for a summer party.

Serves 8

2 small or Japanese eggplant (1 1/2 pounds [680 g])
1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups [240 g])
2 zucchini, diced (1 1/4 pounds [570 g]) (about 3 cups)
2 yellow squash (1 1/4 pounds [570 g]), diced (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup (60 ml) canola oil
2 tablespoons (20 g) garlic (3 to 4 cloves, peeled and chopped fine)
1 1/2 tablespoons herbs of Provence
1 1/2 tablespoons (27 g) kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pints cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup (10 g) chopped (chiffonade) fresh basil


Cut the eggplant, onion, zucchini, and squash into approximately ¾-inch (2 cm) dice. Heat the oil to medium high in a large sauté pan or 8-quart (7.6 L) sauce pot with a lid. Add the eggplant and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the onions, garlic, herbs of Provence, salt, and black pepper. Sauté until the onions are translucent. If the onions and garlic are browning, add a couple of tablespoons of water. By the time the water evaporates, the onions should be translucent.

Add the zucchini and yellow squash. Cover and turn the heat to medium low and allow to cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the lid, stir, and add the tomatoes. Continue to cook on low (with lid removed) for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add additional seasoning as necessary and stir in the basil chiffonade.



La ratatouille est un avant-goût de l’été et un plat idéal à congeler si vous avez plus de courgettes dans votre jardin que vous ne pouvez en manger. Traditionnellement, on utilise des poivrons, mais je n’aime pas les poivrons, donc je ne les utilise pas. N’hésitez pas à les ajouter si vous en êtes adeptes. Cet agréable plat de légumes peut être servi chaud ou froid et est idéal pour les fêtes estivales.

Pour 8 personnes

2 petites aubergines ou aubergines japonaises (1 livre et demie [680 g])
1 oignon jaune moyen, coupé en dés (environs 1 tasse et demie [240 g])
2 courgettes, coupées en dés (1 livre ¼ [570 g]) (environ 3 tasses)
2 courges jaunes (1 livre ¼ [570 g]), coupées en dés (environ 3 tasses)
¼ de tasse (60 ml) d’huile de colza
2 cuillères à soupe (20 g) d’ail (3 à 4 gousses, pelées et hachées finement)
1 cuillère à soupe et demie d’herbes de Provence
1 cuillère à soupe (27 g) et demie de sel
1 cuillère à café de poivre noir fraîchement moulu
1 kilo de tomates cerises
¼ de tasse (10 g) de basilic frais haché (chiffonnade)


Couper les aubergines, oignons, courgettes et courges en dés d’environ ¾ pouce (2 cm). Chauffer l’huile à feu moyen-élevé dans une grande sauteuse ou une casserole avec couvercle (environ 8 quart = 7,6 L). Ajouter les aubergines et faire cuire 5 minutes.

Ajouter les oignons, l’ail, les herbes de Provence, le sel et le poivre noir. Faire revenir jusqu’à ce que les oignons soient translucides. Si les oignons et l’ail se colorent, ajouter quelques cuillères à soupe d’eau. Quand l’eau a fini de s’évaporer, les oignons devraient être translucides.

Ajouter les courgettes et les courges jaunes. Couvrir et laisser cuire à feu moyen-doux 5 à 8 minutes. Retirer le couvercle, mélanger et ajouter les tomates. Continuer à cuire à feu doux (à découvert) 15 à 20 minutes. Assaisonner un peu plus si nécessaire et ajouter le haché de basilic.


Kids Cook French 

According to Jacques Pepin, "the moment for a child to be in the kitchen is from the moment they are born." Kids Cook French, written by his daughter Claudine Pepin, is a fun, interactive cookbook for kids that introduces them to the art and joy of cooking. It gets them interested in making their own meals and better eating habits, while also teaching them the importance of culture. Featuring classic, simple dishes inspired by French cuisine, each recipe is shown in both French and English and accompanied by charming illustrations. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients and hands-on preparation, dishes include traditional starters, main courses, and desserts. Your child's creativity will be sparked, as will your deeper connection with them--so, get them in that kitchen and start playing chef. Who knows - you might have the next great French cuisine Chef standing next to you!

"Kids Cook French is a magical introduction to some of the most delicious French classics. With Claudine's recipes, her father's and her daughter's illustrations, this is a book by a family for your family." - Dana Cowin, Editor in Chief, FOOD & WINE

"I cannot think of anyone more qualified to write a French cookbook for children than Claudine Pepin! A trusted television personality, accomplished cook, seasoned teacher, and dedicated mom, Claudine has spent her entire life learning from and cooking alongside the most renowned chefs in the world. Complete with countless personal stories, beautiful illustrations by her father and her daughter, and timeless recipes developed with her husband, Kids Cook French is an absolute delight for the whole family and a source of inspiration for aspiring chefs of all ages. Bravo!" - Gail Simmons, TV host and author of Talking With My Mouth Full

"If there's one thing I've learned from the French, it's that good cooking is not an end in itself. Rather, it's the crucial thing that brings the family together for a meal at the end of every day - and nothing's more important than that. Claudine Pepin, Jacques's daughter, was schooled in this lesson from birth. Now she is paying it forward. Simply but clearly written, and vivid with illustrations that recall the "Madeleine" books, "Kids Cook French" is seductive. If anyone can tempt kids away from nuggets and pizza, into the kitchen, and on to the dinner table, it's Claudine." - Sara Moulton of Sara's Weeknight Meals

"My dear friends, Claudine and her father Jacques Pépin, have taught America to love French cooking. Now, with this very special book, these two amazing storytellers have shared their passion for family, fun and good food with a new generation of cooks. Claudine's recipes open a window into the flavors of France, and Jacques astonishing drawings will inspire children to be hungry for more!" - Jose Andres, internationally acclaimed chef, author, educator, and owner of ThinkFoodGroup

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Kids' Lunches: Southwest Quinoa

There's nothing worse than struggling to figure out what to feed your kids each night. It's even harder to know what to send them to school with. Whether your kid is a picky eater or not, we all want to provide our families with healthy meals... especially for lunch. If you haven't jumped onto the quinoa bandwagon yet, this is the perfect recipe to get started with. It's packed with flavor and can be served hot or cold. Add corn chips to your kids' lunch for an added crunch and a fun element.

Don't have kids? Who cares? Make this meal for yourself or a loved one. Healthy and fun meals don't just have to be for kids, right?

Southwest Quinoa
Excerpted from The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet by Laura Fuentes of

We weren’t big fans of quinoa until we tried it this way. Make this hearty dish part of your lunchbox rotation.

For the Quinoa:
2 cups (475 ml) water
1 cup (173 g) quinoa, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup (195 g) jarred salsa
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup (4 g) finely chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish
3 scallions, sliced thinly crossways
1 can (15 ounces, or 425 g) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup (130 g) frozen corn
2 medium tomatoes, chopped

For the Dressing:
1/2 cup (115 g) plain yogurt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lime juice
1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
1/2 teaspoon (1 g) freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon (3 g) garlic powder

1 avocado, diced
1 cup (115 g) shredded Cheddar cheese

To make the quinoa: Bring the water to a boil, then stir in the quinoa, lower the heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, and turn off the heat. Cover and let sit for 6 minutes—you’ll know the quinoa is ready when you see the little white “tail” of the germ around the outside edge of each seed. Once the quinoa is done, add the salsa, chili powder, and cumin, folding to combine well. Mix in cilantro, scallions, beans, corn, and tomatoes. Fold a few times until thoroughly combined.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt, lime juice, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add the dressing, folding gently to combine. Top with the avocado and cheese, and garnish with additional cilantro.

For a school lunch: Pack the leftovers in a container. This salad is great eaten cold or at room temperature as well.

YIELD: 4 servings


The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet 

We all know that kids need to eat right and get the nutrition they need to be their best all day long. So why not make lunches that will power their growing brains and bodies? Making lunches at home is a great way to keep your child healthy. Not only does it allow you to nourish your child with the most pure and wholesome ingredients, but it also gives you the peace of mind of knowing what has gone into every bite your little one takes. Full of recipes to suit every age and stage, The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet shows you how simple and easy it is to prepare food that'll be the envy of the lunch table. The 200+ adorable and inspiring recipes in this book are just as much a joy to make as they are to eat! There are even entire lunchbox meals that are gluten-, soy-, and/or nut-free. Make your own super-delicious, super-nutritious homemade lunches today--it's guaranteed to be at the top of the class!