Today I’ve been on a bit of a cooking and baking spree. It was inspired in part by this really amazing salad I made last night (bet that’s the first time you’ve ever heard that!). The salad was improvised from this Cuban salad I saw on the really awesome food blog Food52. It went a little something like this: couldn’t find watercress, so got mache; didn’t have cider vinegar, so used red wine vinegar. It was amazing, and I’m sure the original would be too! Definitely a do again.
Another inspiration was a good friend of mine who is learning to cook as he begins a second summer with his awesome food venture Bolivian Llama Party at various culinary bonanzas in Brooklyn and Queens. I may be a little biased, but I have to tell you the food is amazing. If you’re in the New York area, I strongly recommend a visit (or two. Or three). In any case, his excitement about cooking coupled with the lovely spring weather practically floated me into my kitchen on this Sunday.
It started with making my own marinated artichokes. Did you know you can buy a box of frozen artichokes? I let them thaw overnight and then stuck them in the oven with some olive oil, garlic cloves, salt and pepper, and dried oregano and thyme. Then came the tomatoes. A few years ago, I was reading Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Express and was amazed by her “moonblush tomatoes” recipe. Basically you stick them in a really hot oven and then turn it straight off and just let them meld together into amazingness. I’ve made these so many times it’s like second nature now. This time, I swirled them in olive oil and salt and pepper and let them go. Together, these two efforts became part of a pasta dish with olives and feta cheese.
Then I wanted to do some biscuits. Which turned into a desire for scones. Why not both? I tried out this Smitten Kitchen recipe for the biscuits, using sour cream instead of buttermilk (long story) and some whole wheat flour in the mix for some heft. The scones became chocolate scones, guided by a Jamie Oliver recipe for fruit scones in his Jamie’s Food Revolution cookbook. Needless to say, fruit is great, chocolate is wonderful. (I also used whole wheat flour in these too. Can’t be too decadent.)
Some pictures…might cause a little food envy and hopefully some inspiration for you!
Note: On this weekend after the unimaginable tragedy in Boston, I want to take a moment here to acknowledge the memory of the four young victims–Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, Krystle Campbell and Officer Sean Collier–as well as the incredible courage of the first responders and the ongoing resiliency and strength of our Boston. To them.