Quiche with a Black Quinoa Crust, Heirloom Tomatoes, Spinach, Goat Cheese

Quiche with a Black Quinoa Crust, Heirloom Tomatoes, Spinach, Goat Cheese

Quiche with a Black Quinoa Crust
Heirloom Tomatoes, Spinach, Goat Cheese

The wild, crunchy supergrain of the Andes makes an interesting crust for this tomato, spinach, and goat cheese quiche. Organic Royal Black Quinoa is grown 13,000 feet up on an arid, desolate salt flat in Bolivia.

My gluten-free friends will appreciate quinoa as a replacement for a pastry crust. And everyone can appreciate the nutrition, extra protein, and fiber that quinoa adds to the quiche. For me, I like the unexpected striking black color – even if I have to explain that no, no, it’s not burnt.

Black Quinoa Crust Quiche Recipe

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Unique Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Salad - Pomegranate Syrup, Feta, Cucumber, Red Onion, Borage, Cayenne, Olive Oil, Sprouted Watermelon Seeds, Basil

A Unique Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Brick, Pomegranate Syrup, Feta, Cucumber
Borage, Basil, Red Onion, Cayenne, Olive Oil, Sprouted Watermelon Seeds

Borage and Basil Centerpiece

 Welcome to My

BORAGE & BASIL
Bistro

The Borage & Basil Bistro is a bright sunny spot, a virtual place to enjoy summer’s bounty on a pretty plate. A relaxing place to sip a nice cool, crisp and melon-y Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh picked herbs and edible flowers dominate the menu.

Today’s salad special takes the ubiquitous combination of watermelon and feta and adds our eponymous borage & basil. Like bright stars falling from the summer sky…with it’s electric blue color and a faintly sweet flavor with hints of cucumber, borage makes the presentation pop! Pomegranate syrup adds sweet and tangy notes, while sprouted watermelon seeds add interest – they’re high in protein, with a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture. It’s a visually striking salad, light yet satisfying. And it just screams summer!

Watermelon Salad - Pomegranate Syrup, Feta, Cucumber, Red Onion, Borage, Cayenne, Olive Oil, Sprouted Watermelon Seeds, Basil

Unique Watermelon Salad Recipe

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Carrot Top Pesto

Fresh, Fabulous, and Frugal - Carrot Top Pesto!

Carrot Top Pesto

Remember when the checker at the supermarket would ask if you would like her to remove the tops from your carrots? With one swift twist, those unruly tops were separated from the orange roots, and unceremoniously placed in the trash can at her feet.

What took us so long to realize that the tops have taste, and nutrition? And value. The feathery green tops of carrots taste a bit like parsley laced with carrot flavor. They make an excellent pesto, can be sautéed in a blend with other greens, or chopped and used as part of an herb garnish.

Fresh, Fabulous, and Frugal - Carrot Top Pesto!

I recently returned from a spectacular trip to Alaska where I had the absolute pleasure of getting to know Chef Brenda. She is an artist in the galley – a master of multiple cuisines. Her dishes are fresh and creative, and synergistic – she has ability to put together magical meals where the food is enhanced by the mood and the environment, and vice versa. She can fillet a whole king salmon as expertly as she bakes mouth-watering pastries and stunning cakes.

Chef Brenda

One night on our trip, Brenda paired a slow-roasted brisket with a delightful side dish of roasted carrots with a carrot top pesto. I recreated her recipe at home, it is my pleasure to share it here… 

Chef Brenda’s Carrot Top Pesto Recipe

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Mixed Berry Pavlova with Elderflower Lemon Curd Yogurt

Mixed Berry Pavlova with Elderflower Lemon Curd Yogurt
PAVLOVA
A Caramelized Meringue Cake with a Crisp Shell and a Marshmallowy Center
Filled with Elderflower Lemon Curd Yogurt
Elderflower Macerated Cherries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries

This enchanting global dessert ~ named after a RUSSIAN ballerina, created in either NEW ZEALAND or AUSTRALIA (both countries claim it as a national dish), flavored with a FRENCH liqueur (St. Germain Elderflower), filled with GREEK yogurt ~ happens to make a festive red, white, and blue addition to our Independence Day menu, here in the UNITED STATES.

4th of July Mixed Berry Pavlova with Elderflower Lemon Curd Yogurt

Over the years I have made several pavlovas, cooked in different ovens, at different temperatures from 250° to 300°F. This incarnation was cooked at the higher temperature and resulted in a delightful caramelized meringue with the signature soft marshmallowy center. (I suggest cooking at the lower temperature if you prefer a pale meringue). After it is baked, turn off the oven and slowly cool the meringue with the oven door slightly ajar to achieve the perfect texture and to prevent it from deflating.

Mixed Berry Pavlova with Elderflower Lemon Curd Yogurt Recipe

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Fennel and Cabbage Slaw with Bacon, Egg, Peas

Fennel and Cabbage Slaw with Bacon, Egg, Peas

Warm Fennel, Cabbage, and Celery Slaw
with
Bacon Lardons, Poached Egg, Peas, and Scallions
Garlic Whole Grain Croutons

I just blinked an eye and my fennel bush grew four feet. And those umbels of petite yellow florets seemed to suddenly appear too. I didn’t want to harvest the bulbs – the plant is so pretty in the garden with its bright feathery leaves – but I did want to use those fronds and flowers in a dish. It turns out that my friends at Food Network are featuring all kinds of SLAW this week,  so I started with fennel and cabbage (from the farmers market) as a base and built this delightful salad from there.

Unlike most slaws, it is served slightly warm. And there are many flavors and textures in the dish that harmonize with each other. It is flexible too – going low-carb or gluten-free? Just leave out the croutons. Vegetarians can omit the bacon. Everyone can still be happy. Guaranteed.

Fennel Cabbage Slaw Recipe

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Rice Noodles with Miso Butter and Ramen-Style Toppings

Rice Noodles with Miso Butter and Ramen-Style Toppings

Rice Noodles with Miso Butter and Ramen-Style Toppings
Corn, Seaweed, Scallion, Ginger, Bacon (optional), Egg

It’s not a soup, but a noodle dish that borrows the fabulous flavors of miso ramen. The folks at the Food Network are featuring portable, picnic-ready dishes this week. To participate, I’ve transformed ramen soup into a delightful summer noodle salad that is served at room temperature and travels from the backyard, to the park, to the beach, and beyond.

Using fresh summer corn off the cob – it’s seasonal, tasty and unique, sure to be a hit on any picnic buffet. For gluten-free and vegetarian friends – I use rice noodles rather than wheat-based ramen noodles, and while pork is a main ingredient in many ramen soups, the bacon can be served on the side.

Rice Noodles with Miso Butter Recipe

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Gochujang Chicken Adobo and Chef Hooni Kim

Korean-Filipino Gochujang Chicken Adobo

“The food that you cook has to come from within.”
Chef Hooni Kim to the students of Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, May 5, 2015.

Invited by the Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles to demonstrate Korean cooking to the students at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, he flew across the country to share his passion. With such a broad subject to cover in one class, Chef Hooni Kim decided to focus on a few special ingredients, ones that really give Korean cuisine its unique flavors.

One of these special ingredients is gochujang – the red chili paste with sweet heat and a fermented umami richness. It is definitely spicy – but also has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried Korean red peppers.

“I like to share Korean flavors and Korean culture through my restaurants. Not only do I feel like I need to cook delicious food, I need to teach a bit about Korea through the flavors.”

The menu at his Michelin-starred New York City restaurant Danji was inspired by his Korean-American heritage and his New York stomping grounds. The second restaurant, Hanjan, features pure Korean cuisine inspired by all his trips to Korea, the place of his birth.

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