Category Archives: breakfast & brunch

Backyard Feast: Fava Beans and Pecorino, Rosewater Fruit Salad

Backyard feast with pecorino and fava beans, rosewater fruit salad, mexican chia crackers, and raw macadamia nut cheese rolled in pistachios

Fava Beans with Pecorino

 

Rosewater Red Fruit Salad

The weather has been wonderful lately, a real treat compared to last year’s never ending “winter” in SF. We’ve been enjoying our backyard and sat out around 3:30pm yesterday to have a little backyard feast after a rough day of household tasks (and, admittedly, the diligent avoidance of all things Bay to Breakers, and the decision to not leave our own property, which has become an annual tradition on the day Bay to Breakers is held; we cannot get that drunk anymore, we are too old). Oh, and to observe the solar eclipse, which made some really neat patterns on our front door and cast an interesting level of clear, bright light onto the whole Golden Gate Park area.

I offered up a civilized bottle of vinho verde, raw macadamia nut cheese rolled in pistachios, raw “Mexican” chia crackers, raw sugar snap peas, rose water fruit salad with raw cashew cream sauce and delicious fava beans with pecorino.

 

Coconut Cabbage and Eggs

Coconut cabbage and eggs with spring peas, almonds, and herbs

Coconut cabbage and eggs with spring peas, almonds, and herbs

I was craving some vegetables this morning and remembered I had a beautiful Wakefield cabbage in the fridge–I unpacked it from my CSA box from Eatwell Farms last Thursday and noticed how soft and supple its leaves were, and its unusual pear shape. I don’t think I’ve had this variety before–it’s a pale, bearess lime type of green with a pointed top. The green garlic and eggs in this recipe are also from Eatwell.

The bowl in the photos above is my favorite at the moment, for everything from a meal of strawberries & cashew cream to soup to salad and beyond. It’s from Art & Manufacture on Etsy, and she shipped super quickly!

Coconut Cabbage and Eggs Recipe with Green Garlic
Serves 1-2

3-4 large cabbage leaves (tender Wakefield if you can find it), sliced very thinly
1 stalk green garlic or 2 scallions or 1 spring onion, sliced thinly
1/4 C fresh English peas, shelled (I bought 5 lbs from Mariquita Farms recently!)
1/3 C coconut milk or Spicy Lemon Coconut Sauce
2 eggs, whisked
10 almonds
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
Optional: 1/2 Jalapeno or other hot, small pepper chopped finely

Heat a pan to low heat and add 1-2 tsp olive oil. Add the green garlic (or scallion/spring onion) and cook until beginning to lose shape, a few minutes. Turn the heat to medium high and add the cabbage, stir, and add a generous pinch of sea salt. Cook 2-3 minutes until cabbage begins to wilt.

Add the coconut milk, peas,  and the pepper if using, and cook until cabbage is totally wilted, about 4 minutes. It will still have texture. Reduce heat to medium and add the scrambled eggs.

Chop the almonds (mine were soaked and sprouted) while the eggs cook, stirring the egg and cabbage mixture occasionally. When eggs are cooked, it is finished. Top with parsley and lightly mix, and finally the almonds.

 

Asparagus with Spring Onions, Orange Zest, and Parmesan

Asparagus with Spring Onions, Orange Zest, and Parmesan

Asparagus with Spring Onions, Orange Zest, and Parmesan

A wonderful, quick appetizer served communally–the kind of thing you whip together in 5 minutes flat to hold you over for dinner a few hours later, as you wrap up the workday or settle in for the evening. Also great at brunch!

Asparagus with Spring Onions, Orange Zest, and Parmesan Recipe

1 lb asparagus
1 large red spring onion or two smaller ones*, sliced fairly thin in rings
zest of 1 orange
parmesan, shaved
olive oil
salt & pepper

Peel the bottom 2/3rds of your asparagus lightly with a vegetable peeler. This can be done a day in advance if the asparagus is then kept in plastic.

In a skillet at medium high heat, warm about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the asparagus, tossing to coat. Put a lid loosely on top and reduce heat to medium, allowing to cook until color has brightened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove lid and add onions, tossing. Raise heat slightly and cook 2 more minutes, until onions are softened. Add orange zest, tossing quickly. Place on a platter and within 1 minute, add parmesan shavings. Serve warm.

*When unavailable, you can substitute shallots, but do add to the pan a bit earlier or pre-soak the sliced shallots in water for 20-30 minutes to remove some of the abrasiveness.

Roasted Spring Root Vegetables

Roasted Spring Root Vegetables: Baby Carrots, Turnips, Easter Egg Radishes, Golden Beets, Rutabaga

Roasted Spring Root Vegetables: Baby Carrots, Turnips, Easter Egg Radishes, Golden Beets, Rutabaga

A beautiful and simple lunch or light dinner, these roasted spring root vegetables are pleasing to the eye and are the perfect summary of the spring bounty that is now my CSA/farm shipment.

Simply find the best spring veggies you can, cut them in fairly even sizes, toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper (or add some herbs de provence if you like), and roast them 25-40 minutes at 400 degrees on some foil (for easy clean up). Save them cold to toss into salads for the coming days or feast on them then; serve them as an appetizer with friends over on a large platter and cocktail forks. It’s a pleaser.

Use things like: Baby Carrots, Turnips, Easter Egg Radishes, Golden Beets, Chiogga Beets, Rutabaga, Celery Root

Leave the stems on (they are edible! and save those radish & turnip greens for a sautee, a quiche, or a pesto) but trim off any broken or decrepit parts of the stem and use a vegetable sponge to scrub the dirt from the tops and sides. Don’t peel the carrots, just scrub the dirt off. You can also roast everything whole and slice them in half afterwards for brighter centers, but you may need to separate a few trays by size of the objects to ensure even cooking.

Venetian Fritole Recipe (Italian Doughnuts – Fritule)

Venetian Fritole (Italian Doughnuts)

In 2006 I was living in the heart of Florence and attending culinary school. The best class I took was the regional Italian cuisine course with Marcella Ansaldo — we made a few typical dishes from pretty much every region in Italy throughout the semester. One of the recipes was for Fritole – yeast-based Italian doughnuts from Venice, traditionally eaten for Carnivale.

I posted about Fritole back in November of 2006–a few months after returning from Florence. I remade these delicious treats this morning; it is Easter Sunday and it made for a peaceful, tasty breakfast treat for the two of us. It’s a typical day in SF; the weather doesn’t know what it’s doing and it’s somewhere between heavy fog and rain, with a little bit of light poking through. We looked over our wet garden with some good coffee; fritole made the whole thing come together.

Italian Fritole inside

italian fritole with raisins

Note: You can prepare the dough the night before, leaving in a room-temp spot (not warm) overnight. Simply stir/punch down the dough in the morning, and let rise 30 more minutes before frying. It makes brunch a breeze!

Italian Fritole Recipe

1 1/2 C all purpose flour (200 grams) + 1 Tbsp
1/2 C brown sugar (60 grams; can use granulated too)
1 egg
1 packet yeast (8-10grams; fresh brewer’s yeast is great too)
1 C milk, divided (up to 200ml milk; any type)
1/4 C golden raisins (50 grams; can use other types of raisins too)
1/3 C dry sherry (or brandy, whiskey, flat champagne, etc)
1/2 tsp salt (generous three-finger pinch)
high-temp oil like peanut, safflower, or pine nut (most traditional) for frying
powdered sugar for dusting

Optional Ingredients (non-traditional):
1/2 tsp orange blossom water (add with milk) or
1/2 tsp cinnamon/nutmeg (add with flour) or
2 T chopped almonds (add with raisins; you might consider a few drops of almond extract w/ the milk too)

Combine the raisins with the sherry. You can substitute boiling water if needed. Microwave for 1 minute to warm combination and set aside to plump (5-15 minutes). Once plumped, drain the raisins and toss them with 1T flour until nicely dusted.

Warm 1/2 C of milk to about 110 degrees; add 1 tsp brown or regular sugar and stir. Add the yeast (mixture should be warm when adding). Set aside to bloom (at least 10 minutes).

Combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Whisk well. Use more flour if needed. Add the egg and dusted raisins, stirring gently but not thoroughly with a spoon. Add the bloomed milk mixture and stir until just combined. If the mixture is too dry (it should be sticky but combined, not runny), add more milk as needed, up to 1/2 C more. Cover the dough with saran wrap and let sit 1-2 hours in a warm spot*.

Prepare a large plate with two-three layers of paper towels (a draining rack is ok too, but the towels might remove more oil). Get some chopsticks or heat-resistant tongs ready. Put a light dusting of flour over the top of your batter to make preparation easier.

Heat oil in a wide pan with sturdy sides (like a high sided sauce pan) to medium high heat; the oil should be at least 1.5 inches deep. Once warmed, test a small dot of batter–it should rise to the top immediately and bubble around the batter, but not burn it in the course of a minute**. Using two large spoons, section just-smaller than an egg size scoops and gently place into hot oil. When deep golden brown, flip each doughnut over and cook; remove when evenly colored and cool on paper towels.

Serve with powdered sugar on top.

Makes 15 golf-ball sized fritole. 3 per person is sufficient.

*If the dough sits more than 2 hours, simply stir around to deflate and let rise 30 more minutes. This can be repeated twice if necessary.
**If the doughnuts seem to be cooking too quickly or getting too dark before you can flip them, lower the heat slightly and allow them to cook longer or else they will be gooey inside.