Sunday, June 26, 2016

Pop-Up Brunch with Chef Brad Briske

Some kids have favorite actors, athletes, and musicians. Mine have a favorite chef: Chef Brad Briske of La Balena and Il Grillo

So, when I saw that Brad was going to be a guest chef at the Scotts Valley farmers market pop-up brunch (click for the pop-up brunch series), I bought tickets immediately. Unfortunately, Jake was wrapped up with the house remodel and under the gun with his deadline. So, he didn't get to come with us. I let the boys invite a friend instead.

potatoes, peavetta, golden raspberries, and herbs

Live Earth Farm strawberries with Ashby Confections’ chocolate

Companion Bakeshop open-face sourdough, Fogline Farm pig, fried egg, greens and honey

plum tart, almonds and lavender syrup

As always, Brad and his dishes delighted all of our senses. Everything was delicious, beautiful, and perfectly in season.

Here are my happy boys. They had a blast!

And so did I. We love Chef Brad!!

Torta di Prugne {Gluten-Free} #FoodNFlix

Food‘nFlixThis month Evelyne from CulturEatz is hosting Food'N'Flix. Here's her invitation. She invited us to watch I am Love.*

On the Screen...
I am shocked that this movie has never made it onto my to-watch list.I will watch anything set in Italy. Seriously. Anything. And if it's actually in Italian, even better!

It's actually a hilarious phenomenon. No matter how long it's been since I left Rome, if I watch a movie in Italian, I begin to think in Italian for several hours; I often try to speak to my family in Italian for a spell, too. My boys just shake their heads and wait till it passes.

I am Love is about the Recchi family whose matriarch is Emma (played by Tilda Swinton), a transplanted Russian who, as she admits, ceased being Russian when she married Tancredi Recchi and moved to Milan. In fact, she admits that Emma isn't her real name; it's the name her husband gave her. She says she  doesn't even remember her birth name, but she recalls that they called her Kitesh.

There is so much to say about this dramatic, tragic love story. There is so much I adored about it - the scenery, the language, the acting, the music - but I don't want to spoil it for you. Let's just say that, within the framework of the Recchi family story, there is sex, love, death, and food. And there's lots of the latter considering one of the characters is a chef.

Antonio prepares eggplant and elderflower when he talks about opening his own restaurant at the remote property his family owns in Sanremo. When Emma dines at the restaurant he runs for his father in Milan, he prepares prawns in ratatouille for her. Though there are no words in the scene, you see that she is positively seduced by the dish. And, then, there's the dish that unravels it all. It's the Russian dish that Emma had shared with Antonio: Ukha, a clear soup made with lots of different freshwater fish. 

If you're wondering about the title of the movie, you're not alone. I did some research because I was perplexed myself. When Emma is in bed with her husband, they are watching Philadelphia and Maria Callas is performing an aria 'La Mamma Morta' (the dead mother).

Voce piena d'armonia e dice
Vivi ancora! Io son la vita!
Ne' miei occhi è il tuo cielo!
Tu non sei sola!
Le lacrime tue io le raccolgo!
Io sto sul tuo cammino e ti sorreggo!
Sorridi e spera! Io son l'amore!
Tutto intorno è sangue e fango?
Io son divino! Io son l'oblio!
Io sono il dio che sovra il mondo
scendo da l'empireo, fa della terra
un ciel! Ah!
Io son l'amore, io son l'amor, l'amor. 

The final line is: I am love, I am love, love.

Next month, Elizabeth at The Lawyer's Cookbook is hosting us as we watch Popeye.* That's another new-to-me movie. Hope you'll join us.

On the Plate...
I was intrigued by the ukha, but I really wanted to make something more Italian. And I decided to make an Italian plum tart because I had made a plum jam last night and the color reminded me of love - the passionate, all-consuming, messy kind of love. The jam was a brilliant garnet shade with dueling highlights of red and purple. Does it sound crazy to think that emotions have color? I'm weird like that.

  • 1 C butter
  • 1-1/2 C gluten-free flour blend
  • 1/2 C ground almonds
  • 2/3 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 to 5 T plum jam (recipe to come)
  • roasted plums (click for my recipe) to create a layer over the jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place flour, ground almonds, sugar, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. With your hands, press the butter into the flour, flattening the cubes into flat leaves. Add in the eggs and press together gently to form dough. Press two-thirds of the dough mixture into an 8" square pan.

Spoon jam over the top of the dough and spread over the surface. Lay roasted plums on top of the jam. Crumble the remaining flour mixture over the top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden and firm. Let cool slightly before you slice and serve.

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

Sherry-Vanilla Bean Roasted Plums

With my bounty of plums from our friends, I decided to roast a pan-full. It's a simple preparation and you can use them in a multitude of ways. Or you can just put them on top of plain yogurt for a delicious semi-sweet treat.

  • 12 plums, halved and pitted
  • 2 T honey
  • 2 T sherry
  • 3 whole vanilla beans, sliced lengthwise
  • Also needed: parchment paper

Heat oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Lay plums, cut-side up, on the paper. Place vanilla beans on top of the plums. Drizzle with honey and sherry.

Roast for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in syrup. Reserve the syrup for homemade sodas or cocktails.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Bleu Pig Potato Waffles {Gluten-Free} #SundaySupper

Waffle Mania!
Since June 29th is National Waffle Day, the Sunday Supper tastemakers are kicking off the week with a huge waffle party! Although waffles have been around for nearly seven hundred years, the first American patent for a waffle iron wasn't issued until the late 1800s. Sue from A Palatable Pastime has rallied us to celebrate all things waffle. She invited us to make anything in the waffle iron from sweets to savories and everything in between. 

All the Waffles
Sweet and Sinful:
Savory Brinner Winners:

My Waffle...
I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone that I opted to make a savory waffle. I've made my share of sweet Dragonfruit Waffles to my Rhubarb Waffles and from my Olive Oil Waffles to my Coconut Milk Waffles. For Waffle Week last year, I shared Waffled Polenta Crisps with Caponata; and I've made Chicken and Mashed Potato Waffles for another event. But this time, the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf said we should make waffles with bleu cheese and bacon. That sounded like a plan. He adores bleu cheese...and who doesn't love bacon?!?

To make them even more bluish, I used a mixture of baby potatoes, including purple potatoes.

  • 2 C mashed potatoes
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/3 C gluten-free flour (use regular flour if you wish)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 to 1/2 C milk
  • 4 to 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled + some for garnish
  • 3 T crumbled bleu cheese + some for garnish

Heat the waffle iron to its highest setting. In a large bowl, mix together the potatoes, butter, egg, and milk. Gently fold in flour, bacon and bleu cheese. The potato batter will be a soft and sticky dough.

Place a scoop in the center of your very hot waffle maker and close the lid. Cook for a few minutes until crisp on the outside, about 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining potatoes.

To serve, top your waffle with more crumbled bleu cheese and some crumbled bacon.

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.

Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Plum Polenta Cake {Gluten-Free}

Earlier this week, friends of our who are out of town asked if we could pick their plums, water some plants, and pick up the mail. The boys - and my parents - were game and off they went. They came home with so many plums yesterday. So, I started off with a plum-polenta cake for breakfast this morning. We're still debating on jam versus chutney and shrub versus liqueur. I'll keep you posted.

  • 1/2 C  butter, softened + more for greasing the pan
  • 2/3 C organic granulated sugar  
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C coconut milk
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1-1/2 C gluten-free flour (I used a mixture of rice flour, brown rice flour, and coconut flour)
  • 3/4 C yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 C corn kernels
  • 10 to 12 small, ripe plums

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Butter a baking dish; I used a 9" square dish. Slice your plums in half, or quarters, and remove the pit. Place the plums in the bottom of the dish and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together until lightened and fluffy. Fold in the honey, eggs, and coconut milk. Gently fold in the salt, flour, cornmeal, and baking powder until just moistened. Stir in the corn kernels.

Spoon the batter over the plums and place in the oven. Bake until set and beginning to brown, approximately 35 to 40 minutes.

Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve hot.

The #GuacSquad12 and the Guac-Lock™ by Casabella #sponsor #ad

Remember when I wrote about our upcoming blogging event: #GuacSquad12? Click to read details about the event, see who's participating, and meet our sponsors: here.

We've timed our #GuacSquad event with the release of a brand new product from one of our event sponsors: Casabella. The product is the Guac-Lock™.

All of the participating bloggers will be posting their own reviews of the product along with a creative twist on guacamole. And...we will be giving away TWELVE Guac-Locks™ during the event. Yes, twelve. A dozen of our lucky readers will be able to try the Guac-Lock™ for themselves.

I can't wait. Until then, check out the video below to find out more about the Guac-Lock™.


on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Pinterest

The Giveaway...
Our generous sponsors have contributed prizes for this event. 
Stay tuned for how you can enter to win.

*Disclosure: Bloggers received complimentary product from sponsors for the creation of this event. This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are our own.*

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

{Gluten-Free} Black Tahini-Chocolate Bundt with Ganache #PeoplehoodoftheTravelingSwirlyPan

My time with Dorothy (she's a bundt pan) and Toto (he's a journal) - for the Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan - is drawing to a close. I'm hoping to squeeze in one more adventure before I need to wrap them up and send them off to the next baker.

You can read more about the Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan and see my first recipe with Dorothy (herewhen I made a Gluten-free Bourbon Gingerbread with Prickly Pear Lemon Curd...and my third recipe (here) when I made a Gluten-free Hot Milk-Matcha Bundt with Chocolate Silk Sauce.

I can count. Really. My second adventure was a complete and total flop. So, I didn't share that recipe on the blog or with the #PeoplehoodoftheTravelingSwirlyPan. Flops are how you know you're stretching your culinary competence, right? While they aren't a success, they are necessary to becoming a better cook!

I decided that I would make a chocolate cake for my fourth Dorothy attempt - but not just any chocolate cake. Of course I needed to shake things up and decided to add some black tahini to the cake.

Tahini adds something decidedly savory to the cake which makes my savory-loving palate happy. But, to make the other members of my household happy, I slathered it all with chocolate ganache.


  • 1-1/4 C butter, plus some for greasing
  • unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting pan
  • 1/4 C unsulphered molasses
  • 1/4 C black tahini
  • 1/4 C tahini
  • 1/4 C cold coffee
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 C rice flour
  • 1 C buckwheat flour
  • 1 C ground almonds
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 oz dark chocolate, chunks
  • 1/2 C organic heavy cream
  • 2 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1 T butter


Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Butter bundt pan and dust the pan with unsweetened cocoa powder to prevent sticking.

Melt the butter. In  large mixing bowl, whisk together molasses, tahini, black tahini, sugar, cold coffee, eggs, and sour cream. Pour in the melted butter and stir until well-combined. Add in dry ingredients and stir till completely moistened. Spoon into buttered cake pan.

Bake for 1 hour or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. Let cool for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Place everything except for the cream in a mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Pour the cream into the mixing bowl, making sure that the chocolate is completely submerged. Let sit for 3 minutes. Whisk till smooth.

Divide ganache in half and place 1 bowl of ganache in the freezer for a quick chill. Let the other bowl sit at room temperature to keep it at sauce-consistency.

Once cool, spoon cooled ganache into the swirls. To serve, drizzle liquid ganache onto your serving plates. Place slices of cake on top of the drizzle. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

#GuacSquad12 Dreams Up Over a Dozen Great Guacamole Recipes #sponsor

It's summertime! For me, that means ripe avocados and lots and lots of guacamole. Do you adore guacamole? If so, then #GuacSquad12 - a multi-day, multi-blogger event - is for you.

A dozen bloggers have come together to share fourteen different guacamole recipes during the month of July. Whether you're a guacamole purist - think avocado, cilantro and lime - or you get a little more creative - think of some fabulous fold-ins such as pineapple or olives -  the #GuacSquad12's creations will make your mouth water.

We Are the GuacSquad... 
listed alphabetically by blog name

Here's the blog tour schedule...

Here are Our Sponsors*... 
and how you can find them around the internet

on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Pinterest

Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instagram, on Google+

Melissa's Produce
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instagram

The Giveaway...
Our generous sponsors have contributed prizes for this event. 
Stay tuned for how you can enter to win.

*Disclosure: Bloggers received complimentary products from sponsors for the creation of this event. This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. 
Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are our own.*

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