Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Spring Vegetable Pasta

I shot these photos for Eat Boutique for this Spring Vegetable Pasta a couple of months back using handmade whole wheat pasta from Sfoglini Specialty Pasta in Brooklyn, NY.  We are quickly approaching summer, which means tomato season will be here soon and this dish is perfect; toss in whatever vegetables you have on hand. Click through to see the recipe, more about the maker and more photos. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Whiskey Ginger

I shot these photos of a Whiskey Ginger recipe with homemade ginger syrup about a month ago for an Irish themed post on Eat Boutique.  You can click on through to see the recipe and more of the photos.  I'm about ready to pour myself one (or three) of these to take the edge off of today's events.

They have been after the second suspect in the Marathon explosions for over 12 hours now and we've been on 'lockdown' here in Boston since early this morning. Eagerly awaiting Dean to get home from work but that won't be for another few hours.  Here's to hoping this will all end soon.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chocolate-Drizzled Oatmeal Shortbread

It's been a long and emotional 72 hours here in Boston. There isn't much to say that hasn't already been said. It's amazing how this city has come together and stayed incredibly strong. I'm not a die hard Boston fan like some of the people here in this city but I have to say that I've felt really proud this week to have called this place my home for the last seven years. Not because of the events that occurred but because of the way the people have reacted.

Monday was a scary day.  It was the first year since 2007 that I wasn't at the marathon cheering my Dad on.  Luckily, he and my aunt were already around the corner celebrating his finish at the Westin Hotel, so they were safe.  But those moments during a tragedy before you get in contact with loved ones and confirm they are okay make your mind go to all the worst scenarios. My heart truly goes out to all the victims and their families and, as so many have said, those are the people we will remember and not the bad guys.

You always feel shaken when events like this happen but it is a much more intense feeling when it happens in the place you call home.  Living and working in the area makes it that much more real and shakes you to the core. By nature I can be a very anxious person and in the last few days the best way I've been able to calm my nerves is to distract myself completely.  This world we live in today with hyper-connectivity allows so much information to be available at the touch of a button.  Twitter, Facebook and all social media outlets have been flooded with information and stories. I've had to make a point of putting my phone down, closing the computer and focusing on other things in order to not be consumed and stay calm this week.

This afternoon I took to the kitchen and chose these cookies to distract my mind for a few hours. The act of following a simple recipe can really put a mind at ease. This recipe is from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook and I followed it exactly making no tweaks.  The dough comes together quickly; it is full of oats and lightly spiced with nutmeg.

The dough gets rolled in to a log and chilled for about an hour.  The cookies then get sliced, baked, drizzled with dark chocolate and flecked with sea salt. I received this lovely package of salt, along with some other pretty salts, from a good friend for my birthday and this was the first time I was able to make good use of them. Make these cookies, give them to loved ones and make sure to hug them a little tighter.

Chocolate-Drizzled Oatmeal Shortbread
from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook

  • 1 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 oz dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao)
  • Flaked sea salt for garnish
  1. In a food processor pulse the oats to create a course flour. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla and egg.
  3. Add the oat flour, all-purpose flour, salt and nutmeg and mix together. The dough will be thick.
  4. Using your hands roll the dough in to a log, approximately 2-3 inches in diameter.
  5. Roll the log up in parchment paper and chill in the fridge 1-2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Slice the log in to 1/2 inch coins and spread them on the baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes until the edges are golden.
  8. Melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cookies.  I did this by placing the melted chocolate in a ziploc bag and cutting the tip of it. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt over the cookies. The chocolate will take about 15-20 minutes to firm up.  Cookies can be stored for up to one week in airtight container.

PS: Follow me on Instagram: @michellekmartin

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Steel Cut Oatmeal & Blueberry Muffins

A few weeks ago I was cleaning off my desktop and going through lots and lots of old photos.  The realization that I primarily shoot everything on a stark white background became very apparent.  When I set out to make these muffins I knew I wanted to try photographing them against a dark backdrop.  I have a big piece of plywood that's been painted with chalkboard paint that I usually use for a semi-dark background (see here).

As these muffins were baking I was shooting a couple of test set ups.  The best setup I found was propping up a poster board and draping a black maxi dress over it (it was the only black cloth I could find in the whole apartment). It ended up working great! I'm super happy with the results and excited to start playing around with dark photos.  I will definitely have to go buy a square of black fabric to use instead though, as I was so nervous the whole time about getting food on my dress (it costs $2 a load to do laundry in our building so I'm not trying to spend $4 in quarters on washing blueberry juice out of my dress)

My brother gave me this cute mini cake stand for Christmas and I have yet to use it so I decided to make muffins.  We also had an abundance of blueberries in our fridge this week. As I was thinking about the muffins I wanted to make I knew I wanted them to be 'healthy' muffins. Something you feel good about eating in the morning for breakfast and that aren't full of sugar.  After reading some articles about sugar being 'toxic' and all the serious health problems it can lead to I've been trying to keep a watchful eye on my intake.  Sugar is literally in everything and trying to reduce my intake has been a challenge, especially since I'm a candy fanatic.  The only added sugar here, besides the sugar contained in the milk and fruit, is the maple syrup and even with the addition of the syrup the muffins only come out with 8g of sugar per muffin.  The oatmeal helps bulk them up and give them a nice chewy texture, the banana makes them moist and the blueberries add that hit of sweet and tart.

Steel Cut Oatmeal & Blueberry Muffins
lightly adapted from Recipes for Health

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (about one banana.  Alternatively, you could use 2 eggs)
  • 1 1/3 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup cooked steel cut oats
  • 1 cup blueberries
  1. Mix whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Mix banana, milk and syrup together.  Add to the dry ingredients. Stir until just mixed.
  3. Fold in cooked oats and blueberries.
  4. Cook for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 12 muffins. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Vintage Recipes: Grapefruit Coconut Cake

Here is the second installment in the vintage recipe series I'm doing for Eat Boutique.  The first recipe was a blueberry buckle inspired by my grandmother's.  This recipe's inspiration came from the fact that we are in the middle of citrus season and I love the pairing of citrus and coconut. And also that I am obsessed with every shade and variation of light pink/grapefruit :)

The original recipe was made from a box mix with many 'fake' additions so I revamped it to make it all from scratch.  The result was a sweet and tart cake, a nice addition to a sunny winter afternoon when you are longing for spring days.  Click on over to Eat Boutique to see the recipe + post!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cinnamon French Toast

I hope everyone is having a lovely Valentine's Day - whichever way you choose to celebrate. I made this Cinnamon French Toast for a Valentine's Day post on Eat Boutique. Click over for more photos and the recipe!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Cherry Puff Pies

Last weekend I finally had a Sunday off so Saturday night we had friends over.  A few friends came from out of town and while texting about our plans for Saturday earlier in the week my one friend, whose family owns a fruit orchard - so she is a fruit guru, suggested we make fancy cocktails.  A few minutes later she sent me a link of a tasty looking gin + cherry combination.  She arrived Saturday night with a homemade sweet and sour cherry syrup and I haven't been able to get cherries off my mind since we enjoyed the cocktail together.

I woke up this morning to an e-mail informing me that work was cancelled due to the fact that up to two feet of snow is currently being dumped on Boston.  We will probably be housebound until Saturday afternoon, so the list of activities to keep busy include: baking, netflix, and painting my nails.  These 'pies' started off with the intent to be mini hand pies.  They are comprised of just a few ingredients - all ones that were on hand.  As they baked I realized I should have folded them in squares to make them more pie like, but they still tasted just as I hoped.

Cherry Puff Pies
makes six 3' round pies

  • 16 oz frozen cherries, unthawed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 package of puff pastry, thawed.
  • 1 egg white + 1 tbsp water for egg wash
  1. In a small bowl combine 1 1/2 tbsp corn starch and 1 1/2 tbsp cold water.
  2. In a sauce pan combine cherries, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice & zest and cinnamon.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until cherry juices are released.  About five minutes.
  3. Add cornstarch to cherry mixture and bring to a boil, stirring often.  Once it boils, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  4. On a lightly floured surface lay your puff pastry out and cut it in to shapes you want.  I cut six circles from each sheet of mine.  (In retrospect I probably would have cut them into rectangles to fold in half.)
  5. Working with one pastry piece at a time lay it on a parchment lined sheet.  Lightly brush edges with egg wash and place 2-3 tbsp of cherry filling in the center.  Lay another pastry piece over and, crimp together with a fork, and brush the top lightly with egg wash.  Repeat with remaining pieces.
  6. Poke holes in the top of each mini pie to allow for venting and bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, until golden brown. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Vintage Recipes: Blueberry Buckle

I stumbled upon this Blueberry Buckle recipe when I was flipping through a vintage cookbook from my grandma.  I updated the recipe a little and making it brought back some childhood recipes.  Click on over to Eat Boutique to see the whole post and the recipe.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lavender Honey Bunches

I awoke this morning to sunshine streaming through the windows directly in to my eyes. I rolled over and pulled the covers over my head and heard the distant sound of birds chirping. As I hit snooze on my alarm for the third time I almost forgot that we are in the dead of winter.  That was until I had to emerge from my nest of pillows and sheets.  My feet hit the floor and it was freezing and I immediately pulled on the two sweaters and fuzzy socks that were sitting at the foot of the bed.

We've had snow, rain, and below freezing temperatures recently. We also had a day and a half of temperatures in the high 50's.  This, in addition to a 48 hour trip to Florida over New Year's, has left me longing for spring days, floral dresses, and more sunshine. So as I was swirling honey in to my tea this morning I decided to make these (and paint my nails a lavender hue) as a homage to spring. I was gifted some lovely lavender on that recent trip to Florida and this recipe looked so simple and good.  Spring, please hurry and allow sunlight to once again warm my skin.

Lavender Honey Bunches
makes about 24; from Purple Haze

  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp dried lavender
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine oats, coconuts and flour in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Bring brown sugar, butter, honey and lavender to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients, stirring to combine. 
  5. Drop dough by spoonful in to greased muffin tins.
  6. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden. Allow to cool in tins for 15 minutes.