Super Easy Risotto Cakes for Now or Later

IMG_1966First of all, please get your hands on some good asparagus and make this risotto recipe (minus the artichoke). With the leftovers, you can make yourself some super easy risotto cakes to be eaten now or later. This dish really is a freezer miracle – take the cakes right from the freezer and pop into the oven for a little bit. Voila. You’ve got an instant fancy looking and quick meal.

Risotto Cakes

leftover risotto, any amount
about 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
olive oil

  1. After making risotto, refrigerate the leftovers overnight.
  2. Prepare. Pour panko out on a plate. Set 3 tablespoons oil to heat over medium in a large, flat skillet.
  3. With wet hands shape the cold risotto into tightly packed balls. A three-inch diameter ball will make a meal. A two-inch ball will make a nice appetizer size.IMG_1963
  4. Flatten each ball onto the panko, flip over, and flatten a little more. You’ll need to tend the edges by pushing towards the center a little bit.
  5. Sprinkle a couple of crumbs in the oil and, when they sizzle, the oil is ready. Place the cakes in the heated oil. Sizzle about five minutes per side or until nicely brown.
  6. Add more oil to the pan and repeat until all your cakes are cooked.

If you intend to freeze these, undercook them slightly. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze. After about an hour, you can move them to a bag or container.

For a quick meal from the freezer, bake at 425F for about 25 minutes (or until nicely browned)

Serve over dressed salad (with a little Hitchcock sausage on the side, as pictured.)

Simple Fresh Mint Ice Cream

mint chip ice cream recipeIt’s birthday season here again. This year, we made an ice cream cake suitably topped with penguins and other critters from Antarctica. Sandwiched in the middle was homemade mint ice cream, adding just a little bit of fresh zing to the chocolate cake. Picked from your garden, fresh mint is a lovely addition to your favorite vanilla ice cream recipe. Here’s mine!

Fresh Mint Ice Creambruise mint

Makes 1 quart

1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 c. sugar
pinch of kosher salt
2 sprigs of fresh mint
1 vanilla bean, split
optional: 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

  1. Pick two sprigs of mint, each about six inches long. Rinse and pat dry. With a mortar and pestle (or back of spoon), bruise your mint leaves.
  2. In a medium pot, combine all of the ingredients. Heat over medium, whisking often.
  3. Just as it begins to bubble, take the pot off the heat.
  4. Carefully remove vanilla bean with tongs and scrape with the back of a spoon. Add scrapings and pod back to milk mixture.
  5. Cool the mixture by adding it to a bowl set over ice. When chilled, set it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
  6. Before adding to your ice cream maker, remove vanilla bean and mint sprigs. Process. If using, add chocolate chips.
  7. Return to freezer.

Kale and Chickpea Soup

And now, because it’s the last week before the market opens and possibilities will soon abound, let’s have just one more go around with…kale!

This soup is lightly adapted from Franny’s Simple Seasonal Italian, a book that followed me home from Powell’s and appeared to have many solid Italian selections that align with our available veggies. (A friend who locally haunts the restaurant has confirmed that the restaurant is indeed a winner.) Easy and frugal, this soup is one of those magical recipes that makes something wonderful out of not much. I love that you use the chickpea water instead of stock, and I think the technique of using the food processor is a really unique way to change the texture of the kale in a soup. I’m dreaming of future pizza potlucks with this soup on the side.


Ckale chickpea souphickpea and Kale Soup

about 8 hearty bowls

2 cups dried chickpeas

1 carrot, peeled and quartered
1 stalk of celery, quartered
1 onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
5 strips of lemon peel
1 sprig of rosemary
3 sprigs of thyme
1 tbls. kosher salt
1 cup of olive oil

3 tbls. olive oil
4 additional garlic cloves
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 large bunches of kale

  1. The night before you want to make the soup (or 8 hours ahead of time), soak chickpeas in a large bowl full of water.
  2. herb sachetUsing an empty tea bag or a scrap of cheesecloth, create a secure bundle that contains the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, lemon peel, and herbs.
  3. Add the bundle, soaked chickpeas, 3 1/2 quarts of water, salt, and 1 cup of oil to your soup pot. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce to low and simmer for about 1 hour. (Taste a chickpea to test that it’s done.)
  4. Near the end of the hour, prepare your kale. Remove ribs and coarsely chop.
  5. In a medium skillet, heat 3 tbls. olive oil over medium-low. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and stir once. Add kale. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  6. When the chickpeas are done, add the kale garlic mixture, 2 cups of the chickpeas, and 1 cup of the cooking liquid to the food processor. Pulse until the chickpeas are smooth and the kale looks finely chopped.
  7. Add this puree back into your soup. Season with salt and pepper, and heat until hot.
  8. If you like, finish each bowl with a little lemon juice, olive oil, and/or Parmesan.


  • Reheats well!
  • The first time I made this soup, the kale I used had a purple tint to it and resulted in the interesting coloring that you see in the photo.

Breakfast Custards

IMG_0874Don’t we live in a beautiful place? We feel particularly grateful lately. The sun is out, the plum tree is in bloom, and the chickens are finally laying! We’re flush with eggs! Here we suddenly find ourselves in the sweet season of plenty. (We’re helped this time, by circumstances – our Heyday Egg subscription has overlapped with this onset of eggs from our own chickens.) Custards, puddings, pasta, and yes, even brioche have been happening in our kitchen lately.

Here’s a recipe that’s one of our favorites. Served to a neighbor recently, she labeled it “fancy,” but really it’s extremely simple. This custard is quick to make up, allows you enough time to shower while it’s baking in the oven, and, in our household, is child approved 100% of the time. We began with the recipe in The Breakfast Book and adapted it to our own taste. Hope that you enjoy it too! Here’s wishing you many eggs and a happy spring time!

Breakfast Custard

For four

1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. cream
4 eggs
2 tbls. maple syrup
dash of salt
unsalted butter, room temperature (for preparing ramekins)

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare four 1/2 c. ramekins by buttering the insides generously with your fingers. Set a tea pot of water on to boil.
  2. In a large measuring cup, whisk milk, cream, eggs, maple syrup, and salt together. (Or, alternatively, pulse with the immersion blender a few times.)
  3. Pour egg mixture into the buttered ramekins. Place ramekins in a 9 x 9 glass pan.
  4. Fill pan with boiling water until it reaches halfway up the ramekins.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Serve in ramekin or unmolded onto plate.

first blue eggNotes:

  • This recipe easily reduces for two eaters (or even one.)
  • Adjust maple to your own taste. Maybe you like it sweeter?
  • Want to try a savory custard? (It’s a great way to sneak veggies past a sneaky eater, but you didn’t hear that from me.)
  • Of course, this is much better with a little Hitchcock bacon sprinkled on top.

Pork, Pears, and Gifts from the Freezer

It’s the end of February and so when dinner time rolls around, it’s more of a question of finding out what is stashed in the freezer rather than the vegetable drawer. Here’s a delicious dinner composed mostly of gifts from our freezer and those Booth Canyon pears.

At one of the last farmers’ markets of the season, Tani Creek had a glorious pile of ginger for sale.ginger On their advice, I bought a lot and tossed it in a freezer bag. This has worked out well. Throughout these dark months, I’ve been breaking off small pieces to give an extra kick to my meals. We’re also once again grateful to have a deep freeze full of pork thanks to our friends at Dropstone Farms (former islanders who moved out yonder to Orting but still make deliveries to Bainbridge.) Pork is back on the menu! Meatballs with ground pork and stuffed chops are some of our winter favorites.

The last gift from the freezer to complete this meal, are the green beans from our very own garden. When we eat them, I can remember the summer sunshine beating down on the soil while I watered. Good times.

One Skillet Pork and Pearsfresh pear

serves 2, easily doubled for 4

2 pork chops
olive oil, salt, pepper
1/2 onion
1 pear
1 1/2 tbls. apple cider vinegar
1 tbls. sugar
1/3 c. white wine
1/2 c. chicken or vegetable stock
about an inch of fresh ginger
slurry: 1 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp. water

  1. Prepare. Salt and pepper both sides of pork chops. Slice onion thinly. Peel ginger and leave in a hunk. Slice pear thinly. Measure out stock and add slurry to it. Set all of these things aside until needed.
  2. Heat pan. Heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Drizzle in a little olive oil. Saute onion for about 4 minutes, then remove onion from skillet.
  3. Sear porkchops, browning each side for about 3 minutes. Remove pork from skillet.
  4. Add sugar and vinegar to the skillet. Whisk briefly until it darkens and then immediately add wine.
  5. Back to the skillet, add pork, onions, knob of peeled ginger, and pears. Pour stock and slurry over. Stir. Cover with from the freezer
  6. Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 10 minutes.


  • Holds well on low, covered, until ready to be served.
  • Don’t forget to remove the ginger knob before serving!
  • If you’re going to freeze fresh ginger next time it’s available, I’d suggest breaking it up into small pieces before freezing. It is doable to chop it off with your chef’s knife, but it would be easier of course to do it when fresh.

Small and Sweet Chocolate Cookies

Let’s take a break from kale, and potatoes, and winter, shall we? Happy Valentine’s Day.

February sky

Here’s a cookie that I’ve had in my files for years. It’s time you had it too. This recipe was gifted to me by a mom I got to know when teaching her children. She brought them to share one day, impressively round and all perfectly the same size. What a treat. There are a lot of chocolate cookie recipes in this world, but when you bite into a keeper, don’t you know it right away? You’ll find these just the right thing for a deep chocolate craving. I think it’s worth a little extra fuss on the shaping to help them appear as beautiful as they taste. A good cookie for gifting, they even mail well if your valentine is far away.

Small and Sweet Chocolate CookiesSweet and dark chocolate cookies

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2/3 c. high quality unsweetened cocoa
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (or more, if you like)

  1. Set butter and eggs out to come to room temperature. (You need to be able to press the butter with your finger and see some give. Plan ahead, if you live in a chilly house. This could take a few hours.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time.
  4. Add cocoa and mix gently until incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add this to the cocoa and butter mixture. Mix just until combined.small cookie scoop
  6. With a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Using a 1 inch cookie coop, drop balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  With wet hands, reshape each ball slightly by rolling.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes. (If you choose to make a larger, more standard size, bake for 15 minutes.)


  • If you don’t have a cookie scoop, roll 1 inch balls with wet hands and then place on parchment.
  • The cocoa which I used for this recipe was gifted to me and is Callebut cocoa powder, CP-776. We call it the “good” cocoa and use it for special recipes that really feature the cocoa, because it does really make a huge difference. (I’ve also made this recipe many,  many times with our bulk grocery store cocoa. Still delicious!)

Booth Canyon Orchard Delivery to Bainbridge, January 23rd

pearsWinter got you down? Add a little local fruit back into your diet. Booth Canyon Orchard, a certified organic family farm, will be coming to the island on January 23rd. You can pre-order a box or buy fruit by the pound upon arrival. We’ve been absolutely savoring our last box of pears. They keep well tucked into our crisper drawer. Firm and sweet, each pear has brought a little brightness to our breakfasts. They are so delicious that I have not even been tempted to bake with a single one – they’re just too good not to eat raw! If you’re interested in ordering ahead of time, here is the information from Stina:

Hi all you Bainbridge fruit fans,
I am delivering fruit to Bainbridge Island Friday January 23, 2015.  The location will be the same as October, in the north parking lot of the Eagle Harbor Congregational Church/Madrona Waldorf School.  I will be there shorter hours as the days are cold and wet, from 1:30 to 4.   You can purchase fruit by the pound ($3.00/#) or by the box ( $42/box for pears), and I will have samples to try before you buy.  If you can not make the short pick  up time, please call me as I will be visiting family in Winslow for the afternoon, I just don’t want to hang out in the cold all day.  
In January we are featuring our winter storage D’Anjou pears.  These pears are not like the D’Anjou you get at the store.  They are more like a peach in winter; sweet, juicy creamy, fragrant goodness.  A box will keep in a cold place (a north facing porch is good) for 4-6 weeks, while you bring in a few pears at a time to ripen and enjoy.  Each box comes with storage and ripening instructions. Boxes are 22 pounds and cost $42.  . 
To reserve a box of fruit  YOU MUST PRE PAY by sending me a check.    This is the end our pear supply, so please reserve a box if you can, and let me know if you are interested if you can’t commit to reserving.     You can place your order by email, but will need to send a check in the mail for the full amount to:
Booth Canyon Orchardbooth canyon
391 Twisp Carlton Rd
Carlton, WA 98814
Please include a daytime phone where I can reach you if you get busy.  
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call me at 509-997-0063, or email  
I donate a percentage of my sales to Madrona School, so you are supporting the school, as well as a Washington family farm. 
May your winter be peaceful and joyful.
Stina Booth
Booth Canyon Orchard

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