Post-Holiday Remedy: Potato Soup with Fenugreek

A remedy for having consumed too much cheese, wine, turkey and such: a potato soup with chopped savoy cabbage, fenugreek and leeks. I made this with the last of the produce from Ojai. That's one of my favorite kitchen activities: to look in a seemingly empty refrigerator and figure out how to pull together the week's remains.

And the pie? It was undercooked, even though I more than doubled the cooking time - but it tasted good. The lesson? Always make something you've made before when cooking for others - a rule I forget now and then.

This is savoy cabbage - it's like a giant brussels sprout

Potato soup with savoy cabbage and fenugreek:
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
A few sprigs of fresh fenugreek (or oregano or thyme), chopped
4 or 5 medium russet potatoes, cubed
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 small head savoy cabbage, chopped

Sauté onion until transluscent. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add fenugreek; cook until fragrant (1 or 2 minutes). Add potatoes; stir to coat. Add broth, bring to a simmer; lower heat. Add chopped cabbage; stir and simmer for 1 minute to meld flavors. Season with salt and pepper. Top with cilantro or other fresh herbs.

Happy Thanksgiving

A late-night, pre-Thanksgiving feast, with mom and D. On the menu:
  • Arugula & mung bean salad with persimmons, pomegranate, pistachios, onion, sherry vinegar & hazelnut oil
  • Celery root & apple soup with celery root leaf pesto
  • Roasted delicata squash tossed with pomegranate seeds, pistachios & buckwheat honey
  • Pumpkin scramble made with leftover egg whites (plus a few messed-up whites with yolk) & pumpkin puree from pie recipe (sauteed onion, fresh sage; poured in egg whisked with puree; stirred in handful of grated gruyere; seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir (a good, inexpensive pinot)
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Ojai & Pumpkin Pie (Fingers Crossed)

Olives surreptitiously foraged from a tree at our hotel in Ojai, waiting to be brined.

Last weekend: went to Ojai.
This week: made a pumpkin pie.

From the Ojai farmers' market: persimmons, pomegranate, avocado, & lemons

Salad made with watercress + persimmons + pomegranate + chick peas + pecans + red onion + red wine vinegar + hazelnut oil


A whole pumpkin in the oven to make puree for pie. How to: stab pumpkin a few times (horror movie sound effects),  then bake at 350˚ for an hour or until soft. Cut in half; cool; remove seeds; peel; mash. 
An unattractive pie crust (really hoping it comes together)
Pie after an hour in the oven (really, really hope it turns out)

For this pumpkin pie, I followed a new recipe which is a crazy thing to do when you're cooking for other people - pure folly. Especially when it's a national holiday. Fingers crossed it turns out ok.

Pumpkin Pie (adapted recipe from Sunset magazine):
2 cups pumpkin purée
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ginger root, peeled and chopped
1 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Bake crust at 375° until starting to brown, 25 to 30 minutes; cool. Whisk together all other ingredients. Pour mixture into tart shell. Reduce heat to 325°. Bake tarts until set and slightly puffed at edges, about 30 minutes (this took more than an hour for me). Cool 1 hour, then chill at least 2 hours.

Oh yeah, and the crust:
3 cups flour
1 TB sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cold, cubed butter

Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter to form pea-size pieces. Mix in 2/3 cup very cold water with fork until moistened. Turn dough onto a work surface and gather into a ball, turning to combine any dry crumbs. Form into a disk, and chill at least 30 minutes (or overnight, or even freeze) in airtight container.

Kale with Browned Lemons, Yam Hash with Roasted Peppers

Sometimes a day starts lousy then takes a turn for the better. Like today: I woke up feeling like a sock full of sawdust, and now I feel pretty good. All it took was a trip to the farmer's market, coffee and a scone, some holiday meal planning, a cookie order and a yam hash. Ah, the agony and the ecstasy of being self-employed: you worry a lot about the future, but you get time off to go to the farmer's market.

In addition to the hash, I made the above greens with lemons. It's some kind of kale I picked up at Flora Bella last weekend, but I can't remember the name. They're more tender? Anyway, any kind of greens will do for this recipe.

Greens with Lemons:
Olive oil
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
A bunch of greens (kale, chard, whatever), stems and leaves separated, then chopped

Cook the lemon slices on medium heat in oiled sauce pan until browned on both sides. Set aside. In same pan, add more oil and sauté onion until carmelized. Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Add kale stems; cook until tender but still crunchy. Add kale leaves; cook until wilted but still bright green. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lousy lighting in the kitchen at night
Yam Hash:
Canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 TB cumin seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 sweet peppers, cut into strips
1 garnet yam, chopped (I leave the skin on - more vitamins)

Pre-heat oven to 425˚. Toss chopped peppers with oil, salt and pepper in roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes. Toss chopped yam with oil, salt and pepper in roasting pan. Roast until soft - about 15 minutes. Heat oil in skillet; add onion. Cook until translucent. Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Add spices; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add yams and peppers; cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Cakes I've Made

Banana layer cake with nutella buttercream filling and vanilla bean cream-cheese frosting. Recipe from Always With Butter.

I've been fantasizing about starting a little cake-making side business: like Mildred Pierce, but with a happy ending. My bonafides? My cousins call me "sweet genius" (which is the best thing I've ever been called). Here are a few samples from recent history.

Chocolate layer cake with blackberry buttercream filling and bittersweet chocolate frosting

A sexy shot of the inside of that cake

Molasses gingerbread coffee cake

(A leaning) coconut layer cake with coconut cream filling and coconut cream cheese frosting 

Nutella layer cake with nutella buttercream
Recently, I got my first order ever - a nutella birthday cake with a portrait of the honoree. It's not for nothing I went to art school.

Risotto with Chanterelles, Parsnips and Parsnip Greens

On Sunday morning we met up with some good friends at the Hollywood farmers' market. After blowing a consequential wad of cash on produce, we went for brunch at newly opened Hatfields-helmed Sycamore Kitchen. I forewent a proper meal in favor of a sampling of baked goods: a brown butter oatmeal scone, chocolate chip rye cookie and peanut butter coconut cookie bar - all delicious, especially the cookie, which I'm planning to recreate at home.

Last night I made a risotto with market-bought mushrooms and baby parsnips (from Flora Bella, a favorite). That - along with a glass of Dolcetto d'Alba and The Good Wife on TV - was a fine way to cap off a brilliant fall day. Sometimes I love L.A.

2 TB olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese
1 TB butter

Sautee garlic in oil. Add rice; stir to coat. Add wine; cook on medium heat until absorbed, stirring often. Pour in broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring often and waiting for it to absorb between each addition. Add more or less broth depending on desired consistancy. It takes about 25-30 minutes to cook. I like my risotto al dente and thick, so I cook for less time and add less broth. When ready, add cheese and butter, stirring to melt.

Sauté a chopped shallot in butter. Turn heat up to medium high and add chopped mushrooms. Cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Tip: don't layer too many mushrooms in the pan or they get watery. Season with salt and pepper; serve.

Sautee 2 or 3 chopped garlic cloves in olive oil. Add thinly sliced parsnips (no need to peel if they're white baby ones); saute until cooked but still crunchy. Add chopped parsnip greens - stems and all. Cook until leaves are wilted but still bright green. Season with salt and pepper.

I topped the risotto and vegetables with shredded parmesan and a few teaspoons of leftover carrot-green pesto.

Carrot Ginger Soup with Carrot Greens Pesto

It's raining today in L.A. - finally. The other day I picked up several bunches of carrots at the farmer's market. They were more frond than root. Like the Plains Indians with buffalo, I try to make use of the whole carrot: I used the peelings to make broth, the greens to make pesto, and the carrots themselves in the puree. Fronds have a peppery, bitter taste, excellent with garlic and olive oil in a pesto. And pesto is good with a sweet fall soup.

A lot of this is to taste, so adjust accordingly:

Coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
12 medium-sized carrots, peeled and chopped
1 garnet yam, chopped
2 TB ginger root, peeled and minced
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp brown sugar
4-6 cups vegetable broth

Sauté onion in a few tablespoons of coconut oil until translucent. Add carrots, yam and ginger; cook until fragrant (3 minutes or so). Add spices; cook another minute. Cover with broth, adding more or less: it's up to you how you like the consistency of your soup. Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes. Let cool. Puree in blender. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Re-heat on low before serving.

2 roughly chopped carrot fronds, stems removed
3 cloves garlic (or 4 or 5)
2-4 TB olive oil
Salt and pepper

Add all ingredients to food processor. Pulse until a paste is formed. Add more olive oil if needed. Season to taste. Serve a spoonful on top of soup.

La Bourgogne

I'm starting Deer Eats Wolf for a few reasons: first, I love food; second, I always forget what I make, so this will be a place for me to record and archive recipes; and third, I like sharing.

Yes, that's fois gras with French fries
I'll begin in Burgundy, this past summer, with my in-laws and their two-story house, built for railroaders in the 1940s and surrounded by a garden. There, we spend our afternoons in the shade of an apple tree, languishing in the heat, drinking bottle after bottle of burgundy and eating snails. When we visit, they make our favorite things, hard to find in California: I eat foie gras with french fries, bourride, and escargots. My husband gets tomates farcies and a galette des rois. It's Christmas in July and we forget our Californian resolve to avoid this and eat more of that.

A galette des rois in July, with hundred dollar bill

Deer Eats Wolf is a continuation of those warm and boozy Burgundian afternoons - a place of virtual bread-breaking where I share my love of food, cooking, and wine with those who sit at my table.

Why Deer Eats Wolf? I'm a vegetarian who eats foie gras: what fun is resolve without contradiction?