“You can't just eat good food. You've got to talk about it too. And you've got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.”

― Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

how a roasted chicken dinner becomes a steaming pot of borscht and other such kitchen magic...


GF organic corn fettuccine with garlic roasted red bell pepper, summer squash & zucchetta, purple basil, parsley & pumpkin seed pesto, capers, lemon zest, shaved manchego, and fresh cracked rainbow pepper...

GF triple ginger cake...

winter root soup...

brining olives at home...

simple roasted chicken, bone broth and Ottoman chicken soup...

the wide world of culinary herbs and spices...

and much more from scratch goodness...

stay tuned!

Monday, October 8, 2012

eat your oatmeal...

heres a healthyish oatmeal recipe you won't have to hard sell anyone on...

creamy coconut chai oatmeal

1 c coconut milk (use light if your concerned about fat content)
1 c brewed chai tea I save leftover tea for this)
1 whole cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod scraped
3 whole cloves
3 green cardamom pods
4 allspice berries
pinch of kosher salt
1 c rolled organic large GF flake oats

toppings: ghee, maple syrup, honey, ground cinnamon or nutmeg, toasted sliced almonds, walnuts, shredded coconut, chopped dates, raisins, currants, figs, cherries or other dried fruit, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mango, nectarine, apples or other fresh, seasonal or stewed fruit...

In a medium sized pot, add the coconut milk and the whole spices, along with the pinch of salt. Let it simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until it comes to a slow boil. Remove spices, reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in the oatmeal, stirring occasionally until oats are tender, about 15 minutes. Add a little hot water to thin the oatmeal if desired. Serve in bowls with your favorite toppings. Makes 2-4 servings.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I've waited so long for you to blow into town, and now that the Moon and cooled down mornings have announced your arrival on the oaked chaparral savannah of far No. CA I'm going to take full advantage of you in the kitchen! As soon as the Sun gets the message, which I feel in my knees is on the very verge of happening... 

in the meantime I am collecting seeds and getting super excited about the following culinary adventures that lie ahead this season...

squash, squash and more squash...two of my favorites are Kabocha and Delicata, but there are so many other delicious varieties out there...I will try to sample as many as possible for you in a host of recipes...and pumpkin, of course! I will be doing a whole lot on pumpkin and everything I plan to subject it to in the kitchen after I get it home from the market including an incredible spicy pumpkin and goat curry which I will attempt to master, some slow roasted chipotle pulled pork and pumpkin tacos and a pumpkin, goat cheese and organic bacon quiche with a savory potato crust will be on the blog...oh yeah...creamy risotto's with roasted pumpkin and squash using Massa's brown rice http://www.massaorganics.com/ local goat cheese from http://northvalleyfarms.com and sage these rustic risotto enriched meals-many of which will be served with herb and lemon roasted chicken, root vegetables and braised greens are seriously not to be missed...

I am extremely excited about Fall mushroom hunting this year and will do the risotto thing with wild mushrooms many times...and as we wait for the rains to coax most of their primordial caps from the ground I just have to be patient...in the meantime I can drive up into the surrounding mountains and hunt the Matsutake mushroom also called the pine mushroom and hen of the woods...there will be more on my mushroom hunting obsessions later...


here's some history...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matsutake

Rainbow trout and Chinook salmon fishing are definitely on the Autumnal horizon...you've got to get em while you can...fish for breakfast? I've got plenty of fantastic weekend breakfast and brunch suggestions...including a super simple blender hollandaise which is perfect on poached salmon, plus healthy smoothie and fresh pressed juice drinks your kids will actually crave...

looking forward to a fresh crop of Fall and Winter greens and hearty salad making with quinoa, roasted jerusalem artichoke, beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips and carrots, crunchy radish and salad turnips, walnuts, dried apricots, sun dried tomato, fresh herbs, mustard greens and arugula...plus suggestions for chopped dinner salads to make any night of the week...

herbed frittatas made from farm fresh eggs and served with gingered tomato relish canned from Summer's bumper crop...this is a meal which will repeat as often as the lunar cycle in my house... a rich comforting horseradish crusted GF mac-n-cheese made with a super savory and nutritious white sauce, baked with fresh goat, aged cheddar and romano cheeses and stuffed with peas, sun dried tomatoes, capers and ham...

and of course copious quantities of soup involving ridiculous amounts of garlic...roasting a chicken a week yields fresh stock and I can't wait to jump into hearty soup and stew making incorporating dried bean varietals, greens, local lamb and sausage from Furnari http://www.furnarisausage.com/ ...several comforting potato and corn chowder recipes with and without local Llano Seco Rancho bacon http://llanoseco.com will be explored and the perfect moist maple cornbread recipe to accompany them inspired by a friend...I am already working hard on a reliably nourishing chicken soup recipe for the Winter issue of Edible Shasta-Butte http://www.ediblecommunities.com/shastabutte/ and will keep the blog updated with my progress regarding that delightful ancient & medicinal remedy...

another current obsession with seaweed is inspiring several variations on a gingery miso soup bowl filled with fresh asian ingredients...plus a coconut curry soup with rice noodles and hard boiled eggs and some sensational split pea and lentil soup recipes that I need to share...and more braised and stir fried greens...especially kale, cabbage and bok choy...

a kitchen experiment making fresh goat cheese from a friends milk surplus is in the cards...and then there are the Fall and Winter nuts and fruits to take advantage of, apples, pears, pomegranates almonds, walnuts, olives and citrus fruits...all these lovely and amazing things will work their way variously into many satisfying Fall and Winter meals to come...so stay tuned for a full and tasty season in the kitchen with clementinecooks, it's going to be tantalizing and delectable!

behold the great pumpkin in all it's glory!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

holy frittata!

Ever ponder what to do with all those odd bits left in your fridge? Well, I hear ya and that's why I am sharing my secret for making a hearty meal wit nuttin. I collect those scrappy odds and ends and whip them into an impressive, tasty looking GF (gluten free) frittata in no time using only one pan! The best part is that uninteresting leftovers magically transform themselves into more delicious leftovers and behold! the frittata can be eaten cold or room temperature tomorrow since the flavors just get better as it sits around for a day or two...

here's one I just pulled out of the oven made with leftover purple kale, potatoes, red and green bell pepper, pear tomatoes, fresh basil, kidney beans, red onion and garlic. The egg and cheese mixture uses up bits and pieces of chevre, aged cheddar and manchego cheeses I had laying around in the cheese drawer...the chevre was a little over the top but mixed with the egg and baked into the frittata added a nice tangy zip to the dish!

So to put the frittata together I am just sauteing all these ingredients together (if they are not already precooked) with a little olive oil, cumin and paprika and topping them with a mixture of eggs and cheese seasoned well with salt and pepper...you could use virtually anything in this dish, I've used leftover pasta, rice, tortilla strips and a huge variety of veggies including summer squash, sweet potato, chard, leeks, spinach and eggplant successfully, roasted bell pepper, artichokes, olives or capers could also be included and of course eggs with any combination of cheeses grated and whisked in and perhaps some pesto...this is not rocket science, just be resourceful and combine things creatively and you'll probably wind up with something delicious enough to serve to guests for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner...you could also add sausage, pancetta, bacon or Serrano ham if you are lucky enough to have some laying around...I saute everything in one large skillet (in the frittata above I had so much ingredient I needed to use a separate casserole, but usually I just make it in a large enameled cast iron skillet) adding the veggie and starch ingredients in layers and pouring the egg and cheese mixture over the top before popping it into a hot oven to bake until the center is nice and firm and the top is golden...
serve an heirloom tomato salad with your frittata...

my basic formula is about 3 eggs per every cup of other ingredients so that when the eggs are poured over the veggie and starch components they come up just to the top of the other like a quiche...the frittata should puff up nicely in the baking stage...I bake it at about 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until the center is firm...Voila! dinner is re-served...here's some history...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frittata

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I know it's officially Autumn now but...

I am making the recipe below with a GF (gluten free) pizza crust because I just can't get enough of those fabulous late Summer figs,
get em while you can...

heres another fig pizza recipe that looks equally yummy...

and for my just desserts I am making this lovely concoction which is sure to please...

coconut basmati rice pudding with vanilla, cardamom, mango, pistachios & mint

3 cups Basmati rice
6 cups coconut milk
10 whole cardamom pods
1/8 tsp clove
1/4 tsp star anise powder or 1 whole star anise
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Vanilla bean (split lengthwise)
5 tbsp sugar
Pinch of Kosher salt
garnish for serving
chopped mango
fresh mint
crushed pistachios

Combine the coconut milk, and rice in a heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean and then add in the cardamom pods, star anise, clove and cinnamon powder. Bring the milk to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium; cover and simmer until the rice is tender, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes. Mix in the sugar. Discard the vanilla bean, cardamom pods and whole star anise (if used). Simmer uncovered for another 5-8 minutes. Pour into a serving bowl, and cover. Serve warm or chilled, garnished liberally with cubed mango, crushed pistachios and fresh mint. Serves 5.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How do you keep an Gen X'er aging gracefully? Treat them like rock royalty...

It's hard getting older, especially if you hail from Generation X, but making a rich, indulgent GF meal from scratch followed by a decadent GF French birthday cake always takes the edge off the aging process and makes turning the page on another year a little less painful. In addition to pulling some strings to get my musicophile hubby on the guest list (plus one of course) to see the genius rock band Wilco (I went to art school with someone who's married to someone in the band yo) when they rolled through our small town midweek stopping briefly to play in our lovely little deco gem of a theatre, the Cascade, I made him this yummy meal...as expected the show kicked ass (it is Wilco we are talking about after all), so did the dinner...it was a night to remember...whatever...

so here's what was on the menu...
Casear salad
French pot roast with local Prather Ranch beef 
GF chocolate mousse cake...you can throw in a handful of raspberries if you want to jazz this up a bit...



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I just can't get enough of this stuff...

GF blender gazpacho               

This soupy salad of Spanish origin is really best in late Summer when the ingredients are ripe and in season. My kids like to scoop it up with tortilla chips...

3 pounds (about 4 large) very ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
1 medium cucumber, cut into rough 1-inch chunks
1 small red onion, peeled and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
2 medium bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
1 whole bunch of fresh basil or cilantro roughly chopped with stems removed
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons finely minced herbs such as mint, basil or cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper

Working in two batches as necessary, process vegetables, basil or cilantro and almonds, slowly drizzling olive oil and vinegar into food processor as it works. Vegetables should be finely processed. Pour into a mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve, drizzling each individual bowl with olive oil, a few sprinkles of vinegar, extra cracked black pepper, chopped herbs and more almonds. Gazpacho can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up t0 3 days. Blend a jalapeno pepper with the vegetables to turn up the heat. Garnish with fresh corn kernels, avocado, feta or your favorite aged cheese for further variation. Serves 6 to 8.

some history...

here is an interesting variation with watermelon I mean to try...



another lovely Summer dish that can be varied endlessly depending on what fresh vegetables you can get your hands on...
1 italian eggplant salted and cubed ( I like Prosperosa)
1 pound (4 large) ripe tomatoes cored and roughly chopped
2 medium bell peppers thinly sliced
1 red onion
10 large cloves of garlic minced
1 bunch fresh basil chopped with stems removed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 cup shaved Pecorino Romano cheese
2 packages GF Quinoa Spaghetti or Linguine (I prefer Ancient Harvest Brand as it holds up well to cooking, has a nice Semolina color and a very good chewy texture)
Heat a large pan of water to a boil. Add pasta. Cook al dente, drain toss with a little olive oil and set aside keeping warm. In a large saute pan heat half the oil. Add half the onion and garlic and saute until wilted. Add eggplant and saute on high heat until completely cooked about 10 minutes. Remove contents of pan to a large pasta bowl. Heat remaining oil, onion and garlic in saute pan. Add tomatoes and saute for a few minutes until wilted. Add bell pepper. Cook peppers with tomatoes until done but still slightly firm, do not overcook. Remove contents of pan to pasta bowl. Add chopped basil, olives and cheese to bowl. Add pasta to bowl. Toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with more grated cheese on top and perhaps some chopped italian parsley. Mange Mange! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

irresistible ripe Summer figs...

about this time of year I start craving fresh figs, and this year I have been honored by being asked to participate in Maywood Farms annual Big Fig Gig...

below are a couple of simple tasty fig recipes I developed for the event, enjoy!

caramelized fig, fresh tomato, red onion & toasted walnut salad with Summer herbs, feta & balsamic vinaigrette

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dark brown or Muscovado sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups quartered fresh figs (about 1/2 pound), I am using Kadota & Black Mission varieties for nice color in this recipe
1 cup toasted walnut pieces
1 cup ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese (other types of cheese such as pecorino romano and fresh chevre can be substituted for the goat feta in this recipe)
sea salt to taste

For this recipe, use any fig variety you like or a combination of varieties. To caramelize the figs spread them on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with the sugar. Pop them into an oven preheated to 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool and transfer to a bowl. Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl and stir well with a whisk. Add the figs, tomatoes, red onion, walnuts, mint and basil and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese. Add sea salt to taste. Use this delicious, seasonal salad to top garlicky crostini, creamy polenta, flatbread pizzettas, a bed of seasonal greens such as arugula or a grilled lamb chop. Feel free to substitute ingredients as needed, I also like to use fresh parsley and coriander, as well as pistachios, almonds or pine nuts in this dish for flavor variations. Makes 4, 1 1/2 cup servings.

gingered, coriander fig & eggplant chutney

2 cups red wine vinegar (or a mix of red wine & cider vinegar)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I like dark Muscovado for this)
1 cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds or whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons sea salt plus more to taste
1 large red onion, peeled and diced
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped dried cherries or raisins
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 cup diced apple
1/2 cup minced carrot
1 1/4 pounds fresh figs, rinsed, stems removed & halved
1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons prepared catsup
1/4 cup prepared marmalade
Minced zest of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup pistachios, toasted and lightly chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan combine the vinegars, sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, pepper flakes, ancho chile, coriander, mustard seeds, worcestershire, sea salt, lemon zest, onion, ginger and cherries or raisins, sun dried tomatoes, apple and carrot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until mixture is thickened and reduced by 2/3, forming a thick syrup. Add the figs and the eggplant and cook gently until they are very soft, beginning to fall apart and most of the liquid they've given off has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. Add the lemon juice, catsup, marmalade, fresh coriander and pistachios. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Transfer the chutney to a non-reactive container and allow to come to room temperature before serving. The chutney may be made up to 3 weeks in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It is wonderful served atop grilled or oven roasted fish, chicken, pork or lamb. Makes 6 cups.

some figgy history...

a main dish recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi which is lovely to eat and features ripe figs & humble sweet potatoes intertwined, a pleasantly surprising combination...

and last but not least, an old standby to knock your late Summer socks off...