Food Buzz


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Family week - dishes galore!

This week my mom was visiting us and time went by very quickly.  She is on a plane right now returning to NY.  Miss you already, mom!

Also visiting us this week was a serious heat wave (hitting 113 degrees at my house!) so using an oven was not really an option for the most of her stay.  I took some pics of our favorite meals this week, some cooked earlier when it was more comfortable outside, some eaten out at restaurants, all enjoyed thoroughly!

Over the weekend, we went to the Abbot Kinney Festival, a great craft and food fair set up all along Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice, CA.  Such a fun day, but glad we went early.  It got hot and crowded as we left.  While we were there we tried one of the roving food trucks, the Dim Sum Truck.  Dad and I really liked the shu mai (shrimp and pork dumplings) and shrimp and bamboo dumplings but mom wasn't as impressed.  If it wasn't so hot I would have had to try the Grilled Cheese Truck or Nom Nom.  Both on my list for the next cool day.

During the heat we had delicious, healthy smoothies from Whole Foods and lots of frozen yogurt.  Menchies on Montana Ave in Santa Monica was my favorite!

Takeout was necessary on one of the hotter nights so we had some delicious dishes from Pitfire Pizza.  We started with an amazing rustic Tuscan Bean Soup (which I am going to try and recreate later this fall), followed by a bolognese pasta dish for mom and an heirloom tomato and ricotta pizza for me.  Everything was so tasty and the tomatoes were very sweet and locally grown!

Earlier in the week before the heat wave, I had a lot of fun cooking with my mom and sister.  We decided to make two dishes and dessert that night. Jenn made a delicious spinach and mushroom tart and peach crumble for dessert. Both dishes were amazing. In fact for the tart, she took a recipe she found in a magazine and completely changed it around to make it her own.  Maybe she will go into business with me!  I like her style. :)

I made carrot coriander soup, a dish that was made in my class last week that I completely fell in love with.  This dish is a gorgeous orange color, very easy to make and is really quite healthy for you.  We ate it warm but I am sure it would taste good as a cold soup, too...

Carrot Soup with Coriander
serves 6

10-12 carrots
1 russet potato
3 shallots
6 T unsalted butter
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3 c vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 c milk
freshly ground pepper
2-3 T dry sherry
1/2 creme fraiche or sour cream
chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

1. Peel the carrots and cut crosswise into thin pieces.  Peel the potato and cut into small cubes.  Cut the shallots crosswise into thin slices.  Set aside.

2.  In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter.  Add the shallots and saute, stirring occasionally until softened, 2-3 minutes.  Do not allow to brown.  Add the carrots, potato and coriander and saute 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the broth, sugar and salt.  Raise heat to medium and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low, cover partially and gently simmer until the vegetables are soft when pierced with the top of a knife, 20-25 minutes.

3.  Remove from heat.  Using a hand held blender, process the soup until pureed.  Alternately, you may puree the soup in batches in a blender (be careful not to burn yourself with the hot soup).  Add one cup of milk and pepper to taste.  Place over medium heat until just beginning to simmer.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Add more milk if too thick.  Just before serving, add the sherry to taste.

4.  Ladle into warmed soup bowls.  Top each bowl with 1-2 spoonfuls of creme fraiche or sour cream and a generous sprinkling of cilantro.
I substituted dry white wine for the sherry since that was something we had on hand.  I also used chopped fresh cilantro in place of the ground coriander.  The dish is so delicious - we served it with home made croutons also made by Jenn. :)

I will miss my mom while she is back on the east coast but will cherish the memories we all made together cooking, shopping, touring and sweating together.

Any favorite dishes you like to cook when family is in town?  Please feel free to share here!

Chow for Now! :)

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