Sunday, May 31, 2009

Less is More - Rosemary and White Peach Friands - Weekend Herb Blogging #185

Rosemary & White Peach Friand
See those teeny, tiny flecks of green? Don't be fooled - rosemary's
culinary power is anything but innocent and understated.

Rosemary 2
A slim and delicate relative of mighty, muscular pines, this comely
herb is suffused with medicinal and mystical properties that are
best handled with the lightest touch in and out of the kitchen.

Rosemary and White Peach Friands* - Another adaptation from Patricia Wells' recipe for Hazelnut Financiers from her Bistro Cooking, page 230, and online here


1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup ground almonds (also known as almond flour or meal; almond paste and marzipan are different products)
1/2 cup cake flour
2 level tablespoons of very finely minced fresh rosemary needles or 1 level tablespoons dried needles, slightly crushed with a mortar and pestle
6 large unbeaten egg whites
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled in a small saucepan
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped peaches or other stone or berry fruit. (I used bits of white peach from homemade freezer jam that I just thawed out from last summer.)
1/3 cup almonds, slivered or chopped


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Sift powdered sugar, almonds and flour into a large bowl. Add rosemary and whisk to combine. Pour in egg whites, beating with the whisk or a large spoon until they are well mixed. The batter will be wetter than you'd expect, moderately thick and slightly elastic. Pour in melted butter and stir until smoothly blended without any butter separating from the batter. Stir in vanilla extract.

Fill the well-greased depressions of a regular-sized muffin plaque (financier, barquette, madeleine or mini muffin sizes also work) almost to the rim with batter. Place on center oven rack to bake for 7 minutes. Carefully remove hot tin from oven and set on a heat-proof surface. Divide and arrange fruit and almonds on top of each friand, slightly pressing the toppings into the partially unset centers. Return plaque to oven. Reduce heat to 400 degrees F and continue baking another 7 minutes. Turn off heat to let them set in cooling oven for a final 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and lift cakes out as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Place them on a rack to complete cooling. Makes 12, or more if using the smaller aforementioned tins. Store in a tightly sealed tin or plastic container. --
* Friands are nearly indistinguishable from French financiers, the small, ultra-rich, moist and dense ground nut and butter cakes with their burnished, chewy crusts. They are wildly popular in the U.K. and Australia, often enhanced with fruit, and baked in oval muffin-like tins. I have yet to find this shape anywhere in the U.S. (despite several good sources for professional bakeware), and have used our typical round ones instead.

This recipe is for Weekend Herb Blogging #185, hosted by yours truly on behalf of Haalo of Cook Almost Anything at Least Once, mistress of ceremonies for the long-running weekly food event that was created over three years ago by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen.

The round-up will be online tomorrow, June 1, New York time. Do stop back for a taste of everything. I welcome late arrivals should some posts come to me after the deadline. Thanks always for your wonderful recipes!

Been There, Done That ~

Hazelnut Financiers
Yellow Raspberry & Rosemary Crisp
White Peach Crumb Top Pie

Other People's Eats ~
Banana Cinnamon Friands
Rosemary & Olive Oil Crackers
Easy Rosemary Focaccia

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Weekend Herb Blogging, the long-running and popular weekly food blogging event created over three years ago by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, and now officiated by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything at Least Once, is again stopping at The Well-Seasoned Cook. It will be my fifth turn as hostess since I began food blogging over two years ago. WHB is a great place for the novice food blogger to cut her/his teeth on the ins and outs of online food events, as well as a comfortable place to break bread with familiar faces in the community. WHB was the very first event I participated in and remains among my favorites.

Since its early days, WHB has undergone various fine tunings. For those new to WHB or old friends returning to the table, the current requirements can be found here in full. With the broad choice of any fruit, vegetable, herb, edible plant and flower, it's nearly impossible to pick just one. I think I've narrowed it down to rosemary, myself. What will you come up with?


The round-up will be posted Monday, June 1, New York time. I look very forward to your creative and tempting recipes. Thank you in advance! Happy cooking, baking and cocktail shaking!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Burnt-Out Offering - Black Bean, Tomatillo and Green Olive Salsa

Black Bean, Tomatillo and Green Olive Salsa

When does "soon" become "later," and "later" become "whenever," and "whenever" become the dreaded "never"?

Have you ever suffered from the dual bains of boredom and procrastination, where nothing excites your fancy and nearly everything feels a chore? I would have thought it was just me, except for the recent confessions of Sra and Cynthia, and the resonating comments each of their posts provoked. Apparently, there is something in the water.

After a lovely and desperately necessary spring break away from blogging, and with the best intentions to charge forward with renewed vigor earlier this month, I have found myself living almost exclusively in my head as far as blog posting is concerned: pondering ideas, developing recipes and envisioning photo compositions, but hardly executing any edibles worth a nibble, let alone writing about and presenting them as the best I can offer. Once I finally got cracking in the kitchen, a string of absurdly comical, almost cosmic, failures threatened to distance me further from that "slew of recipes" I had alluded to in an earlier post.

The only saving grace was a ravishingly salty and sassy jolt of fresh salsa, so good that I scarfed it down before I could artistically arrange it in a bowl. So very good, in fact, that I made it a second time, and, again, scarfed it down before I could get it into that bloody bowl. It is said by fairies, elves and other supernatural types that the third time is the charm. Well, it's true, and it had better be; that something in the water was beginning to taste suspiciously of Kool-Aid.

Black Beans
Black Turtle Beans


Black Bean, Tomatillo and Green Olive Salsa – My own recipe

[While I like a moderately smoky fire-roasted flavor, you might prefer to char all the tomatillos, or forgo the process entirely. It is a matter of individual taste.]


1 ½ pounds tomatillos

1 cup water or unsalted vegetable stock
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3-5 serrano peppers, depending on your heat tolerance (you can substitute with jalapeños)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped; and a few whole leaves to garnish
2 cups cooked, drained and rinsed black beans
¾ cup sliced Manzanilla olives, with or without pimento stuffing
Additional salt or brine from olive jar to taste (optional)


Husk and rinse tomatillos under warm water, gently rubbing off their sticky residue with a paper towel. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut out the stem ends and discard them. With long-handled tongs, hold half the tomatillos, one at a time, over a stove burner flame to char the skin, turning them frequently until they are blistered and begin to collapse. [A well-ventilated kitchen will prevent setting off your smoke alarm.] Cut all the tomatillos into quarters and add to water or vegetable stock in a large saucepan. Bring contents to boil, then lower heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatillos are soft but still holding some shape. The mixture will be very watery. Leave to cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Over low heat, warm the oil in a skillet, then add the onion and garlic, stirring frequently to brown evenly. Do not let the onions become very soft; you want to retain some crunchiness. Remove from skillet onto separate holding dish. Stem and slice the peppers. You can use them raw or shrink and blister the slices briefly in the skillet. I find raw peppers are much hotter on the tongue.

Pour tomatillos and their liquid into a blender or food processor, pulsing a few times to unify the texture without turning it into purée; leave it somewhat chunky. Pour into a large bowl, then add all remaining ingredients, stirring gently to mix without breaking the beans. The salsa will appear too runny for dipping chips into. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop. During this time, the starch from the beans will thicken the excess liquid. Stir gently. Taste for salt, adding it incrementally from the shaker or as small spoonfuls of olive brine. Stir again and garnish with whole cilantro leaves. Serve with tortilla chips, corn bread or corn sticks. Better second or even third day, if you can keep away from it that long.

Makes about 5 cups.

Black Bean, Tomatillo and Green Olive Salsa


This recipe is for Lori Lynn of Taste with the Eyes, hosting the current My Legume Love Affair - Eleventh Helping. Lori Lynn will be delighted to receive your bean-boasting recipes and enter you in a random drawing for a charming cookbook prize*.

Been There, Done That ~
Salsa Verde
Olive and Pomegranate Relish

On a separate note, Astra of Food for Laughter was kind enough to honor me with an award.

Thanks, dear Astra! There are many bloggers whose work I admire and enjoy for a number of reasons, too many to count. A few quickly come to mind, but cannot be considered a comprehensive list. No one is obligated to take up the tag; let your time, energy and interest guide you. Here's to Soma, Gabe and Lyndsey, Venus, Ramki, and Christine. I will acknowledge more awards and memes in coming posts. Thanks so much for the continued kudos.

* Bears Repeating: I do not receive free nor discounted goods/services from any enterprise. All prizes offered are at my personal expense without commercial influence. Any references to products, brands or retailers, whether to further a story line or direct a reader to additional information, are made at my independent discretion.