Tag Archives: winter

Blood Orange, Almond and Ricotta Cake

I was introduced to Tartine a few weeks ago when visiting San Francisco. I thought we had stumbled upon a small local bakery café.. not realizing it was THE Tartine.. world famous for their amazingness. Delicious looking tarts, croissants, quiches and more on were on display and I was not optimistic there were GF options.. but of course there were! 🙂 And behind the glass the server pointed out some beautiful tiny orange almond ricotta cakes.

The cake was delicious and my daughter (6 yrs) ate a whole piece of ham and cheese quiche. Tartine was just as amazing as the 6k+ reviews on Yelp rave about. And of course I couldn’t not try to make the cake! 🙂

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  •  1 tablespoon water
  •  3 large eggs, separated
  •  2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated sugar
  •  2 blood oranges, or another orange of your choice
  •  1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  •  2/3 cup (165 grams) ricotta
  •  1/3 cup (45 grams) cornmeal
  •  1 cup (135 grams) firm-packed almond flour or meal
  •  1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  •  1/4 cup apple, quince or apricot jam (optional, for glossy finish)

Directions

Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

Stir brown sugar and water together so they form a thick slurry. Pour into prepared cake pan and spread thin. Set aside.

Whip egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until they hold thick peaks. Set aside.

Place granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Finely zest both oranges over it.

Cut both oranges in half. Cut one of the halves into paper-thin slices and arrange slices over brown sugar base in cake pan. Juice other three halves (I had about 1/3 cup juice) and set juice aside.

Add butter to zest and granulated sugar in large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer (you can use same beaters you just did for egg whites) until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat to combine. Add juice and ricotta; mix until smooth. Sprinkle salt over batter, then add almond flour and cornmeal and mix until just combined. Gently fold in egg whites.

Scoop batter in large dollops over prepared cake pan base. Gently spread batter flat, trying not to disturb orange slices underneath. Bake in heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes [updated to warn that this took longer for many people, but remains accurate for my oven– better to check early than late], or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and then (my preference) for 5 more minutes. The final cake is so moist, almost damp, I found the extra baking time beneficial.

Cool cake in pan on rack for 5 minutes, and then run a knife around the side and invert onto a cake plate. If any orange slices don’t come out easily, just gently arrange them on the top of the cake. If desired, heat jam until loose and brush over cake top for a glossier finish. Let cool and cut into slices. This would be delicious served with an extra dollop of ricotta, creme fraiche or barely sweetened whipped cream. The cake keeps at room temperature, but we prefer it from the fridge.

Thank you Smitten Kitchen! Visit their page for beautiful pictures and more tips on making this cake: https://smittenkitchen.com/2016/01/blood-orange-almond-and-ricotta-cake/

 

dit-elle-Esther

Balsamic Rosemary Beets

This is a wonderful paleo side dish any time of year. It calls for fresh rosemary but you could also use the dried herb. Beets are nutritious and delicious, especially when roasted and seasoned.

roasted beets with balsamic and rosemary blog

Ingredients

  • 4 medium beets, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • In medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly
  • Transfer to glass baking dish and cover with aluminum foil
  • Bake for 45 minutes
  • Remove foil and bake uncovered, for another 10-20 minutes until beets are tender when pierced with a fork
  • Serve hot, warm or cool

Thank you Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry which has many more excellent recipes!

dit-elle-Esther

Vanilla Ice Cream and Berries

This is a great go-to dessert year round, but especially in winter when fresh berries are no longer in season. Posting it now in case berries are not yet available in your region/stores, but this is equally good with fresh berries!

You can also serve plain Greek yogurt with berries, or for a totally yummy non-dairy and paleo version, try berries with coconut milk! Totally delish any season!

berries and ice cream blog (2)berries and ice cream blog (1)

Ingredients

  • Vanilla ice cream, plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Berries (frozen or fresh)

Directions

  • If using frozen berries, add 1/2 cup per person to a bowl and microwave on high for about a minute
  • Pour over ice cream or yogurt
  • Serve immediately and enjoy! Can you taste summer already? 🙂

dit-elle-Esther

Wellness Remedy: Turmeric

I’ve alluded to the “super powers” of Turmeric  on this blog before (see this general Wellness Post) and I recently wrote about Ginger as a wellness remedy (to ward off colds and aid in digestion)! Turmeric and Ginger are actually in the same family and both are known for their medicinal properties, specifically for their anti-inflammatory properties.

You will perhaps know turmeric best from Indian cuisine (it’s a common ingredient in curry, but does not taste or smell anything like curry), Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Asian cuisine. It is used for flavor (warm and slightly spicy) and as a natural color agent – creating a beautiful rich golden color in anything you add it to.

I learned about the medicinal properties of turmeric from an Indian colleague years ago. She would give a tiny pinch of turmeric in milk to her kids to help build a strong immune system. I was intrigued – having two little ones myself. But there’s more! There seems to be a lot of recent research on natural remedies and turmeric has other benefits including: fighting various types of cancer, supporting brain, liver and eye health, used as natural painkiller and anti-depressant, and used for better sleep! Further reading included in links below.

Anyway, I am preparing for some upcoming international travel and also fighting a bit of a spring cold which has been going around. So.. turmeric to the rescue. Icarry the dry powder with me when I travel and drink it in hot water with breakfast.

The only downside I’ve found is that it is very yellow – so brush your teeth or eat some crunchy food (like an apple) after eating turmeric.

turmeric blog (3)turmeric blog (2)turmeric blog (1)

Ingredients

  • Fresh turmeric, rinsed and peeled
  • Turmeric powder (found in the spice aisle or bulk section)
  • Water or milk

Directions

  • Heat liquid and add desired amount of fresh or dry turmeric (I will use ~1 tsp of dry or 1 Tbsp of fresh in a cup of boiling water)

Further reading

Enjoy, stay well, and be happy!

dit-elle-Esther

Don’t like yoga? Try hot!

yoga toes blog

I have been sort of obsessed with hot yoga this past year and wanted to share this story as part of our goal to share mom life & fashion stories, recipes and wellness tips! 🙂

As snowstorms are raging around the country I’m reminded of my first hot yoga class a year ago. People had raved about hot yoga for years. “Try it, it’s amazing” they would say. But I was suspicious. I had tried yoga on several occasions without any apparent benefit. Still mind, relaxed body? Don’t think so. Was hot yoga going to be just another frustrating and non-relaxing yoga class, but hot? Sounded stifling.

I’m not a “yoga person”. From my limited past experience I had concluded that it simply wasn’t for me.. physically, emotionally, or mentally. I’m tall and notoriously inflexible. My mind is never still, always working to solve some problem, run through a to-do list, or daydreaming. But one gray evening, in the heart of the damp Seattle winter, I decided hot yoga sounded like just the warm hug I needed. Looking like a true Seattlelite, I set out with my yoga mat, towel and water bottle to give yoga another try.

I remember one of my first classes. “Your planks are looking good,” the instructor said as we were all starting to shake in our forward planks, legs and arms outstretched with palms and toes anchored to the floor. “Now in one swift movement like a panther, you’re going to leap and land in between your hands.” Panther!? I saw blurred flashes out of the corners of my eyes. Black clothed yogis jumped, effortlessly, silently, landing in position. I awkwardly ‘toe heeled’ my way up in a – let’s just say – less than pantherlike fashion. “We’re going to get ready for our headstands,” the instructor continued. Headstand!? I was certain the class description had said “all levels welcome”.

We had moved from the center of the room to the walls. In more fluid movements people were throwing their legs up in the air. “This can’t be happening, I cannot physically get in to a headstand,” I thought. The instructor came over to help. “Yay!” she cried when I was somehow in place and upside down, “you now have a new party trick,” she giggled joyfully and moved on to adjust someone else. “I don’t think I can get down,” I wanted to say, but I couldn’t get the words out.

There were many of those moments in yoga. Moments I thought belonged on Saturday Night Live. Awkward poses. People toppling over in Dancer or Bow Pulling pose. But no one got stuck. And only one class I tried included panther jumps and headstands. For the most part, the hot yoga classes had poses that everyone could easily do, but challenged you to find balance and core strength. And you worked so hard in that sweltering heat, you were forced to find some quiet and focus. I finally found my fit in the Hot Hatha style of yoga.

Here’s the thing about any type of hot yoga. It’s very uncomfortable. The only thing you can think of is “no more!” But then you say “yes I can”. And you do. And you survive. And the sweat drips. And you start to accept that the room is not getting any cooler, and you have about 59 minutes left of class. But here’s the other thing. You have to be uncomfortable first to get comfortable later. Just like life – it’s not comfortable, it’s full of discomfort. When you accept that, when you let go, when you say “OK, let’s get hot and do this thing,” the class gets a little easier and you can find peace in the moment.

In yoga you can find peace with turbulence and disruption. You realize you can work through it instead of fighting it.

Everyone was beautiful in yoga. The classes were always filled with a diverse set of people.. different shapes and sizes, people from different wakes of life. Men, women, old, young, big, small. There was a woman who had done an Ironman and just wanted to stay in shape. There was a young woman who could bend into shapes I didn’t think possible. There was a guy who was basically a human fountain. By the end of class, the pool around him was so large you had to walk in a circle to avoid slipping. Nevertheless, we were all there together with a common goal and on a yoga journey. There was always this great positive energy in the room and a sense of peace and calm.

Yoga makes you learn many things to counteract bad physical habits acquired while sitting at a desk. Tension in your shoulders, neck and back starts to dissipate. Emotionally, you realize that turbulence and disruption is not so challenging anymore. And as with any vigorous workout, your body releases endorphins and at some point, you start to feel really, really, really, really good.

So, if you ever thought yoga is just a bunch of stretches plus an attempt at meditating, try a hot yoga class! Some people can’t stand heat, but if you can, it helps with flexibility, the sweating is enormously cleansing, and standing on a floor with radiant heat feels amazing. Beyond that though, it’s an incredibly intense workout that combines core strength, balance, and endurance. And you will get to the end of class.

Finally, the best moment in yoga is at the end of class when you simply lie flat on your back with arms and legs relaxed.. endorphins unfurl through your body while you rest. You feel energized, restored and ready to reenter the world to take on the next challenge with an open mind. And as we awoke from a deeply relaxed state, wiped off the sweat and bundled up to go back out into the cold, dark night, I knew one thing. I would be back.

What’s your experience? Have you found yoga to be a fit for you?

dit-elle-Esther

Winter Greens Casserole Made Easy

I LOVE winter greens and if you’re wondering what winter greens are think chard (rainbow or swiss) or kale or those types of leafy greens. So I read this recipe that took sausage, onions, winter greens and sautéed it all.. and then you put it in a casserole dish and poured cream all over it and topped it with cheese. While that was super delicious, but WAY too rich and a few steps too many, I simplified the recipe with the option (of course! :)) of adding cream and cheese or not!

winter greens and sausage blog (2) winter greens and sausage blog (1)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus extra for dish
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage (or pre-cooked sausages like roasted red pepper turkey, feta and spinach, etc.. there’s a great selection out there and if you get something pre-cooked you are also saving some cooking time)
  • 3 pounds braising greens (kale, mustard, chard, collard, etc.), tough stems removed and leaves, cut into small pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • Red chili flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Additional optional steps for Baked Casserole version

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (optional, see below)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (optional, see below)
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (I used Parmesan)

Preparation

  • In a skillet, melt butter and add shallots and garlic and cook for a few minutes until fragrant but not starting to brown
  • Stir in sausage and cook, breaking into small pieces, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain off fat, if desired.
  • Add braising greens, in batches, stirring until cooked down. When all greens have been added, cook and stir for 5 minutes; season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and red chili flakes.
  • This is where I stop and serve with freshly grated Parmesan! Voila! Finished!
  • But if you want to get fancy, add chicken stock and cook 5 additional minutes. Transfer greens to the prepared dish. Drizzle with cream and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cream is bubbling and cheese is golden, 20 to 30 minutes.

 

Thanks PCC Natural Markets for this one!

dit-elle-Esther

 

Pulled Pork and Coleslaw Sliders

So I’ve made various pulled pork crock pot recipes in the past, and while those are more of the BBQ saucy style, I wanted something to use to make sliders.. with coleslaw and fresh rolls! This is a GREAT recipe just for that! Make your coleslaw the night before, set the pulled pork ingredients in the crockpot in the morning and let it do all the work! Easy dinner! And excellent for leftovers.

pork shoulder slider blog

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 to 3 ½ pounds pork shoulder, cut in half

Instructions

  • In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the first six ingredients (all of the spices) with a fork.
  • Pour in the honey, vinegar, and olive oil and stir to form a paste.
  • Place the onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Top it with the 2 pieces of pork and then pour the honey paste over all sides of the pork pieces. It’s okay if some of it (or a lot of it) just drips down to the bottom.
  • Turn the slow cooker on to low and cook for 7 to 8 hours or until the meat is tender enough to be easily shredded with a fork.
  • Serve warm with coleslaw and rolls.
  • Ps. Minus the rolls, this is a great paleo dish! 🙂 Serve with some optional avocado on the side (because avocado goes with almost everything!).

Thank you 100 Days of Real Food!

dit-elle-Esther