Like many people, I have recently acquired a sourdough starter while in quarantine. I promise it’s not as intimidating as it sounds. If you haven’t started one, Zero Waste Chef has all of the resources for you.
This is an easy way to use up the discard, with a little additional “lift” from commercial yeast. The result is a flavorful, not-too-sour crust that has all of the characteristics of your favorite restaurant deep dish: the shatteringly crisp, nearly fried bottom and caramelized cheese edges with an abundance of air bubbles throughout.
Let’s get to it!
Let me preface this post by admitting this: I am not from the southern United States. According to my Ancestry DNA, I am less than 7 percent Italian. But hey, I have this piece of paper (from a UC-accredited culinary school) hanging up on the wall of my bedroom that says that I am a pretty decent cook. I crave cheesy polenta grits, but sometimes I just don’t have the energy to stand in front of my stove constantly stirring.
I am obsessed with ice cream. Lately I have been really into making my own home made concoctions, because I can get my ice cream fix using quality ingredients…for a fraction of the price.
This recipe is a bit of a sorbet/ice cream hybrid, as it uses almond milk for a bit of creaminess…but it has all the intense, deep flavor of a sorbet. Bonus: it’s lactose-free!
This week something very rare happened: we ran out of sandwich bread. I know, I know, this sounds unbelievable coming from a bread-a-holic. I’ve been busy working on my latest A&E story for the Weekly, and I needed a fairly easy homemade white bread recipe that not only tasted better than store-bought bread, but could be made with my KitchenAid stand mixer with very little hands-on time. I adapted this recipe from Fun Cheap or Free:
Have you ever read a brownie recipe and rolled your eyes upon reading, “Wait one hour before cutting?”
I’m sorry, but when I crave brownies, I want them now. (Cue Veruca Salt voice.)
Generally speaking, muffins cool much faster than brownies, so I decided to make three-bite brownies baked in muffin cups. More specifically, I baked them using a six-cup muffin tin and silicone baking cups.
This is called using whatever you’ve got.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s pretty common to subscribe to some kind of produce delivery service. For us, it’s Imperfect Produce and Farmstead.
Although these delivery services make healthy eating a lot easier, occasionally we wind up with a bit of surplus near the end of the month.
Even if you don’t use one of these delivery services, you’ve got to admit that this is the season when vegetables shine. Corn, green beans and tomatoes are at their peak in the summer. It’s hard not to overdo it and buy too much when the prices on produce are so low.
In my freezer, I had about a cup of veggies on the verge of freezer burn, and a blob of tomato paste leftover from making pasta sauce so I threw those into this dish as well. Why not clean out the fridge and the freezer?
Other great substitutes or add-ins could be celery, cooked beans, sweet potatoes, or again, whatever you have!
Soup isn’t typically the first thing people crave in summer, but just trust me. This recipe walks the line of being light enough for summer and hearty enough to satisfy. It would pair awesomely with a salad, pasta dish or sandwich. Although my version is vegetarian, it could easily be vegan if you skip the sour cream garnish.
Let’s just be honest — this is the easiest (and most cost effective) way to make sure none of that summer veg goes to waste. Extra points if you save the root ends of your carrot, leek, garlic cloves and shallot in the freezer to make a homemade stock later!
I find beauty in all vegetables and fruits. This is why I get excited every Friday morning when I receive my Imperfect Produce box!
America wastes 40% of our food. 20% of America’s produce never makes it off the farm due to small cosmetic imperfections. This is a company I support, because it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Everything tastes just as good as what I find in markets, if not better, and it is equally as nutritious! I have made carrot cake, fajitas, frittatas, sheet pans full of roasted vegetables, stir-fries and numerous other recipes using Imperfect Produce and I can personally vouch: it’s all delicious. Check out their FAQ page if you’d like to find out more.
For the past month, I have been posting photos of my roasted Imperfect vegetables, and decided to share the love: I have decided to post a promo code so that my readers can try a box and receive $10 off!
It’s easy! Just sign up at Imperfect Produce, select which box you’d like to try and customize your box to suit your tastes — my favorite Imperfect items are the carrots and sweet potatoes. They are a fraction of the price I have paid in stores.
At checkout, there will be a box labeled, “Friend’s name.” Input my name as MILKANDMADELEINES and you will be credited $10.
Currently, Imperfect Produce delivers to areas throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Customers can also pick up their produce free of delivery charge from their Emeryville location. Check your zip code to see if they can deliver to your area. Let’s “go ugly!”
This past spring, I took a trip to Napa Valley and experienced the most incredible English muffins from a local bakery in the area. I’m serious about my bread. This English muffin made all other English muffins look silly. The outside was slightly crisp and the inside was fluffy and full of nooks and crannies. It’s all about that texture. If you know me, you know that I love any bread full of nooks and crannies.
Nooks and crannies = little pockets to hold butter!
When I got home, I was inspired to re-create my English muffin experience at home using the same recipe as my no-knead herb slab ciabatta, sans the herbs.
This recipe is just as easy as the ciabatta recipe…and there’s no need to even turn on your oven! I’ll show you how to make your own English muffins, full of nooks and crannies…
Ciabatta is basically the most perfect bread ever. Why? It has a crispy wispy crust, hearty chew and BIG air bubbles.
Why do I love the air bubbles? They are basically pockets to hold butter, mashed avocado spread…or whatever you love to slather onto your bread.
My herb slab ciabatta recipe has all of the characteristics of a great ciabatta loaf, the subtle flavor of rosemary and most importantly…it is SO EASY. There is no kneading required.
Risotto is a Northern Italian rice dish, with a supremely rich, creamy consistency. This dish has a been given a bit of a bad reputation, because it has been deemed the diva of rice dishes. It is notorious for being a “time consuming” or “fussy” recipe to execute. Why?!
Risotto is actually quite easy. It only takes 30 minutes to make, and it doesn’t require any master chef-level kitchen skills outside of the ability to whisk. In fact, the add-ins can be purchased pre-chopped, which makes it even easier. When risotto is done the right way, it is totally worth the whisking time.
It is also a highly customizable dish, which is why it constitutes as a kitchen basic. It’s more of a method than a recipe, due to the versatility. It can be eaten as a side, or as a main meal, depending on what you’ve added to it. It can be the basis of a hearty vegetarian meal, or served on the side of a meaty dish. Risotto can be enjoyed all seasons of the year, because it takes on the flavor of any seasonal produce added to it.
I will be showing you basic step-by-step directions on how I create my own distinctively savory risotto, along with ideas and inspiration for additional add-ins.