Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cafe Darclee Photoshoot

It's been quite the busy past couple of months for me - new, big changes and settling into a new home, but all is well! Cooking has lightened, but my enthusiasm has not. Life at the cafe has been busy with new management and in turn, an opportunity for some new work. In attempts to give the place a little bit of a lift, I've been taken on to do the food photography for our website. Estimated to be up in the next week or so, as we still have some more product to shoot later this week, but these are some of the shots we've decided on thus far. Thanks for all of your support (especially through my Facebook account) and I hope you enjoy! All the best.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Clementine & Olive Oil Pound Cake

I've become especially intrigued lately with baked good recipes that call for olive oil in lieu of butter, so when I saw a pound cake flavored of sweet clementines, and calling for this special ingredient, I instantly bookmarked it. With Easter arriving just tomorrow, I thought it would be a great time to experiment, which is exactly what I did after getting off of work yesterday. My home was the sweetest it had ever smelled. The combination of the clementine zest and sugar filled the air. A simple, straightforward cake turned out to yield very pleasing results.

This pound cake is best left simple, as to not kill the slightly sweet and citrus bite it lends to it's taster.
Best served alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a sprinkling of powdered sugar with a cup of tea, this little loaf most certainly felt like Spring in a cake tin. If you're looking for a new twist on your average pound cake, I highly recommend this. I took it upon myself to add some lemon to the recipe I found on Cafe Fernando's blog, and felt it really lifted the clementines out, and the taste a bit stronger.

Clementine & Olive Oil Pound Cake


- 2 cups all-purpose flour

- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp clementine zest*

- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup clementine juice*
- lemon juice (from half a lemon)

* Depending on size, 2-3 clementines would be enough for the zest and juice.

Preheat the oven to 375* F. Grease and flour one 12 x 4 inch loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and clementine zest and rub together with a wooden spoon to extract the fragrant oil from the zest.

Add olive oil and mix quickly until completely combined (preferably with a whisk).

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix slowly.

Add half of the clementine juice and continue mixing.

Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the rest of the clementine juice, lemon juice and the remaining flour mixture and beat until combined between each addition.

Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven, wait 10 minutes for it to cool down and then remove from the pan.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Crunchy Cornmeal with Caramelized Onions

This was my first time cooking with cornmeal. With how simple and tasty it was, it surely won't be my last. For this recipe, it literally comes down to a little measuring, some stirring, chopping of onions, and the rest of the time is spent in your oven, forming a delectably crunchy crust. If you're a fan of sweet, caramelized onions (like myself), this is your meal. The best way I can describe this dish is that of a cornmeal cake. One baked with soft, sweet, browning onions, and Parmesan, topped with both after coming out of the oven. If you let it cool, you can get slices and serve them alongside a salad, as I did, or dunk them in a chunky vegetable soup, or some chili if you're looking to go down the real filling road. I was also pleasantly surprised with how good the leftovers were. I crumbled mine on top of a salad the next day with a drizzling of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and it was quite tasty. I'd imagine it'd be great just thrown onto a skillet though to reheat with the addition of veggies such as kale, spinach or zucchini.

Crunchy Cornmeal with Caramelized Onions
(Courtesy of 101 Cookbooks)


- 1 1/2 cups (medium grind) cornmeal
- fine grain sea salt
- 4 cups yellow onion, chopped (about 3 medium)
- 1/4 cup olive oil

- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 3 cups water or vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 400*F. Butter and flour (or line bottom with parchment paper) one 9 x 12-inch baking dish or tart pan - or roughly this size.

In a medium bowl combine the corn meal with 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir and set aside.

To caramelize the onions, heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high to high heat, stirring and scraping the pan occasionally - more often as the onions begin to get increasingly brown. Continue cooking until the onions collapse and turn deep brown in color. Remove from skillet and set aside.Bring 1 1/2 cups water (or broth) to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the water and cornmeal mixture, bring back up to a boil and stir until it is thicker and heavy - about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and 2/3 of the onions. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it to an even thickness, and drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the bottom is golden and the cornmeal begins to pull away from the sides of the pan a bit. Serve topped with the remaining onions (and more grated cheese if you like).

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Kale and Lemon

Hunger strikes, your wallet is slim and your patience is running low - who can you turn to? Meet Pasta. A great sort of lazy-night kind of dining. Easy to prep, inexpensive, extremely versatile, and heck - plenty of fun shapes and colors to choose from. Last night was one of those kinds of nights in the Gaudet-Sayre household. I hadn't made much in tips from the day at the cafe, was tired, but still wanted to mess around in the kitchen once I got home. I picked up a little bundle of kale and a sampling of Merlot-soaked Sartori Bellavitano cheese (now a favorite!) from my local Whole Foods and trekked home to match them with their new mates - whole wheat spaghetti (49 cents at Trader Joe's!), olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. The result - a beautifully simple, fragrant, delicious dinner in about 10 minutes time.

As long as you have pasta, olive oil, garlic and some salt on pepper on hand (and maybe a good parm), you can't go hungry. It may not sound extravagant, but something so simple can yield unexpectedly pleasing sensations to the taste buds. I've found that "less i
s more" often rings quite true in the kitchen. It was a great dish. Light, a little salty, a little crunchy and everything tasted as it should - no masking of flavors. And the lemon - brilliant. Found it really complimented the otherwise bitter kale, and really rounded out the meal quite nicely. Freshly grated cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little bit of freshly ground pepper, served with a side of salad - we were completely content after wards and I even hummed my way through the dishes.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Kale and Lemon

Yields 2-4 servings


- Half package of Whole Wheat Spagh
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for tossi
- lemon juice from half a lemon
- 3-4 medium-sized stalks kale, coarsely chopped
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- hard cheese for grating on top (optional)

While waiting for your pasta water to boil, warm the olive oil over low to medium-low heat in a skillet (big enough to fit the chopped kale).
Add minced garlic and let cook, but not burn.
Add pasta to water.
Chop kale and add to the olive oil and garlic. Wilt, but do not overcook as you want to keep it's crunchy texture somewhat alive.
Once the spaghetti is cooked to your liking, strain, run through cool water and put back to keep warm. Combine the kale and garlic mixture and toss. Add lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil to
Serve with freshly grated cheese on top, or a sprinkling of breadcrumbs. Great for a crowd, or a lazy-night's supper.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Green Goddess Salad Dressing: Vegan Remix

Normally, I would consider myself to be a simple salad dressing kind of girl - olive oil, a squirt of lemon and maybe some shallots and balsamic if I'm feeling especially jazzy. However, there is one restaurant's salad dressing that will always remain as one of my tastiest memories, and for only having had it once, have yet to lose a single ounce of the memory, now 4 years later... In June of 2005, my aunt Erica took me to Chez Panisse as a gracious graduation gift. I remember ordering the butter lettuce salad with Green Goddess dressing. Simply adorned with beautiful, bright ruby-red clusters of pomegranate seeds, it was one of the prettiest salads I'd ever seen. It was first time I experienced a salad that seemingly melted away in my mouth. Thickened up and beautifully colored by avocado - it was sensational.

Growing up, I had always been so curious about what went on behind the dark wood front, with the trellises covered in vines (it was in a house on a main stretch in Berkeley - Shattuck Avenue). Little did I know, it would become one of the most fascinating eateries to me, and probably, most influential for it's take on California-cuisine. I knew the the woman who started it, Alice Waters, was also the woman who started what would become my most prized memory at Martin Luther King middle school - the Edible Garden & kitchen. Among my grandparents, Tom and Nancy; my parents, Bill and Amanda, and my Aunt Jennifer, Alice Waters too, would make the cut in who I felt had made the biggest influence on my life in the kitchen growing up.

At the moment, I'm reading (and thoroughly enjoying) 'Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution'. It got me thinking back to my one visit there, and the salad dressing I've never been able to make quite right. I decided to look harder and give it another go the other day. I made it a little bit of my own (substituting the raw egg for silken tofu), but was quite happy with the turnout. Enough so to share. This is my version of Chez Panisse's Green Goddess Dressing tossed in Boston (butter) lettuce.

Green Goddess Salad Dressing


Yields 1 1/2 cups

- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced

- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoon Silken Tofu (or, in CP version - 1 large egg yolk at room temperature)
- 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (may want more to reach desired consistency)
- 1/2 ripe avocado

- 3 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon

- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives

- salt and pepper (to taste)


- blender or Cuisinart (either are best if using Silken Tofu)

In a small bowl, combine the shallot with the garlic, vinegar and lemon and lime juices. Let stand for 5 minutes.

If you are using Silken Tofu, I would recommend blending all of the ingredients together for a consistently smooth texture. Otherwise, combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Mash avocado with fork and gradually whisk in first mixture of shallot, garlic, vinegar, lemon and lime juice.

I served mine over a bed of butter lettuce, which has a very mellow, buttery and soft flavor that compliments the creamy dressing well. I then topped it off with some fresh, pink radishes for a bit of a bite. It would also be great with a light sprinkling of fresh peas.

Chez Panisse - Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, California

(Photo courtesy of Barista Magazine)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The 'Less Is More' Healthy Cookie

Here's one for you: flour-less, egg-less, butter-less (and potentially sugar-less) cookies! I know what you may thinking, "You're losing it, Liz", but as unappealing as it may sound (for a cookie), I was intrigued by the ingredients (or lack thereof). Honestly, as much as I wanted to try them, I didn't think that they were going to be this good (and that I'd keep going back for more)... Sweetened and held together by overly ripened bananas and almond meal; mixed with rolled oats and chocolate, they really are a treat. And one that you can feel good about eating, at that.

I'm so happy to have found this recipe, as it's going to have to become a regular when I'm craving a chewy , delicious treat. Filled with chocolate and smelling of sweet, ripe bananas and Cinnamon - you can't go wrong. I owe it all to 101 Cookbooks (once again) and her article on her friend, Nikki's 'Healthy Cookies' recipe. In my version, I used both dark chocolate chunks and carob chips; coconut oil was replaced with olive oil since it would be one less thing to buy, and almond meal/flour was out of my price range, so I made my own by pulsing raw almonds in my Cuisinart to a fine, sand-like consistency (beware not to over do it, or else you'll end up with almond butter).

The 'Less Is More' Healthy Cookie (Nikki's Cookies)

Yields about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies


- 3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

- 1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm - so it isn't solid (or alternately, olive oil)
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2/3 cup almond meal

- 1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 - 7 ounces chocolate chips, carob chips or dark chocolate bar - chopped

Preheat oven to 350*F, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut/olive oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips. The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, but don't worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto an oiled pan. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes. I baked these until golden brown on top, but soft on the inside. They were perfect. About 17 minutes baking time in my oven.

Black Bean and Corn Tuna Cakes

I love tuna, but seemingly not enough to keep cans of it from stacking up in our pantry. I think my mom has called me three times since our last Costco trip wondering if there was anything I needed, and just until the other day, all I could think of when she would ask that was, "How am I going to use up all of this tuna..?" It then dawned on me that being that I do love a good seafood cake (salmon, crab, halibut)- why not give tuna cakes a go! Little did I know then, that I would be nibbling on them with my tea the following morning...

Over the summer I had made salmon cakes with black beans and corn and highly enjoyed them, so I incorporated those two ingredients into this concoction. This recipe is especially good for entertaining since you get quite a bit out of it. I probably got about 12, good burger-sized patties. Great on their own, but would be just as tasty sandwiched between some wheat toast or two, thick slabs of browned sourdough bread. As the warmer months draw near, I can only guess how good they would be fresh off a grill. I served mine over a bed of lettuce with a side of salad and two patties later I was perfectly content and pleasantly surprised at how good they had turned out.

Black Bean and Corn Tuna Cakes


- 4 cans solid Albacore tuna in water, drained
- 1/3 white onion, finely chopped

- 1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
- 1 can black beans
- 1/2 can corn - plain (if cannot find fresh)
- 4 stems kale, coarsely chopped
- about 5 slices whole wheat bread or 1/3-1/2 baguette (preferred, but any kind will work)
- olive oil
- salt (to taste)
- freshly ground pepper (to taste)


- Cuisinart (blender should work, too)

Preheat oven to 300*F (this will be to keep them warm during the process).

Pulse bread in food processor to make crumbs. Be careful not to make them too fine. Pour in shallow bowl.
Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.
Combine tuna, onions, green peppers, black beans, corn, kale, olive oil, salt and pepper in bowl. Mix well.
Put half of mixture into food processor and pulse until mixed well.
Combine box tuna mixtures (this ensures there is a bit of texture, but helps the patties keep their form).
Mold patties by hand and move to bread-crumb b
owl to be covered evenly.
Place the patty in the skillet and brown evenly on both sides. Keep patties on cookie sheet in oven to stay toasty, and repeat process until mixture is gone.
Before serving, I like to give them one more go on the skillet.

Serve as an appetizer, or make them the star of the show. Either way, they're tasty!