Sunday, April 27, 2008


A Taste of Yellow: Seared Halibut with White Asparagus, Tomato Concasse & Yellow Pepper Coulis


It brings us strength and brings us together. It is, in it's way, the one true elixir.

I made this dish for Barbara and the A Taste of Yellow LiveSTRONG event. (See all the photos here.) It is a worthy cause and one I whole-heartedly support.

This dish is complex, as life is, and delicious as life should always be.

Try it my peaches, and taste the joy.

4 yellow tomatoes
1/4 cup minced parsley
grapeseed oil
Zest of one Meyer lemon

2 yellow bell peppers
1 clove garlic
4 each dried apricot
white pepper
white wine vinegar
1 Meyer lemon
2 tablespoons butter
pinch of sugar

1 pound white asparagus
2 tablespoons butter

4 six ounce pieces of halibut
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
black pepper

Prepare a large bowl of ice water.

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Using a small knife, make an “x” on the bottom of the tomatoes and core the stem from the other end. Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water until the skin is just beginning to curl (about 45 seconds) and remove to the ice water bath to stop the cooking. Drain and peel. Slice in to the tomato vertically and follow around to cut out the seeds and core, then lay the flesh out flat and dice small. Toss this with the minced parsley and grapeseed oil. Do not season with salt until you are ready to plate.

Roast the yellow bell peppers over an open flame until charred on all sides. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam. After five minutes, rub off the charred skin and remove the stem and seeds.

Meanwhile, in a (very) small sauce pan, simmer the garlic and apricots in a small amount of water (just enough to cover the bottom of the pot.) until the apricots are soft and the water evaporates.

Puree the bell pepper, garlic and apricots in a small food processor. Taste and add white pepper, white wine vinegar and lemon juice to taste. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and set aside.

To make the asparagus. Trim the very ends and peel the stems all the way to the tips (leaving the tips in tact.) add to a sauté pan in a single layer and add just enough water to cover half way. Add the butter and salt and simmer until the water has evaporated and the asparagus is cooked through (with white asparagus you want it cooked all the way.)

Meanwhile, season the presentation side of the fish with the curry, pepper and salt. Heat the grapeseed oil in a small skillet and sear the fish, turning once, until cooked through.

To plate. Drizzle some of the yellow pepper coulis onto a large plate. Lay out the asparagus, then top with the fish and the tomato concasse. Season with salt and serve.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking


© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright.

Concasse - Applying to raw or cooked tomatoes: Peeled, seeded and diced.

Human epidemiologic studies have suggested that eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli is associated with reduced risk for bladder cancer. - Today's Senior

LiveSTRONG with A Taste Of Yellow has been accepted by the
Lance Armstrong Foundation as an official LiveSTRONG Day event.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Make Your Own Boursin-Style Cheese

I am filled with the joy of the season. The soft light of spring with it's promise of the new. I am just a big ol' puddle of happy-person.

Yesterday, upon waking, I could just smell it in the air. Picnic season had arrived.

Fab-tastic! (Insert girly-squeal.)

And you know full well by now that nothing makes me flash my pearly whites like a sunny day, a relaxed destination and a basket full of comestible wow.

Nothing beats it. Don't you agree?

So after a rousing go round on the Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel (which - as I write - is for sale on eBay. No, I'm not kidding.) we had worked up an appetite for something just so. Basket in tow, we made our way out to the sandy beach and indulged.

It was just what we needed to pair with our locally produced wine and home-made crackers.

Smooth, tangy, know. All those things you look for in a cheese-spread kinda thing on a perfect spring day.

Now sweet peaches, I could ramble and raconte on the serious subject of copyrights, copyright infringement and boring legal mumbo-jumbo style speak for a few moments prior to sharing this most delightful recipe, OR I can just warn you (sternly) that Boursin is trademarked and (lovely) delightful and not at all this recipe.

I hopes to tells ya.

Nope, this recipe is just for something somewhat (but assuredly not) similar. Basically, its a soft, spreadable, flavored cheese. Whimsical and tasty.

So try it my peaches, and taste the joy.

2 ounces goat cheese
1 ounce cream cheese
1 ounce butter
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives

Using your hands, smoosh everything together and form into a nice disk. Pat, while smiling then serve with crackers.

Yup, its that simple, elegant and ready to devour.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking


© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright.

Boursin's traditional cheeses (Garlic & Fine Herbs, and Pepper) are certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. Boursin is also proud to support the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation.

Faced with rising demand and empty shelves, officials at a New Hampshire's
Fall Mountain Food Pantry are asking area farmers and gardeners to "grow a row" for them and donate the food.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008


Roasted Cherry and Hazelnut Salad with Warm Cheese

I tell you kids, there are stars dancing in my hazel-colored eyes.

On Saturday night, after a delish dinner of fish tacos (natch), The Ombudsman and I moseyed on up to the spectacularly awesome Griffith Observatory to check out the rings of Saturn and craters of the moon at their monthly star-gazing lawn party.

What can I say…it was celestial. The evening was balmy, the city lights were a-twinkle (oh yea. A-twinkling.) and the mood was just right.

Makes a girl want her own telescope, (and a space walk!) I tells ya…but I would probably use mine to spy on the neighbors as often as I would spy on the heavens.

(Oh admit it, so would you.)

Actually, I think I’d like it to zoom in through a restaurant window and just take a little look-see at what people are eating. How fun would that be?

The first place I would zoom in on (with my magic telescope) would fer sher be the Zuni Café up there in San Francisco. (What? It’s an imaginary magical telescope! I can look anyplace I want!)

They are legendary and just a tiny peek at their world-famous roast chicken would be worth the effort (of calibrating my magic telescope to do such a thing.)

I think I would also have to patiently wait, watching every order to check out how they plate this salad. Since it is also from their cookbook (renowned, beloved and beyond delightful) and I am curious what their version would look like.

Mine was a riot of colors. Reds and greens, creamy white and burnished gold. Come to think of it, much like the rings of Saturn itself. The only difference between my version and theirs is that their recipe (I found) was a bit fussy, so I’ve paired it down a scoatch.

The main thing here is that cherries are oh-so-very not in season here in North America land, so unless you have some frozen and are in a defrosting kinda mood (which I actually was. These beauties were picked in Washington last summer, expressly for me. Awww…) I would suggest giving this another month or so before trying (cruel, aren’t I!)

Now try this my peaches, and taste the joy.

1 cup whole cherries (with the pits)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 ounce Kirsh
2 Tablespoons Raspberry balsamic vinegar
8 ounces mixed greens (I used something called California mix from Bristol Farms, I quite liked it, since there were lots of fuschia colored greens tossed in)
6 ounces Saint-Marcellin cheese,
8 slices toasted baguette (crostini)
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Rub the cherries with a few drops of olive oil, season with kirsch and a pinch of salt.

In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add a few drops of the kirsch, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Slice the cheese into six equal portions.

Place each portion of the cheese on top of a crostini on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the cherries on another sheet pan. Roast until the fruit is near bursting and the cheese is beginning to slouch, about 6 minutes,watching the cheese carefully.

Dress the lettuces and hazelnuts very lightly in the vinaigrette and arrange on six plates, leaving the nuts behind for the moment. Garnish with the warm cherries and their juice and nest the warm cheese crostini next to each salad. Sprinkle hazelnuts over the top of the salads. Season with salt and pepper and serve with additional slices of toasted peasant-style bread.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking

© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright. This means you choice cooking recipes. Stop stealing my content.

Kirsch, also known as Kirschwasser, is a fiery clear cherry brandy made of black cherries and their pits.

Zuni Cafe is located at1658 Market St.(bet. Franklin & Gough Sts.) in San Francisco, CA.

Broadway in New York City shifts west at East 10th Street because a cherry tree once stood there.

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Monday, April 07, 2008


Dark Chocolate Tartlet

Hmm. I'm not entirely convinced that looks nearly as tasty as it appeared in real life. I mean, it was ooey-gooey chocolate after all.



And now for some random ramblings.

So if The Ombusdman and I lived in Echo Park or it's East Coast equivalent, Brooklyn, we would totally be hipsters.

But alas, we don't (and he works for The Gov'ment, which automatically disqualifies one from any vestiges of hipness) and therefore are relegated to just doing what we like, wearing what we like and eating what we like (Fish tacos mostly. Though, he has recently admitted to craving Big Macs every time he goes running. If he weren't training for a marathon, I wouldn't find that quite as disturbing. Heavens!) in our decidedly un-hip fashion.

We do tend to mingle with the youth of today though (on occasion anyway) since they always seem to have such hiptastic taste. For instance, this weekend we interloped on a little show featuring the only Brooklyn based faux-French pop band I can think of, Les Sans Culottes. A fabstastic musical event chock full of the hipnocenti indeed. (And one I encourage you to check out if they come to your fine city.) It was tres magnifique.

Funny thing about that band. The first time we saw them may have been the first time me and the boy ever really hung out. (Outside of seeing each other at parties, and, apparently, having attended the same high school for a couple of years) So they have a bit of a sentimental tone (though thoroughly upbeat) to my ears. Just brings a girl back, ya know?

Good times. Good times. And so very hip.

But if we were truly the cool kids on the scene, we still wouldn't hold a candle to this chocolate tart. Hot or cold it is number one on my charts. I made it for breakfast today (what?) and just had, had, had to share, share, share.

I copped it from the site Cake on the Brain, (who reprinted the original Alice Medrich recipe. Oh that Alice. What a genius!) and then made some switcheroos at my own discretion, and lemme just say, this stuff is da bomb.

Rich, chocolaty goodness. And ready in a snap! (Seriously, it's super simple to make...)

Try it my peaches, and taste the joy.

4 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 ounces cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt salt
8 ounces flour
8 ounces heavy cream
4 ounces sugar
10 ounces 54% dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 large egg, lightly whisked

Six 4-inch fluted tartlet pans with removable bottoms

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Stir together the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix in the flour just until blended. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls.

Smoosh each ball evenly across the bottom and up the sides of each tart pan.

Arrange the tarts on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the crusts are a deep golden brown. Meanwhile, make the filling: In a large Pyrex measuring cup (or glass bowl), microwave the cream and sugar until just hot. (This was 1 minute at 70% power in mine. For those of you without an evil microwave, do this on the stovetop.)

Add the chopped chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth.

Just before the crust is done, whisk the egg into the chocolate mixture.

When the crusts are ready, remove from the oven. Pour the hot chocolate filling mixture into the crusts. Return the tartlets to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or just until the filling begins to set around the edges but the center is still liquid when the pans are nudged. Set the sheet on a rack to let the filling cool and set.

Remove the pan sides and bottoms prior to serving.

Serve with coconut whipped cream (as I did) or a nice ice cream.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking
© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright. This means you choice cooking recipes. Stop stealing my content.

Les Sans Culottes is playing in San Francisco at Cafe du Nord on Tuesday April 8th, check them out! I will be teaching a vegetarian knife skills cooking class that same night at Happy Trails Catering in Pasadena. Which sounds more fun?

Team France took home gold at the World Cup of Baking, ending a 12-year drought. The French squad, denied gold by a team of Americans in the 2005 edition of the triennial Coupe du Monde, brought in a new coach and revamped its training regime in a vigorous effort to restore luster to an emblem of national pride. Bakers from Taiwan finished second, and Italy won bronze. The American team, champions in 1999 and 2005, and the Japanese, winners of the 2002 competition, both finished out of the medals. -


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