Blackberry Mascarpone Scones

*cricket* *cricket*

Why yes, yes I do recognize it’s been a wee bit quiet over here lately.

There is a reason for that.

GUESS WHAT?! We did it! It’s officially official- Burrito Lover and I are married.

After the whirlwind of not one, not two, but three wedding celebrations, we’re trying our best to decompress a bit and lay low. We had the time of our lives with all of our close friends and family in Arlington, Spain, and Bodega Bay…but tbh we just need to Netflix and chill for the next several years. WEEKS! I mean weeks.

Instead of hyperfocusing on all of the things I need to get done right now after all that traveling/planning/running around like a mad woman (like putting up a blog post) I really just want to get this recipe out into the world.

These summer scones are so incredibly perfect, I almost feel a little guilty hoarding the recipe and keeping it prisoner on my iPad. The plump blackberries from our local farmers market are sugary sweet but still maintain that teeny tiny bit of tartness that blends in beautifully with the creamy homemade mascarpone. The coarse sugar piggybacking on the top of the scone finishes each bite off with the perfect delectable little “crunch.” Shit. I should have doubled the recipe.

Anywho, I would love to write a bit more. But right now, all I really need to be doing is putting my feet up and relaxing.

Cheers to my first attempt at making fresh cheese, salivating over juicy bright summer berries, and taking time for myself and no body else.

Blackberry Mascarpone Scones

Makes: 8 scones & about 1 cup fresh mascarpone cheese 

For the mascarpone (make this first):

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  1. In a small saucepan, slowly bring the heavy cream to a low simmer. Let simmer 3 minutes, then stir in lemon juice and let simmer another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and then let cool for 30 minutes.
  2. Pour mixture into a cheese cloth and place the cheese cloth over a strainer on top of a medium size bowl. Stick in the refrigerator overnight and let the whey drain out. In the AM, after you’ve got a cup of coffee or two in ya, check it out. YOU MADE MASCARPONE CHEESE!

For the scones (make these second): 

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 lb fresh blackberries, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup fresh mascarpone (see recipe above)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse sugar for garnish (I used turbinado sugar)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix together the sugar, flour, baking powder, sea salt, and nutmeg in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in the chopped blackberries, fresh mascarpone, and lemon juice until a sticky dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a large disc. Slice into quarters, then slice the quarters in half to end up with 8 triangle slices. Sprinkle with a bit of flour and some coarse sugar.
  3. Bake 18-22 minutes. Remove from oven when scones are puffy and slightly golden brown. Give another dusting with coarse sugar and serve. These are delish with coffee, tea, ice cream, or just completely on their own beause they are Just. That. Damn. Good.

Asparagus & Morel Quiche with Cornmeal Meyer Lemon Crust

Grief and Quiche: A Love Story

My father and I had a tumultuous relationship from the very beginning. My mother chose to wait until the birth of her babies to discover their gender, which made everyone else extremely eager and my father, a giant globule of nerves.
Four years prior to my entrance into the world, my parents had their first tiny human- my brother. They named him after my father as soon as the doctor proclaimed his gender and he felt an instantaneous quietude with the notion of fatherhood, but a girl? She probably won’t ride on the back of his motorcycle and won’t want to crank up his music any louder. She definitely won’t like shooting guns in the hills of Northern California. A girl?
As time transpired, our relationship morphed and then shifted and then morphed again.
It wasn’t until I turned 22 that we discovered we shared a deep affinity for creating really great food together. And after that, we were inseparable.
My father was truly a purposeful cultivator of moments. He would roll down the car windows just enough to let a scant breeze in, turn up the right Led Zeppelin song just loud enough to shake up our bones, and crack open the sun roof to let just enough light ooze onto the bridges of our noses and turn them golden.
I can’t thank him enough for giving me my love for all things culinary. And I can’t ever roll up my sleeves in my kitchen and dive head first into a cookbook without thinking of him first.
In the early years of my nutritional career, I considered food to be healing through purely a medical scope. What I’ve come to realize over the years is food can actually be healing in a very, for lack of a better term, spiritual way. Through memories where food is the centerpiece, we’re free to relive past moments and periods in our lives with an unprecedented clarity and comfort.
So, my father loved his quiche. And thus, I bake quiche. And I do it all with a certain sense of quiet tenderness and innate warmth. This quiche in particular is a beautiful twist on the classic egg dish draped in a floury pastry crust.
Inside that dazzling and delectably crunchy crust is a bit of yellow cornmeal and Meyer lemon zest. What are Meyer lemons and how do they differ from regular ole lemons? Meyers are less acidic and thus sweeter, they have a deep yellow orange color- plus they’re hyper seasonal so ya can’t find ’em all year long.
Just like lemons, Meyers contain high levels of immunity-boosting vitamin C and antioxidants to help protect against cancer and lower heart disease risk. Double win.
The deliciously rich filling of this baby is loaded with nutrient-dense asparagus. This veg contains the amino acid asparagine, a natural diuretic which helps the body naturally flush excess salt and water to prevent urinary tract infections and beat bloat. Morel mushrooms also make an appearance in this quiche, and for very good reason. This fancy fungus not only tastes delectably savory and smooth, but contains high levels of iron, copper, vitamin D, and vitamin B.
Through foods that we have attached memories to comes a new way to grieve peacefully.
Miss you, Dad.
Here’s to grief and quiche.

Asparagus & Morel Quiche with Cornmeal Meyer Lemon Crust

Makes: 6-8 servings

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (can also use whole wheat or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal (don’t buy the super gritty sh*t)
  • 1 1/1 teaspoons sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, sliced into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
  • 3-4 tablespoons ice cold water, maybe more (I simply dropped a couple ice cubes into a bowl of cold water and waited a minute or two)

For the filling:

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 lb sliced morel mushrooms (about 7 large mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup sliced asparagus
  • 1 stalk green garlic or 2 scallions, sliced
  • Juice from 1/2 Meyer lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 chopped red jalapeño or if you no likey the spicy, red bell pepper
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk or regular dairy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan (optional)
  1. First, make that crust! Preheat your oven to 374 degrees F. Grab your food processor and whirl together the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Drop in the small cubes of butter and lemon zest and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal.
  2. Pour in 3 tablespoons of the ice water and keep hitting the pulse button until a smooth dough starts to come together. Add more water, if necessary. You know you’re done when all of the flour disappears and the dough no longer feels sticky. Remove from food processor and press into a skillet (I used my trusty cast iron but chu can use whatevs as long as it’s oven-safe). Poke a couple holes in the crust with a knife and bake for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden brown —> this is called “blind baking”
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Grab a small skillet and heat the olive oil over medium high. Add morel mushrooms and sauté until soft (about 6-7 minutes). When done, place in a large mixing bowl. Add in asparagus, green garlic or scallions, lemon juice, feta, pepper, eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Mix well until thoroughly combined. Pour over the pre-baked crust. Grate fresh Parmesan cheese on top, if desired.
  4. Bake for 27-35 minutes, until center looks *slightly* jiggly. Don’t overbake or you’ll get a filling that has a sponge-like texture. We all know that texture. HARD PASS. So check it after 27-28 minutes as all ovens are unique little snowflakes. Let cool for 10 minutes, slice, and serve it on up.

Mussels with Nasturtium Pesto & White Wine

So I’m cuddled up in bed with my smelly pug, jazz is blasting out of my iPad, and I just popped two NyQuils. You guys- NyQuil is kind of crazy. One minute I’m standing in my kitchen finishing up the dishes and literally six seconds later I’m lying face down on the bathroom floor in a pool of my own drool and regurgitated herbal tea. That stuff is STRONG. I have a cold, not malaria, JEEZUS.

Anyways, nightly rituals, amiright? Just kidding. But it’s day 8 of the cold from hell (that actually makes zero sense but you get what I mean…) and this morning I realized, yes, oh yes, that’s why I’m still feeling absolutely wretched. This has morphed into a full on sinus infection! I haven’t had one in years but tomorrow morning I have a phone appointment with my doctor who, god bless her soul, will hopefully call in some antib’s so this b can get on with her life and head to her BRIDAL SHOWER ON SATURDAY MORNING YIPEEEEEEE.

I  can’t wait to head back to the mountains to celebrate with family.

I had the time of my LIFE last weekend for my bachelorette party. I mean what happens at bachelorette parties stays at dem bachelorette parties but I will say all three days were filled with endless enchanting views of the mountains, the laughter of old friends, too many Moscow Mules, and of course delicious tacos and pizza. It was a weekend for the books…as long as the books are not Bibles. Catch my drift?

In between cleaning every crevice of my house yesterday because hashtag springcleaning, I decided it was time for a recipe that I could have a lot of fun photographing. I know I know, I like to push the envelope when I’m sick and just see how far I can go before the NyQuil hits. Enter: SEAFOOD. Salt Spring Mussels, to be exact.

While walking my overfed dog, I spotted some nasturtiums growing around my property. Their leaves and flowers actually contain mustard oils which give them a bright and peppery, relatively pungent taste. These oils are natural antifungals and antivirals and the plants themselves are surprisingly high in vitamin C making these the absolute perfect food for me as I impatiently await a heavy dose of antibiotics. The contrasting flavors lend themselves beautifully to the richness of cheese and nuts so I figured why not make a zesty spring pesto?

Damn. I LOVE food. It nourishes, heals, and inspires. I had a ton of fun shooting (and subsequently devouring) this dish. I really hope you enjoy. Aaaaaaaaand, NyQuil is just starting to kick in. Buenas noches, beautifuls. Sending you happiness, health, and bowls of green mussels.

Mussels with Nasturtium Pesto & White Wine

Makes: 4 servings

For the pesto:

  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups packed nasturtium leaves, stems removed and rinsed
  • 1 cup packed nasturtium blossoms, rinsed (can sub in more leaves if you want instead)
  • 1 1/4 cups pine nuts
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the mussels:

  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 lbs fresh mussels, scrubbed clean and debearded*
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. For the pesto, simply blend all the pesto ingredients together. At first I used my food processor, but it was a little too chunky. I threw it in my high-speed blender and voila— ultra creamy, bright green perfection. Play with your kitchen tools to see what yields you the perfect pesto. Taste and see if it needs more lemon, salt, or oil. Scoop into a jar and set aside.
  2. For the rest, bring that 1 cup of white wine to a gentle boil in a large pot. I’m not exactly telling you to drink the rest but a dry white wine pairs veeeeeery nicely with seafood JUST SAYING.
  3. Add mussels, cover, and let cook until each mussel is open (about 4-5 minutes). Remove from heat and add a couple sprinkles of freshly ground black pepper. Remove mussels from pot.
  4. Whisk in 1/2 cup of pesto to the white wine and serve mussels over the green liquid. Save the rest of the pesto for fish, veggies, pizza, etc. Pesto will keep up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator.

*Some mussels come with a little ‘beard’ attached. For these guys, it’s always No Shave November- and we’ve gotta tear them out. Grab the thin brown threads and gently yank them to one side until they pop out. If any mussels are open before cooking them, tap them gently against the counter and if they don’t close up in a few minutes, discard.

Ginger Turmeric Eggplant Curry

Yesterday morning, with no alarm clock set anywhere in sight, my eyes fluttered open and I peacefully awakened at 9:00. Okay, not really. Someone from work called me at 8am and but I didn’t actually physically roll out of my bed until about 9:15 in the morning. Burrito Lover and I looked at our calendars and it dawned upon us that on this very, very sacred Sunday, we had absolutely nothing planned. 

Nothing to do for work. Nothing to do for the wedding. No errands to run or appointments to jet off to.

Feeling some sort of bizarre pull to immediately jam-pack the day’s schedule with everything I ever need to do in the next 68 years, I decided to instead just take the day off.

Actually off.

I admit, I did have to make a couple phone calls for work but otherwise the day was spent languidly shopping at the farmers market for flowers and…um…eggplants, looking at apartments in Jack London Square (yes, we are moving again soon…-eek!) and cooking up this amazing pot of golden coconut curry.

Did you know turmeric, which is part of the ginger family, contains a compound called curcumin that has extremely powerful anti-inflammatory effects? AND, didja know that when combined with black pepper, turmeric’s effects are enhanced by up to 2,000%?!

So if ya don’t know…now ya know. And this pot of curry has BOTH.

Eggplant and potatoes go for a swim in a thick, flavorful, earthy broth and get brightened up with fresh tomatoes, coriander, and warming cardamom. The ginger in this dish really dazzles when it simmers with the garlic and spices, contributing to an exotic but comforting dish you won’t be able to leave alone for too long. Bring this over to a dinner party or make it on a chilly weeknight- it all comes together in under 40 minutes from start to finish.

Digging into a bowl of this on a frigid windy night while watching an especially powerful 90th anniversary Oscars was the absolute best way to spend a Sunday off. Cheers to more of these…like, every Sunday from now on, yes?

HA.

YEAH RIGHT.

Ginger Turmeric Eggplant Curry

Makes: 6 servings

  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1 large eggplant, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2” piece ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 5 baby dutch yellow potatoes, diced
  • 2, 13 oz cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup chopped lacinato kale
  • 4 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • Chives, minced (for garnish)
  • Cilantro leaves (for garnish)
  1. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F and toss eggplant in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Roast until semi-tender (about 15 minutes)
  2. While the eggplant is roasting, heat remaining 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in a pot over medium high. Add garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, curry powder, cardamom, coriander, black pepper, and red pepper chili flakes. Cook until onions are tender and aromatics begin to release their fragrance (about 5 minutes)
  3. Add tomatoes, potatoes, and coconut milk to the pot and stir. Add in roasted eggplant (when done) and cook over medium, covered, for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender.
  4. Uncover the pot and stir in kale and mushrooms. Add salt to taste and if needed, more black pepper. Remove from heat, garnish with chives and cilantro, and serve. This is delish served over coconut rice, quinoa, or egg noodles.