Sunday, July 14, 2019

Curry Burgers with Blueberry Chutney and Coconut-Lime Slaw #NationalBlueberryMonth


Today kicks off a week-long celebration of all things blueberry. Many thanks to Ellen of Family Around the Table and Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures for wrangling all of us.


Though this is a five day event, I'm only jumping in for four of the days. Here's what the bloggers have in store for the first day...

Blueberry Week Recipes
Breakfast
Drinks and Appetizers
Sauces and Spreads
Dinner
Dessert

Curry Burgers with Blueberry Chutney 
and Coconut-Lime Slaw

I wanted to share some savories with blueberries. First up: I thought of curry with a blueberry chutney. And because Jake and I are eating less bread, I placed our burgers on a pile of coconut milk-cayenne slaw. Yum!

Ingredients

Burger
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef (prefer grass-fed, organic)
  • 1 shallot, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 2 T curry paste (I used a Thai red curry)
  • 2 t soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  • oil for the grill or grill-pan
Chutney
  • 2 to 3 organic shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1 pint organic blueberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1" knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 t fresh lemongrass, minced
  • 1/4 C organic dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 T vinegar (I used an aged balsamic)
  • 1 t fresh herbs (I used a mixture of mint and thyme)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • juice from 1 organic lemon (I used a Meyer lemon)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Slaw
  • 4 C thinly julienned vegetables (I used cabbage, carrots, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli stems)
  • 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
  • 2 T chopped cilantro
  • 2 T chopped organic basil + more for garnish
  • 3/4 C coconut milk
  • 1/4 C rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 t fish sauce
  • pinch of cayenne
Procedure

Chutney
In a small skillet, sauté shallots in a splash of olive oil till it starts to soften, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Add the blueberries, cinnamon, ginger, lemongrass, dark brown sugar, vinegar, herbs, and salt.

Reduce the heat and let simmer for until it starts to thicken, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat and pour in the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let chutney cool then refrigerate until ready to use.


Slaw
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together coconut milk, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, lemon juice, fish sauce, and cayenne. Stir in the veggies and herbs until well-coated. Let stand for at least 15 minutes for the dressing to soften the slaw.

Burger
In a large bowl, using your hands, mix together all of the ingredients until well-combined. Form four patties and grill or cook on the stove to your preferred doneness.


To serve, place slaw on the serving plate. Top with your patty and add blueberry chutney over the burger. Garnish with fresh herbs and enjoy. I can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings for this group!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches #OurFamilyTable


Today the #OurFamilyTable bloggers are sharing ice cream recipes. Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures wrote: "No churn, hand churn, gellato; how do you keep cool with ice cream during the heat of summer? What toppings and sauces do you make for your ice cream friendly fam?"

I Scream for Ice Cream Recipes


We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you're at it, join our Pinterest board, too!


Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches
When I offered to make dinner for my parents for their 47th anniversary this week, my mom requested fish, cookies, and ice cream. And since I was asking D to make the cookies, he suggested putting together the last two requests. D cautiously asked, "Would you be okay if I made ice cream sandwiches for Nonno and Nonna? It won't be fancy, but it will be delicious." I'm all for delicious...no need for fancy. 

Ingredients 
makes approximately 3 dozen cookies or 18 ice cream sandwiches

Snickerdoodles
  • 1 C softened butter
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar + 4 T for rolling
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon + 2 T for rolling
  • 1/4 t ground cardamom
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 3 C flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • Also needed: baking sheet, silicone mat or parchment paper, scoop 

Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • ice cream (D used vanilla and espresso chocolate cookies crumble)
  • Also needed: scoop
Procedure

Snickerdoodles
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, blend together 4 T sugar and 2 T ground cinnamon for rolling.

In a small mixing bowl, blend together flour, baking soda, baking powder, 1/2 t ground cinnamon, 1/4 t ground cardamom, and 1/4 t ground nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until lightened and fluffy. Beat in egg and pure vanilla.


Gradually blend in the flour mixture until you have a smooth dough. Here you can use a scoop which is much easier...or you can roll walnut-sized balls with your hands.


Place the dough balls in the cinnamon mixture and roll to coat completely.


Place onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes in the preheated oven - or until golden. If you prefer more crunchy cookies, bake for a minute or two longer. But the softer cookies were easier to assemble into ice cream sandwiches.


Let cookies cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes before removing to cool on wire racks. Once you're ready to assemble...


Ice Cream Sandwiches
Use a scoop to place a small bit of ice cream (he used about 1 T for a 1-1/2" cookie) on the flat side of one cookie. Place the flat side of another cookie on top of the ice cream and gently press them together until the ice cream comes to the edge of the two cookies.


Work quickly and serve immediately!

Roasted Quail, White Bean Salad, and Chateau d'Epire Savennieres Grand Cru d'Anjou 2017 #Winophiles


This month I am hosting the French Winophiles with an exploration of the wines from Anjou-Saumur. You can read my invitation here. Not being very familiar with those wines, I tracked down several bottles to pour and pair. One of the bottles I found - Chateau d'Epire Savennieres Grand Cru d'Anjou - was a lovely addition to a summer dinner on the patio. I'm having fun trying new-to-me wines.

In My Glass

This wine hails from Savennières, a commune near the Loire River that's approximately 10 miles southwest of Angers and best known for its production of highly rated white wine. Made with the Chenin Blanc grape, these wines have the unique characteristic of being both weighty and light. It had a full-bodied mouthfeel that was lightened by bright acidity. It was an interesting, satisfying pairing.

On My Plate

We love quail. So, when I can get it, I always do. This was a simple preparation of a paprika-based rub, then roasted. It's so easy; the hardest part is trussing those little guys!

Ingredients serves 4
  • 4 whole quail
  • 1 organic onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 T smoke paprika
  • 1 T sweet paprika
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil, as needed
  • Also needed: 100% cotton twine, roasting pan
  • For serving: white bean salad (recipe to come)


Procedure
Preheat the oven to 500°F. 

In a small bowl, mix together all the dry spices along with a few grinds of salt and pepper. Place a quarter onion in the quail cavity and cross its legs. Tie the twine around the legs to keep them in place. Rub the quail with the spice blend and place in a rimmed roasting pan.

Drizzle the quail with olive oil and place in the preheated oven. Roast quail for 10 to 12 minutes. They should be nicely browned. Remove the birds from the oven. Tent with foil and let rest for another 10 minutes.


Serve immediately while hot. However, if you have leftovers, they taste great cold as well.


I served this with a white bean salad on the side.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Robatayaki and Rioja Wines, the Perfect Summertime Party #WinePW #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the July #WinePW Rioja event.
A wine samples was provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.

This month Jeff of FoodWineClick! is hosting the Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers as we delve into wines from Rioja. You can read his invitation here. The #WinePW bloggers will be posting and chatting on Saturday, July 13th. Feel free to join the live Twitter chat that morning at 8am Pacific time. Follow the hashtag #WinePW and add it to your comments so we can see your contributions.

And this is what the group has in store for you...


 Robatayaki and Rioja Wines

Not being very familiar with Rioja wines, I immediately emailed my friends from Spain who shared the following information...

Usually, in Spain, Spanish wines are classified into four categories depending on the time/years they have been aged in the oak barrel and in the bottle. The four groups are as follows:

  • Joven/cosecha - less than 6 months in the oak barrel
  • Crianza - 18 months in total and a minimum of six months in oak barrel
  • Reserva - 36 months in total and a minimum of twelve months in oak barrel
  • Gran Reserva -60 months in total and a minimum of eighteen months in oak barrel

Obviously, prices vary depending on the classification. Some wineries only produce one certain type of wine. Some of the most well-known Riojas are as follows:

  • One of the most expensive and very well-known is Vega Sicilia, if you can afford it! ;-)
  • Marqués de Murrieta Reserva has a reasonable price for the age and it's a good wine. The Gran Reserva from Marqués de Murrieta is very popular, although very expensive.
  • Muga Crianza - has a good price and it's good. This is probably one of the ones we like that can afford! It is filtered without chemical using only organic egg whites.
  • Marqués de Cáceres is a standard one, but good for the price.
  • Marqués de Riscal, not our favorite, but another one for standard price.

It's always nice to learn about wines from people who are very familiar with them. Muchas gracias, Susanna and Juan!


Several of the #WinePW bloggers were fortunate to receive a sample bottle from Bodegas LAN*. I received the Bodegas LAN 2012 Reserva, but wanted to round out the exploration and tracked down three other bottles of Rioja on my own based on Susanna's email. I purchased Bodegas LAN Rioja Gran Reserva 2010, Bodegas Muga Flor de Muga Rose 2017, and Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2014.


Then I invited myself over to our friends' house with the promise of wine if he grilled for me. A couple of years ago, they built a robatayaki (or robata for short) in their backyard. The robatayaki is an authentic style of Japanese cooking that originated hundreds of years ago on Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. There industrious fishermen here created robatayaki by encasing charcoals into stone boxes.


Given the Asian origin of the grill, Jenn and I created a menu that paired Japanese-inspired dishes with three of my Spanish wines. The result: the perfect summertime party. And, even though this was a Fathers' Day celebration, the dads didn't seem to mind being put to work!

Grilled Stuffed Squid 
+ Bodegas Muga Flor de Muga Rosé 2017
suggested retail price $29.99 / wine.com

The first pairing was Grilled Stuffed Squid + Bodegas Muga Flor de Muga Rosé 2017. Get the recipe and reading about the pairing here. Yes, I did buy it for the label...but also because summertime means lots and lots of Rosés for me.


To the eye, this Rosé displays a very pale salmon color with steely glints. On the nose, I got summer stone fruits and sweet honeysuckle. The palate is remarkably complex given the lightness of the hue. At least I wasn't expecting such a lush, fleshy wine. This was a great match with my grilled squid!


Grilled Chicken with Tare Sauce
+ Bodegas LAN 2012 Reserva
suggested retail price $18.99/ wine.com, received as an industry sample

Bodegas LAN was founded in 1972 and named after the first letters of the three provinces in the Rioja DOC: Logrono (now La Rioja), Alava, and Navarra. This wine is a blend comprised of 92% Tempranillo, 8% Graciano. To the eye it is a brilliant, deep ruby color. To the nose, you get notes of plum mixed with vanilla and spice. On the tongue, the wine is well-structured and full-bodied. Complex layers made this a nice match for the tare sauce, a soy-based basting sauce. Jenn prefaced her email with this: "no two Japanese cooks make these exactly the same way, and probably don't follow a recipe. I started with a basic recipe and tasted as I went." Understood.

Jenn's Tare Sauce
  • 1/2 C  water with dashi (1 T) mixed in on medium heat
  • 1/4 C mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 2 T sake
  • 3/4 t (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1-inch-piece peeled ginger, sliced
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small heavy saucepan. Stir until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to a generous 1/2 cup, approximately 20 minutes. Strain sauce through a fine mesh sieve; discard solids. Let cool. Note that this can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container until needed.


Grilled Steak with Yakiniku Sauce
Bodegas LAN Rioja Gran Reserva 2010
suggested retail price $24.99/ wine.com

From the same vintner as the previous wine, Bodegas LAN, this wine is aged longer. Still with that bright ruby hue, aromas for this wine were more herbaceous (think tarragon and fennel) with some earthy notes of tobacco and leather. Still full-bodied, I actually expected it to be more balanced and it wasn't. It bordered on too tannic for my tastes.

Jenn's Yakiniku Sauce
  • 3 T sake
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 2 T mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • 1 t miso
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 apple grated
  • Ginger grated
  • garlic grated
  • shallot grated
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T bonito flakes
  • roasted white sesame seeds
In a mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients, to the apple, and stir to combine. Heat the sauce to simmer and add in the remaining ingredients. Keep simmering until thickened. Remove from the heat and allow the sauce to cool. Use immediately. Or for best flavor, cover the yakiniku sauce and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours to allow the flavors to meld.


While we initially paired the wines with their intended grillable, after that we just poured and drank whatever we wanted. Everyone loved the squid and rosé; surprisingly, we all preferred the Reserva to the Gran Reserva! I'm glad I had the opportunity to dive deeper into exploring Rioja wines. Thanks for that, Jeff.

And that's a wrap on the Rioja wine exploration. Next month, we'll be heading to New Zealand by wineglass with Lori of Dracaena Wines at the head. Looking forward to that. Stay tuned...

Bodegas LAN on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter
*Disclosure: I received a sample wine for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Caramelized Pork Belly Pasta + Donkey & Goat's 2018 Skins and Stems Chardonnay


Surprisingly pork belly is one of those polarizing ingredients. Even for meat eaters, I've found people either love it or hate it. Or, if you're like me, you want to learn to cook it so that you love it. But I have had fewer recipe successes than I would like with pork belly. This was one of those winners. Woohoo!

For some reason, I usually lean towards Asian flavors with pork belly. Hui Guo Rou (Twice-Cooked Pork Belly) and Kimchi Soondubu Jjigae (Kimchi-Tofu Stew) are prime examples of that. And this was no exception. I decided to caramelize the pork belly in a soy-fish sauce broth and toss it with pasta. And I paired it with a bottle from Donkey & Goat Winery, their Skins and Stems 2018 Chardonnay.

In My Glass

The Skins and Stems 2018 Chardonnay from Donkey & Goat was one of the reasons that I finally took the plunge and signed up to be part of the wine club. I've loved every wine I've ever tried from them, but when I realized that I wouldn't be able to get my hands on this or the 2018 Still Kraisey Merlot unless I joined. Sign me up, please!!

This wine is quinessentially esoteric. After all these years, I still chuckle when I see 'esoteric' as a category on their wine offerings. It's a pleasing blend of musty and tangy with a scent that reminds me of wet granite. If you've ever hiked the Vernal Falls Trail in Yosemite National Park, it's that smell that wafts from the walls and steps as you make your way to the top of the falls.

Vernal Falls, Yosemite - June 2017

And like the mist on Mist Trail, this wine is refreshing and bright. I couldn't wait to pair it with something fatty. I decided to tackle pork belly!! Again...

On My Plate

Ingredients
  • 1 pound pork belly, cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 C organic dark brown sugar
  • 3 T fish sauce
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 C water
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 1 package spaghetti, cooked according to package directions and drained
  • white sesame seeds for garnish



Procedure
In a heavy bottomed pan or cast iron skillet (I used my Le Creuset Braiser), add the brown sugar and melt over medium heat. Don’t stir it, just let the sugar melt and turn to caramel, approximately 5 minutes.

Add in the pork belly cubes. Stir and cook until the fat begins to render and the meaty parts turn lightly golden brown, approximately 7 or 8 minutes. Pour in the the water, fish sauce, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Stir in the sliced shallots. 

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat until the liquid is at a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pork belly is tender and the sauce reduces greatly, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. In the meantime, cook your pasta and set aside.

Once the pork belly is ready, season to taste with cracked black pepper. Dump the cooked pasta directly into the pan and toss to coat. 


Garnish with plenty of white sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Cannelés, Take One and Two


Cannelés have long been a family favorite. Whenever we go to our favorite French bakery, the boys order these custardy treasures. 

I've long been intimidated by them because I thought I needed the copper molds (about $30 each!) and beeswax. Yada yada. It seemed so complicated...and not worth the effort when I could just spend $3 and have someone else make them for me.

But, when I was talking to R's French teacher - who is an incredible baker - about them, she offered to lend me her silicone molds while she was in Europe this summer. And she even sent me a recipe. The recipe was in French; she told me that R could translate. I assured her that though my French was extremely rusty, I could manage. I also compared a few other recipes and incorporated them into this test.

When I emailed her to ask about the difference in letting batter rest for two days (another version) versus one hour in hers, she also wondered what the difference would be. For these first two, the batter rested for between 8 and 10 hours.

Ingredients
makes 30 mini + 4 regular


  • 2 C whole milk
  • 4 T unsalted butter
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
  • 2/3 C flour
  • 1-3/4 C powdered sugar
  • 1 t fine salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 C rum
  • Also needed: silicone molds, baking sheet

Procedure

Batter
Place the milk, butter, vanilla seeds and pod in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Take out, but save, the vanilla pod!

Place the eggs and egg yolks into a separate bowl and beat lightly. In another mixing bowl, place the flour, powdered sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add in the beaten eggs. Pour in the milk mixture.


Whisk everything together until you have a smooth batter. You can strain the batter through a sieve to remove lumps, if you wish. I didn't do this. Stir in the rum and add the vanilla pod back to the bowl. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge to rest.

To Bake
Remove the batter from the fridge and give a gentle whisk. Preheat oven to 475°F. Place the molds on a baking tray and place - empty - in the oven for 5 minutes to heat them. Once heated, pour the batter into the molds, leaving a 1 cm gap to the top. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for another 60 minutes.


Invert the molds and remove the cakes. Leave them to cool on a wire rack...or devour immediately as my trio did!


For version one (the smaller ones), this resulted in the mini cakes being a little too over done.


Version two (the regular ones) was near perfect. But I am going to try to shorten the length of time on the higher temperature baking and see what happens. Stay tuned for v.3 on our Cannelés adventure.

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