Monday, May 24, 2010

Nasturtium Risotto - David Kinch on The Martha Stewart Show

Good thing I remembered to record Martha Stewart's show today because my fave chef was her guest, David Kinch of Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos, also winner of the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chefs in America - Pacific (congratulations).

Cynthia Sandberg of Love Apple Farm (where Chef Kinch gets all of his fruits, vegetables and herbs) was also there to educate about biodynamic farming. 

On the show Chef Kinch showed Martha how to cook a NASTURTIUM RISOTTO - how cool is that? I've used the edible nasturtium flowers from my garden to beautify my summer salads, but I had no idea that the leaves can be delicious enough to eat. He used to leaves to make a "pesto" which was the finishing touch for the nasturtium risotto. It looked amazing and I can't wait to try it.

If you can find a repeat episode of today's The Martha Stewart Show (click to see a video preview), check it out. If you've got plenty of nasturtiums growing already, here's the recipe.


Serves 6
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced, white and light-green parts only
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 cups Nasturtium Bouillon, heated
  • 3/4 cup Nasturtium Butter
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Nasturtium Pesto, for garnish
  • Fresh chervil sprigs, for garnish
  • Nasturtium flowers, petals, or buds, for garnish


  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until grains are opaque, start to sizzle, and stick together, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, until liquid is completely absorbed, about 30 seconds. Season with salt.
  2. Reduce heat to low and add enough bouillon to cover rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup bouillon and continue cooking and stirring, until liquid has been absorbed. Continue cooking and adding bouillon, 1/2 cup at a time, until rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.

  3. Stir in butter and remove from heat. Fold in cheese and season with salt. Serve garnished with nasturtium pesto, chervil, and flowers.
Photo and Recipe from the web site of The Martha Stewart Show, May 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chocolate and zucchini cake

The organic zucchini I purchased the other day stared at me every time I opened the fridge. My intention was to grill it with some fish but because of the cold and rainy weather, I was craving something that would comfort me... like one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes. Yeah!

As you can imagine, zucchini doesn't really have that much flavor (unless it's enhanced with salt, olive oil & perhaps a little garlic), so in a way, the zucchini in this cake recipe only serves to add a little texture and moist carb (in lieu of more flour). Plus it's healthier - it has greens/vitamins and fiber. The chocolate (and coffee in the recipe) pretty much overwhelms the true zucchini flavor. So what's the point? It makes feel like I'm eating a healthier cake... that's enough to justify baking it. Yeah!

I've baked this cake many times before and I've modified the recipe to make it a little more "healthy", but the original recipe is based on this recipe by one of my favorite food bloggers, Clotilde Desoulier.

The modifications I've made are:
- I use all whole wheat flour
- I add 1 cup more zucchini than the recipe calls for to make it more moist (compensate for the dry whole wheat flour)
- I decrease the sugar by almost half
- I use 60% chocolate chips (Ghirardelli)
- I add raw walnuts

In this last batch:
- I substituted half of the butter for greek yogurt (+ 1 TB)
- I added 2 TBS brewed espresso (+ the instant coffee granules) for a little more flavor intensity

Getty ready to bake Chocolate Zucchini cakeI appreciate that the recipe allows me to use up zucchini when I have a big harvest in the garden. Also that it's easy and doesn't have too many ingredients.

The only thing I wonder is how many slices of cake equals one serving of vegetables?  :-)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Top 10 FEEL-GOOD foods -

I just found an article that I had saved from the January issue of Sunset magazine - the top 10 feel-good foods are:

1. Fresh sardines
2. Blue corn
3. Artisanal tofu
4. Hazelnut butter
5. Chioggia beets
6. American kiwi
7. Sea vegetables
8. Quinoa
9. Bison
10. Scarlet runner beans

Luckily the article and the beautiful photos can also be found online so you can get the full story here: Top 10 healthy foods on

Photo by Thomas J. Story