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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Grilled Spinach, Goat Cheese and Artichoke Tartine and a story about Le Pain Quotidien in England and California

We were in London and ate at a great little French Bistro and Bakery. We ate there several times on our trip. We also ate at a great restaurant in Birmingham, England. The restaurant had a cookbook in the window and I made a note of it and told my wife we should return and buy the book.
A year later we were on vacation in Manhattan Beach in California and we went for breakfast in a great French Bakery . While we were eating breakfast my wife noticed the logo on the coffee cup and she realized that it was the same restaurant in London and Birmingham. I guess we didn't pay attention to the names of the restaurants in 3 different cities on two different continents. It's Le Pain Quotidian. We just returned from another visit to California and we ate at the restaurant again. It truly is one of our favorite places to eat in many cities. We're returning to Europe next summer and we'll certainly seek out Le Pain Quotidien!
I bought the cookbook.
They're known for their amazing pastries, desserts and incredible Tartines. This recipe is not from the cookbook but it's a great Tartine.
I'll post some of their recipes later.
This recipe makes 4 servings.

4 Whole Wheat flatbread  (Naan)
3 TBS Olive Oil
6 C Fresh Spinach Leaves
6 oz. of any Herb Flavored Goat Cheese, crumbled
2-6oz. jars of marinated Artichoke Hearts, drain and chop
1 medium Tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Brush both sides of the flat breads with some of the oil.
Place them on a gas or charcoal grill and grill for about 2 minutes, only on one side.
Remove to a serving platter.
Top the grilled side of each piece with Spinach, Cheese, Artichoke and Tomato.
Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper.
Return to the heat and grill about 2 minutes more, until the bottoms are golden brown and the tops are heated through.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Every restaurant has a communal table like this

One of our Tartines in London

London, Raspberry Tart and Coffee

London, Treacle Tart with Whipped Cream.
This was my favorite!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Bars

Since I spend many of my summers at our place in Colorado, I thought it would be appropriate to post this recipe. I happen to be in Colorado now at our place called, Snowy River. We love the serenity of the mountains. I can see this recipe becoming as popular as my most viewed recipe, No Bake Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Squares.
This recipe comes from a well known store in Colorado, The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
I hope you take some time to make these amazing bars.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Bars:

12 oz (2 cups) white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups crisp rice cereal
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1/3 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips


Lightly grease an 8-by-8-inch square baking pan. Alternatively, line with lightly greased parchment paper. This recipe can easily be doubled to fit a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.
In microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave on medium powder for 30 seconds. Stir and heat for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the chocolate is melted.
Add the peanut butter to the melted chocolate and stir until smooth.
Place the rice cereal in a large bowl. Pour over melted chocolate mixture and gently toss until completely coated. Continue to stir until the mixture is no longer warm to the touch, about 10 minutes.
When the cereal mixture has cooled, fold in the marshmallows and 1/3 cup of the mini chips.
Spread into prepared pan, compressing lightly with the back of your spoon. Don't press too hard or you'll crush the cereal. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and press lightly to adhere. Refrigerate until set, at least 30 minutes, then cut into 2-inch squares and serve. Bars will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.


Peace in the Kitchen!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Homemade Chai Tea Mix

We had some amazing Chai Tea while on vacation.
Here's a great recipe to make your own mix.
It reminded me of Christmas  and I'll make this mix and have it available to serve during the Holidays.

For each 8 oz. cups of Chai tea:

1/2 C whole milk
1/2 C water
2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp loose Black Tea Leaves. I buy my tea leaves at an Indian Market.
1/4 tsp Chai Massala Mix. (recipe to follow)

Place all ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat.
Heat until bubbles appear around the perimeter of the pan.
Stir often to avoid scalding the milk. Adjust the heat if necessary.
Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat and stir well.
Return to heat and bring to boil again, turn off the heat, remove the pan and stir again.
Set aside and allow to steep for 3 minutes.
Strain into a mug and serve hot.

Chai Masala Mix:
1 C + 3 TBS roughly ground black pepper
3/4 C + 1 TBS ground ginger
1/4 C +2 TBS ground cinnamon
1/4 C + 2 TBS ground Cardamom
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground nutmeg.


Cucumber Mint Lemonade

We had lunch at a very cool place in California. They serve interesting variations of Lemonade.
I like unsweetened Lemonade and this was really good. It's not for everyone because the infused flavors are very recognizable.

This recipe makes 2 quarts and is sugar free.
I had their sugar free version and I absolutely loved it.
I will make this when I return to Texas and will drink it throughout the summer.
If you prefer a sweet version, add 1 C of Sugar at the beginning just before blending.

2 Cucumbers, roughly chopped (at least 2 1/2 C)
1 1/2 C roughly chopped Fresh Mint leaves
2 C fresh squeezed Lemon Juice ( approximately 10 lemons)
3 C Water
Served over Ice.
Garnish with additional Mint and Cucumber if desired.

In a Blender:
Lemon Juice
Press it down into the blender.
Blend for 1 minute, scraping down the sides as needed.

Strain the mixture through a sieve, into a pitcher.
They kept a bit of the pulp in it. I like it that way and will keep a bit in my drink.
It should make about 5 cups.

Peace in the Kitchen!


I've been on vacation for 2 weeks and it looks like I'll be gone 2 more weeks. i had a chance to post while I was in California. I'm back in Colorado and it's more difficult to access WiFi. When ever I get a chance I'll try to post some recipes.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sweet Potato, Cream Cheese and Rosemary Biscuits

We spent a day at Disneyland in California. We had dinner at the Blue Bayou Restaurant.
They have a new biscuit on their menu. It's served in a basket with rolls at the beginning of the meal.
Apparently the recipe is not available for publication but here's a copycat recipe.

2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp baking soda
1 (8TBS) butter
4 oz. cream cheese
3 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 C buttermilk, plus extra for brushing
1/2 C sweet potato puree

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

In a large mixing bowl:
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Cream Cheese
Combine well

Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut the butter and cream cheese into the remaining ingredients until the mixture resembles pebbles with some large chunks remaining.

In a small bowl:
Sweet Potatoes
Mix well.
Add to flour mixture.
Mix until combined well.

Place dough on a floured surface and knead until it comes together as a soft dough
Do not over handle the dough.
Pat it out into 2 inches thick and cut into 2" biscuits with a biscuit cutter.
Place them on a parchment paper lined sheet pan , brush the tops with additional buttermilk.
Bake for 18 - 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Temecula Olive Oil Company, Seal Beach, California. Story, Photographs and Recipes!

I'm in Seal Beach, California and fell in love with this Olive Oil Store. I'll be posting a story about the store including history, photographs and recipes from one of their cookbooks, Cooking Techniques and Recipes with Olive Oil by Mary Platis and Laura Bashar.

Peace in the Kitchen!

It's a family owned business in Temecula, California.
They are committed to using only California Olives of the highest quality.
They practice sustainable agriculture, growing and harvesting a wide variety of Olives, which they hand press using traditional methods to produce full, fresh flavorful 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Thom Curry runs the business that his wife, Nancy Curry co owns with Catherine Pepe.
They farm more than 120 acres and produce 10,000 gallons of high quality Olive Oil per year.
Ti's shipped all over the world along with Bath and Body products, Sea Salts, Peppercorns, Balsamic Vinegars, Olives, Mustards, Spreads Herbs, Spices and other Artisan Foods.
They also have a website where you can purchase their products.

My wife and I shopped in the store at Seal Beach, California. The minute we saw the outside of the store we were reminded of our favorite Olive Oil shops in Provence, France. We always bring home products from France including Olive Oil, Olive Wood accessories, Sea Salt, Mustard, Herbs and Spices. We knew that we had found our "Provence" on Main Street in Seal Beach when we spotted The Temecula Olive Oil Company store.
We were immediately greeted by a very friendly and knowledgable staff.
We bought Olive Oil, an Olive Wood Salt and Pepper box, an Olive Pick made from beautiful Olive Wood, a Cook Book and various gifts for our family.

I was given permission to photograph the store and write about it on my Blog.
We'll return again, before we leave California.


"Flavored Olive Oils are a wonderful way to enhance the flavor of your foods. Fruit flavored olive oils, like citrus, can be used in salad dressings, cakes, cookies and drinks.
Choose an herb flavored olive oil for more savory creations like breads, vegetables and soups. Most importantly, do not be afraid to experiment. For example, a basil or mint flared olive oil would be a terrific addition to a cocktail."

Mediterranean Vegetables in Olive Oil:

3 Red Bell Peppers
3 Yellow Bell Peppers
1/2 C Fresh Fava Beans or 1/2 C canned small White Beans
5 Garlic cloves, sliced
1 C mixed pitted Olives, drained and halved
1  (15oz.) can of artichokes in water, drained and coarsely chopped
1 (10oz.) box of white Button Mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

3/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 C Sherry Vinegar
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp dried Basil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground Pepper

Lightly rub Bell Peppers with olive oil.
Place on a sheet pan and roast in a 400 degree oven until blistered.
Place in a large bowl while hot and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes.
Peel Peppers and cut into strips.

Place Fava Beans in a small pot of boiling water and cook until tender.
Drain the water and cool. If using baby lava beans, you do not need to remove the outer skin.
If using canned white beans, rinse and drain.

Add beans , garlic, olives, artichokes and mushrooms to the peppers.

Whisk olive oil, vinegar, oregano, basil, salt and peppers in a small bowl.
Gently toss vegetables with marinade.

Place in a jar or deep bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
Turn often to allow marinade to coat the vegetables.

Best when made the night before serving.

Baby Beets and Brussels Sprouts Salad:

3 Baby Beets, washed, trimmed and peeled
1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 Large Brussels Sprouts, thinly sliced or shredded.
2 TBS Feta Cheese, crumbles
1/2 tsp fresh Dill

1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
Reserved Beet Juice from steaming

Place Beets in a small heatproof shallow bowl.

Fill a Wok or a Pot large enough to hold a Bamboo steamer with 2" of water.
Place the steamer into the Wok.
Place the shallow bowl holding the Beets into the steamer and cover.
The shallow bowl will collect the juice "sweating " from the Beets. You will use this juice for the vinaigrette.

Bring water to a bowl and steam until Beets are fork tender, 35 to 45 minutes.
Carefully remove the basket from the steam and allow Beets to cool at room temperature, about 1 hour. Chill until ready to serve.

Strain Beet Juice and blend with other vinaigrette ingredients.
Divide sliced Brussels Sprouts on two serving plates.
Slice Beets in half and divide among the two plates.
Top with Feta and Fresh Dill and serve with Vinaigrette.

Olive Oil Sugar Cookies:

2 1/2 C All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 C Sugar
1 Egg
1 TBS Milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a Baking Sheet with Parchment Paper or a Silicone Baking Mat.

In a small bowl, whisk together Flour, Baking Powder and Salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together Olive Oil, Sugar, Egg and Milk until combined.

In batches, Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
Knead dough by hand for 5 minutes, until smooth and form a ball.
Divide the dough in half, cover one half with a tea towel.
Flatten the other half into a disc and roll out between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/4 " thick.

Cut cookies with a 2" circle cookie cutter or other shape.
Using a thin off-set spatula, transfer cookies not a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 7 minutes until golden in color. Do not brown or the cookies will be too hard.

Allow cookies to rest on the baking sheet for 2 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Repeat with remaining dough.

Triple - Herb infused Olive Oil:

In a sterilized bottle, add one Rosemary Sprig, two Oregano Sprigs and two Thyme Sprigs.
Heat 2 C of Olive Oil to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Bring the Oil back to room temperature and pour into the bottle.
Refrigerate immediately and use within 2 - 3 days.

Homemade Olive Oil Mayonnaise:

1 Large Egg Yolk at room temperature
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp fresh Lemon Juice
1 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

Place Egg Yolk in a medium bowl Using a whisk, bet until light and fluffy.
Whisk in Mustard and Lemon Juice.

Slowly whisk in 1/4 C Olive Oil until thickened.
Do not rush as you continue adding the remaining Oil, drop by drop, until the mayonnaise completely thickens.

Season with Salt and Pepper.
Cover and chill.
Refrigerate up to 5 days.


Add 2 TBS  freshly chopped Chives, Parsley, Tarragon or Oregano.

Add 2 TBS Spicy Horseradish just before serving.

Add 1 crushed Garlic Clove with the Egg Yolk.

Because of a slight risk of bacterial poisoning, the USDA advises against the consumption of raw eggs by pregnant women, young children and anyone having a weakened immune system or other comprimised health issues.
Pasteurized fresh eggs are commercially available and safe to use.

I chose only a few recipes to post from this amazing cookbook.
If you love to use Olive Oil in cooking, I highly recommend "Cooking Techniques and Recipes with Olive Oil."

If you're ever in California, I highly recommend seeking out one of their stores.
Visit the website and try some of their incredible products.

Peace in the Kitchen!