Louisa Shafia is a talented and inspired cook. I’ve been excited about the brilliant recipes in her first book, Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life ever since I first held a copy in my hands a few months back. I identify strongly with Louisa’s healthy, green, and super seasonal approach to cooking, and I really love this book.

lucid-foodNamed after her environmentally friendly catering company, Lucid Food contains 80 recipes (with 40 full-color photos) and was nominated for an IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Cookbook Award this year in the Health and Special Diet category.

Some of the recipes I’ve personally bookmarked include the Lemony Gold Beet Barley Risotto (p. 93), the Stinging Nettle Pesto with Seared Scallops (p.115), the Fava Beans and Seared Zucchini with Garlicky Croutons (p. 123), the Miso-Glazed Striped Bass with Shiso Cucumber Salad (p.135), and the Grilled Apricots with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar (p. 151). I could go on and on, actually, because every single recipe is tremendously appealing to me!

When I connected with Louisa on twitter, she was incredibly sweet and agreed to send me a signed copy of the book to give away on my blog. Yay!

So just like with cookbook giveaways in the past, this week I’ll be featuring some recipes from the book, and I’ll be giving my readers a chance to win a signed copy.

The first recipe I’d like to share makes a wonderful breakfast or dessert and features a lovely spiced rhubarb sauce over rich Greek-style yogurt with pistachios…an awesome combination!

thick yogurt with rhubarb sauce

According to Louisa, you should “use a light-colored honey that won’t dull the rhubarb’s bright hue, and if you are using regular yogurt, start this recipe the night before so that it can strain overnight”. I could have used a lighter honey because my rhubarb sauce did come out a little darker than the photo in the book (this is the cover recipe), but I think it’s still beautiful.

Rhubarb and Pistachios over Thick Yogurt
Serves 4

Ingredients:

*4 stalks rhubarb, ends and leaves trimmed
*1/2 teaspoon cardamom
*1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*Pinch of salt
*1/2 cup light-colored honey
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1 teaspoon rose water
*2 cups Greek-style yogurt, or 4 cups regular yogurt, drained overnight (see Note)
*1/2 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped

Preparation:

1. Cut the rhubarb into 1-inch pieces and place in a small saucepan with 1/4 cup water. Cover and bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. When the rhubarb starts to soften, after about 5 minutes, stir in the cardamom, nutmeg, and salt. Break up any large pieces of rhubarb with a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer, covered, until the rhubarb is completely softened, about 4 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey and vanilla extract. Let cool.

2. Just before serving, stir the rose water into the rhubarb. Place 1/2 cup of yogurt in each bowl and top with a few tablespoons of the rhubarb. Scatter a few tablespoons of pistachios over the top.

Note: If you’re draining yogurt, you’ll need to start the night before you serve it. To convert 1 cup of regular yogurt to 1/2 cup of thick Greek-style yogurt, set a a strainer over a bowl and line it with a clean, lint-free dish towel or a coffee filter and pour in 1 cup of yogurt. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, discard the liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl. Scrape the thickened yogurt from the strainer into a serving bowl(s).

yogurtrhubarbtop


If you like the sound of this book (and why wouldn’t you?), here’s how you enter the giveaway:

1. Leave a comment on this post (or on the other related post(s)) from now until Wednesday July 6th at midnight.

2. For an extra entry, follow me on twitter and then leave me a comment telling me you did so. If you already follow me on twitter, let me know in the comments section.

3. For a third entry, you can “like” Healthy Green Kitchen on facebook. If you already do, just leave a comment letting me know.

So that’s it. Up to three entries for each person and I’ll choose a winner at random next Friday morning. US readers only, please. Good luck!

Saying Goodbye (and Hello)

I am honored to be the “guest-poster” over at Words to Eat By today. Please head over to Debbie Koenig’s wonderful blog to see my recipe for a great Summer Tortellini Salad.

It’s been a bit of a rough week for me so far.

Yesterday morning, I had to put my eldest, dearest kitty Gabbie to sleep.

gabsbeauty

She was 12, and was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor behind her tongue about a month ago. Even though I miss her terribly, I am grateful that her passing did not happen suddenly, and that I had the last few weeks to spend extra time with her and say goodbye.

Gabbie was one of a kind…she was the ultimate sweetheart and lap cat. We had her before we had our kids, moved cross country with her and lived in six different homes together. We shared countless special times with her.

I always have lots of pets, so I have experienced this type of loss many times. Still, it really does not get any easier for me.

The tradition in our family, though, is to honor the animal who has passed by adopting another soon after. This seems to help us all (especially my kids) to deal with the sadness. So we brought home a little kitten from a local shelter yesterday…

kitten4

…he’s ridiculously cute, don’t you think?

kitten1

In the short time I’ve known him, he already seems to have a wonderful personality- he wants to be wherever we are and is affectionate, curious and playful. But here’s the thing: he doesn’t have a name yet! I can’t call him “little guy” forever. Do you have any ideas for what we should call him?

kitten2

I’ve blogged about macarons before. Though my initial attempt was not really a success, I’ve had much better luck since. Once you get the hang of the technique, they’re really a joy to make, and not all that difficult. Really.

strawberry macaron

Most macarons are made with ground almonds/almond flour, but since I recently found hazelnut flour (Bob’s Red Mill brand), I used it instead. If you can’t find hazelnut flour, though, you can certainly use almond flour in this recipe.

These macarons are really light and airy- I believe it’s because they have a high proportion of egg whites, but I can’t say for sure. Many macaron recipes, like this excellent one, are written with the measurements by weight. I do believe weight measurements are more accurate, but the recipe you see below worked very well for me, and that’s why I’m sharing it with you.

As with all macarons, the filling possibilities are truly endless. These happen to be terrific with homemade nutella

homemade nutella macaron

…but I really like them filled with jam, too. The macarons you see here are filled with a wonderful strawberry jam I made recently, and here’s how I made it: I combined 4 cups organic strawberries (mine were homegrown) with 1 cup organic sugar, 1 handful of lemon balm from my garden (chopped) and the seeds from 1 vanilla bean. I cooked everything over low heat on the stove for about an hour, stirring every now and then. After an hour, the jam was bright red and thick. I cooled it and then spooned it into a pint jar, where it thickened more in the refrigerator. Like the spicy strawberry jam, this one isn’t meant to be canned, but it keeps in the refrigerator for at least a few weeks.

If you have no macaron-making experience, please keep the following tips in mind:

1. It’s very important to use “aged” egg whites. I leave mine in a covered container at room temperature for at least 24 hours before making macarons.

2. You must allow your piped macarons time to “dry out” before you bake them. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. They will feel completely dry to the touch when they’re ready…don’t rush it.

3. I bake my macarons on a siplat lined cookie sheet, and I always put the cookie sheet on top of another one. This silpat ensures that the macarons are easy to remove, and doubling up on the cookie sheets helps so the bottoms don’t darken very much (or worse, burn).

Hazelnut Macarons
adapted from The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle by Kate Zuckerman
Yield: about 30 small cookies

Ingredients:
*1 cup hazelnut flour
*1 cup organic powdered sugar
*1/2 cup aged egg whites (see above)
*1 tablespoon organic granulated sugar

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Combine the powdered sugar and hazelnut flour in a blender and process just until thoroughly mixed and “powdery”.

2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks.

3. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.

4. Sift a third of the hazelnut flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. Sift in the remaining hazelnut flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.

5. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip. You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.

6. Pipe out small mounds about 1 1/4 inch in diameter. They’ll spread a bit so don’t pipe them too close together. Allow them to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to dry out the tops.

7. Bake the macarons for 10-12 minutes, until puffed and lightly colored. If they don’t seem completely cooked, you can turn off the oven and let them sit for a little while longer.

8. Cool on a rack before filling (this is not necessary if you’ve left them in the oven with the temperature off).

hazelnut macarons