Spanish Chilled Tomato Soup aka Salmorejo

Spanish Chilled Tomato Soup aka Salmorejo

Spanish Chilled Tomato Soup aka Salmorejo

Hailing from the South of Spain, the refreshing chilled tomato soup called salmorejo is ideal for warm weather entertaining and the perfect soup to kick off a delicious summer.

Traditionally, salmorejo is garnished with chopped hard boiled egg and Serrano ham. Here, as a nod to salmorejo’s close relative, gazpacho, I keep this version meatless by substituting cucumber spirals for the ham. It is often finished with a drizzle of olive oil, however I jazz it up with cool crema and fiery chili oil. A jammy egg sits on top. Purple garlic blossoms make a pretty addition, hinting at the garlic in the soup.

Salmorejo Recipe

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Cloud Egg Avocado Toast with Wild Arugula

Cloud Egg Avocado Toast with Wild Arugula

Celebrating 10 Years of Taste With The Eyes
with
Cloud Egg Avocado Toast with Wild Arugula

Captured in the image above are many of the signature elements that have made Taste With The Eyes what it is today. In honor of the 10 Year Anniversary, I present this satisfying and sunny Cloud Egg Avocado Toast as a reflection of my site. It is my hope that the dishes continue to delight and inspire you for years to come. Thank you so much for all your support.

EDIBLE FLOWERS: Edible flowers have been a passion of mine for a long time. Taste With The Eyes has a complete section dedicated to edible flowers. Various flowers have their own characteristics, the flavor of the flower absolutely must harmonize with the dish. A few years ago on Pinterest, I saw a stunning chocolate cake adorned with pretty purple flowers, unfortunately, those flowers were society garlic blossoms…you can imagine the fail there.

DINNERWARE: I am admittedly addicted to dinnerware and usually appreciate a simple clean photoshoot with no fussy elaborate props. Here we have just a cup of strong coffee, a little pot of thyme, and one of my million plates or bowls. These white, scalloped-edge dinner plates with raised dots are the newest in my collection.

FIREPLACE HEARTH: Many of the dishes are photographed on my fireplace hearth. It is made of brick and it is old, and is just a few steps from my kitchen. Lots of food photographers hunt for the perfect background…I am so fortunate that mine is built in.

SOMETHING INTERESTING: We love avocado toast but it is everywhere. So I jazzed it up with a cloud egg. Now cloud eggs might be a fad, but they make a really neat presentation. The whites and yolk are separated, then the whites are whipped and baked to a spongy consistency. The yolk is added after 5 minutes, the result – warm and runny.

FROM MY GARDEN: When the arugula plant starts to flower, the leaves become more intense in flavor – so spicy and peppery. Adding arugula flowers (which taste like the leaves but a bit milder) is another neat way to use arugula in the dish.

SOMETHING LOCAL: The toast is from our local artisan Baltic Bakery. Made of rye, wheat, and whole grains…and no sugar. I am not opposed to sugar but I don’t want it in my bread. It is difficult to find an unsweetened bread – be it sugar, molasses, or honey at the supermarket. I am so happy to give a shout-out to this authentic bakery. Locals can purchase this Bavarian Country Style Bread at Darko’s Meat Shop in San Pedro.

PHOTOGRAPHY AND FOOD STYLING: First of all, the dish must be delicious (no matter how pretty the picture) in order for me to share it on Taste With The Eyes. Next, it does have to look good…we taste with the eyes first, after all!

Cloud Egg Avocado Toast with Wild Arugula

FIRST POST: Hundreds of thousands of food images later, here I am. What began on a lark  in 2007 has turned into an absolute passion. Back then when food blogging was relatively new, I came across “the first foodblog I ever read” and thought, hey, I have recipes and restaurant experiences to share too. That is how Taste With The Eyes was born. On June 10, 2007, I created a blog and taught myself how to upload my first photo. It was a picture of our family’s dinner at (my hero) Charlie Trotter’s Kitchen Table (that’s me on the right). I never imagined that my new hobby would “blossom” the way it has over these 10 years!

Charlie Trotter's Kitchen Table

HOW TO MAKE CLOUD EGGS

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Adopt-A-Goat and Charred Goat Cheese Salad

Adopt-A-Goat and Charred Goat Cheese Salad

Charred Goat Cheese Salad
Fennel, Cantaloupe, Cucumber
Smoky Chile Walnuts, Charred Parsley Vinaigrette
Mustard Flowers, Watercress, Mint, Cilantro

I adopted a goat. I named her Miss Chèvre Chaud. She’s a gentle soul who devours mustard plant with wild abandon and is deliriously happy to munch on wild fennel.

For the past several years, hundreds of goats like her have been employed to graze on non-native weeds as part of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy restoration project.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy’s Adopt-A-Goat program supports their effort to turn the weedy hillsides into native coastal sage scrub and grassland habitats – supporting threatened and endangered plants and wildlife, such as the California gnatcatcher and cactus wren.

Goats are an ecologically sound, cost-effective, and efficient means of habitat restoration. As a bonus, their droppings provide a natural top-soil fertilizer. The goats make very little noise, leave no trash, and are a charming addition to the community for the time they spend with us.

Invasive Plants: Mustard and Fennel

Invasive non-native plants while pretty to look at, and pretty tasty to eat…cause damage to the ecosystem by crowding out and reducing native plant species ultimately reducing shelter and food for native animal species.

These non-native plants tend to have shallow root systems which do little to help with soil stabilization on the hilly slopes. And both mustard and fennel grow quite tall, unfortunately blocking out necessary sunlight for native species.

Native of Europe, black mustard Brassica nigra, is an annual plant that covers the Peninsula after the winter rains. It sprouts easy and densely, so as to crowd out the native plants that are home to native birds. It is short-lived, so when the plant dies the dried stalks remain standing and present a significant fire hazard.

Native of Southern Europe, fennel Foeniculum vulgare is another invasive species that grows in dense thickets and crowds out native species. When the fennel plants die in late summer, the dried stems remain standing and can be fuel for wildfires.

Savory Fruit Salad with Goat Cheese

This delicious savory fruit salad was created to showcase Miss Chèvre Chaud’s affection for reducing our local mustard and fennel (aka goat-candy) population while promoting fresh cheese made from goat’s milk.

To highlight the good work Miss CC and her team do to clear the hillsides and reduce wildfire danger…the salad has three charred elements; charred parsley vinaigrette, charred/caramelized goat cheese, and smoky walnuts. Simultaneously the mustard flowers do indeed taste like yellow mustard and add a punchy savory note to the salad.

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Fluke Crudo, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Fluke Crudo, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Fluke Crudo, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Dragon Fruit, Meyer Lemon, Parsley, Mint, Borage

Our fluke crudo with Korean picked radish, nasturtium, and gochugaru vinaigrette was such a hit, we had to share another. A member of the flounder family, fluke has a clean, delicate, fresh taste that is excellent served raw (known as hirame sushi). While dragon fruit also has a mild flavor, it has unique visual appeal, esoteric charm, and a cool name. The taste is enhanced by the delightful Meyer lemon sweet-tart vinaigrette. Together, fluke and dragon fruit make a stunning raw dish.

Borage, my favorite edible flower, is very versatile as a garnish due to the light cucumbery flavor that can be paired with either sweet or savory dishes. And the striking blue color and star shape make every dish pop. Borage grows like a weed in my Southern California garden. I simply sprinkle seeds in a sunny spot, water regularly, et voilà!

growing borage for edible flowersMeyer lemon rinds are soft and edible. This lemon’s texture and lemony-orange flavor pairs wonderfully with the fresh fish. Cold fish and warm weather – an uncomplicated dish with fresh ingredients is simple, harmonious, and spring-pretty.

meyer lemon recipe

Fluke Crudo, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

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Fluke Crudo, Gochugaru Vinaigrette

Fluke Crudo, Gochugaru Vinaigrette

Fluke Crudo
Gochugaru Vinaigrette, Korean Pickled Radish, Bird’s Eye Chili
Luxardo Cherry, Scallion, Nasturtium

Its texture is firm and smooth and the taste is mild, fluke is an excellent fish to serve raw, Italian style – with oil, acid, and salt.

An intensely flavorful vinaigrette of olive oil and toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar and mirin, is enhanced with gochugaru, a Korean red chili powder. The coarsely ground powder is definitely spicy – but also has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried red peppers.

Korean yellow pickled radish, danmuji, brings sweet, sour and crispy notes while dark Italian Luxardo cherries add a dense, chewy sweet-tart unexpected counterbalance to the fish.

Finished with whimsical scallion curls and petite peppery-green nasturtium leaves, this Korean-Italian raw fish dish has delightful visual appeal and complementary global flavors.

Fluke Crudo Recipe

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Oatmeal Pancakes

Oatmeal Pancakes #glutenfree

Oatmeal Pancakes

Good morning! How are you?

I started to write that this is the first time in almost 10 years that I am sharing a pancake recipe…but that is not true. I have posted several Potato Pancake recipes (latkes) AND Korean Pancake recipes (jeon), but those were savory pancakes, not traditional breakfast pancakes.

For those attempting to eat oatmeal every morning for its soluble fiber and cholesterol lowering benefits, good for you! But let’s face it…the whole-grain, high-fiber, gluten-free, steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled oatmeal in a bowl can get boring fast.

So you might be excited to see this recipe for oat pancakes! These oatmeal pancakes are made from two types – oat flour and rolled oats. It was adapted from the package recipe on Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Oat Flour.

I made a few changes to Bob’s recipe – leaving out the two tablespoons of sugar; substituting extra virgin olive oil for vegetable oil; and cooking the pancakes until the edges are nice and crispy.

These are not light and fluffy pancakes with a homogeneous spongy texture. They are super-hearty…and uber-delicious.

Although I photograph them in a stack of five, there is no way anyone would eat that many. Unless you are training for something big, or you are my teenage nephew.

Additionally, instead of the traditional big scoop of butter on top of the stack, I serve a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt. It is equally satisfying, and healthier.

Oatmeal Pancakes Recipe

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California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

A Very California Salad
and a bit of Oregon too

Roasted Red and Golden Beets, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese
Willamette Valley Hazelnuts, Turmeric-Black Pepper-Maple Yogurt
Arugula, Arugula Flowers, Beet Vinaigrette

A soft-ripened goat cheese accented with a line of bluish ash reminiscent of the fog often blanketing the expansive Humboldt County, California coastline is the centerpiece of this salad.

Pioneering American cheesemaker Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove conceived Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese in the early 80s in homage to cow’s milk French Morbier, with ash separating its light cakey layers.

Beets are available at California Farmers Markets year-round. And hazelnuts come from our wetter neighbor just to the north, Oregon (close enough).

Peppery arugula, earthy beets, toasty hazelnuts, and a tangy yogurt harmonize with the elegant and luscious goat cheese in this quintessential West Coast salad. A sweet-tart beet vinaigrette adds sunny notes with hints of herbs and fruit.

Arugula Flowers

Blooming in January, pretty arugula flowers come from my Southern California garden. Arugula flowers make a delightful garnish, they taste like light arugula leaves, maybe with a hint of sweetness.

Roasted Red and Golden Beets, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese, Hazelnuts, Turmeric-Black Pepper-Maple Yogurt, Arugula, Arugula Flowers, Beet Vinaigrette

Cypress Grove describes their cheese with flavors of buttermilk and fresh cream, complemented with floral notes, herbaceous overtones, and a clean citrus finish. As Humboldt Fog matures, the creamline develops, the flavor intensifies and the subtle tanginess grows more pronounced.

California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad Recipe

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Not Your Average Crudités Platter

Crudités Platter with Lemony Cauliflower Dip

Crudités Platter with Lemony Cauliflower Dip
Three Oils, Three Seasonings

There are literally hundreds of flavor combinations waiting to be discovered on this one platter. Try a crisp slice of cucumber with lemony cauliflower dip, dunk a sweet cherry tomato into chili oil then crust with sesame seeds, dip a peppery radish into olive oil then coat with za’atar…

Cauliflower makes its appearance as a lemony dip. Three oils (fruity olive oil, fiery chili oil, and toasted sesame oil) plus three seasonings (Maldon sea salt flakes, za’atar, and toasted sesame seeds) complement a vibrant array of fresh vegetables. Castelvetrano olives, basil, and edible flowers add another layer of flavor and interest to this appealing platter where guests can enjoy discussing their favorite combinations over cocktails.

Crudités Platter with Lemony Cauliflower Dip, Three Oils, Three Seasonings

Not Your Average Crudités Platter

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Michel Richard’s Asian Bistro Soup

Michel Richard's Asian Bistro Soup with Shrimp

Michel Richard’s Asian Bistro Soup with Shrimp

Last month another world-class chef joined Escoffier in the Grand Kitchen up in Heaven. Legendary Chef Michel Richard was 68 years old. I was introduced to the Chef’s innovative style of cooking over lunch with my old colleagues at his restaurant Citrus in LA back in the late 1980s and have been an ardent fan ever since.

After hearing of his sudden passing last month, I immediately pulled Happy In The Kitchen from my bookshelf and spent a good part of the day re-reading his recipes and perspectives.

Before each recipe the Chef writes a paragraph or two about the dish – from where the inspiration came; what is important for the cook to note; or his keen observations on taste, texture, presentation, what-have-you. Yes, he is a most accomplished chef, but he is also a very effective teacher – employing humor and ingenuity as skillfully as he does the knife.

Thomas Keller wrote, “Michel did something that’s almost unheard of in the pastry world: he crossed over and became a chef, opening one of the best restaurants in the country, Citrus, in 1987. It’s difficult to overemphasize how unusual this is. Pastry chefs and savory chefs rely on a completely different set of skills and use their intellects in different ways. Pastry chefs are mathematicians. Savory chefs, we’re like free-thinkers. Michel, amazingly, has been able to combine the precision of the pastry chef’s mind with the freethinking nature of the savory chef in a way that no other chef in America has done.”

Michel Richard’s Asian Bistro Soup Recipe

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Mandilli di Seta al Pesto {Handkerchief Pasta} #glutenfree

Mandilli di Seta al Pesto (Handkerchief Pasta) #glutenfree

~ Mandilli di Seta al Pesto ~
Silk Handkerchief Pasta with Creamy-Style Pesto
Edible Begonia, Basil, and Pecorino Romano Garnish

Imagine a pasta that is a gorgeous shade of olive green, higher in fiber and lower in net carbs than traditional noodles. One that is full of plant-based pea protein, organic, and gluten-free. My friends at Explore Cuisine make such an extraordinary noodle. It is produced in Italy of green lentil flour (50%), green pea flour, and brown rice flour.

Usually used for lasagna recipes, here the rectangular green lentil sheets stand in for handkerchief pasta in a beautiful mandilli di seta adorned with edible begonias. The basil pesto is an elegant creamy-style, unlike its more grainy rustic cousin. The method of plating mandilli di seta is also unique – pasta handkerchiefs are dipped in the pesto, coating the entire noodle with the dreamy sauce, then they are artfully folded onto the plate.

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