When I found out that Oprah was holding an open casting call/audition for her new “Own” television station, I couldn’t wait to apply! I’ve spent the majority of my life dreaming and telling everyone my grandeur ideas. But, I have a bad habit of not following through with those aspirations. This year, I decided to turn over a new leaf and take action. No more wasting time dreaming about what could be. Instead, I want to take the steps to make those dreams a reality.
In order to portray who I am while showing my culinary point of view, I had to come up with a recipe that would essentially be “Katie on a plate” (in less than 3 minutes!) With my food, I really value using seasonal, local ingredients in recipes that are packed with flavor yet still healthy (without being diet food). For my featured recipe, I wanted to come up with something that utilized seasonal vegetables with other ingredients you can find at any grocery store.
I love these tomatoes because you can mix up the stuffing and use tons of different ingredients to switch up the flavors. They work great paired with a salad for a light summer dinner, or you can make a big batch as a side dish for a large crowd.
Technically speaking, spring officially started a few weeks ago. It didn’t really feel like it was here though until this last weekend filled with sunshine and blue skies. Even though Jason and I were stuck working, it seemed like everyone else was really enjoying the change in weather. We’ve spent the last few years supplying everyone else with their toys and our busiest days in the shop are often those 75 degree days where everyone wants to rent paddleboards, buy a trainer kite, or demo a longboard. It seems like the only time we get a breather is on those gray, drizzly days when the rest of the world is smart enough to stay home. Luckily for me, i’m more than happy holing up in my kitchen on those rainy days and braising a big chunk of meat til it falls of the bone.
But I digress. My whole point was that yes, spring is finally here. To me, that means making the transition to light, healthy cooking with all the fresh seasonal produce cropping up. These couscous cakes epitomize spring freshness. This recipe is a variation on the couscous cakes in Fine Cooking Mazagine issue No. 37. You can fill them with any type of veggie you love. I made these with whole wheat couscous so they were extra healthy (it’s actually all I had in my pantry to be honest) and filled them with zucchini, garbanzo beans and almonds. A simple salad played a supporting role while a roasted red pepper sauce brought the cakes to life.
The best part about these couscous cakes is that they’re not only a showstopper but you can fry them up and keep them warm in a warm oven while you put together the rest of your dinner.
Yesterday I stepped out of my comfort zone. Sundays cause a sort of unexplainable gravitational pull towards my oven. It’s like someone declared Sunday to be baking day and I’m not complaining. To be completely honest though, baking has always terrified me. Just the idea that everything has to be so exact and measured out sends me into a state of panic. What if I overmix the dough? How do I know when it’s overmixed? How much do I need to knead the dough? The questions go on and on. I’m much more comfortable sticking to the stove top.
But once in a blue moon, I just HAVE to bake something. Maybe it was the drizzly Seattle Sunday afternoon that made me want to hunker down and be all domesticated. I saw a Giada DeLaurentiis recipe for strawberry scones with rosemary in the dough and it was right up my alley. I can’t believe how easily it all came together too. I took these photos so you could see each step of the process. Since I don’t bake often, I had to improvise on a few things. For instance, I found out yesterday that i don’t own a rolling pin. Oh well, I just floured up an empty wine bottle and used that instead.
This dish is the epitome of a simple Sunday supper. The recipe comes from my favorite little old lady, Miss Jackie’s family. She’s this adorable elderly woman that I cater for every once in awhile, and she insisted that I make this recipe when I was catering a brunch for her friends and family. Earlier this week, I invited our friend Joaquin over for dinner and he looked a little perplexed when I pulled the ramekins out of the oven. His face said “hmm, I thought you invited me over for dinner, not breakfast!” : ) But after one bite, he was in loooove.
Technically, they aren’t really souffles which are a little more complicated to make. But the results are almost identical which is why I still call them by that name. The baking powder makes them nice and fluffy while the cottage cheese adds an unbelievable richness. The best part though, is you can take this base recipe and add in whatever ingredients you like. Wild mushrooms, spinach, roasted peppers, ham, etc. all work great. Basically you can add in anything you like in an omelette. The sky is the limit!
I love serving these souffles with a salad for a light dinner. The other night I had some roasted asparagus on the side (since they’re in season right now) and some italian turkey sausages.
**If you’re serving a big crowd, just double the recipe and pour it into a 9×13 casserole dish and serve it family style. Add a few minutes onto the cooking time. Read more