Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Beautiful Heirloom Beans

If you have been following my blog for even a little bit, you know that I gravitate towards the unexpected...and I really tend to be attracted to odd-ball foods such as black garlic, black tahini (here's my Black Tahini Chocolate Bundt), and more. 


So, when I went to the farmers' market last night and saw these - beautiful, midnight-hued heirloom beans - at Serendipity Farms' stand, I had to have them. I am not sure exactly what they are. They look similar to the Royal Burgundy Bush Bean (thank you, internet), but they were just identified as heirloom beans. 


Whatever they are, they are gorgeous! They are almost black on the outside, but bright green on the inside.


Unfortunately, they lost that beautiful coloration when they were blanched. But they were so tasty. With beans as fresh as these, they need little more than a quick blanch, some sea salt, a squeeze of lemon, and a drizzle of olive oil. Not much of a recipe but here's what I did...

Ingredients
  • 1 to 2 lbs heirloom beans
  • water
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • organic lemon
  • olive oil

Procedure
Trim the ends from the beans. Place beans in a large pot and cover them with water. Place over medium to high heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, drain the beans and shock them with cold water.

Place the beans on a serving platter. Sprinkle with salt, squeeze fresh lemon juice over them, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Honey Tasting with Carmel Honey Company


When we went to the Carmel Honey Company presentation at Earthbound Farm this weekend, they hosted a honey tasting. That's always my favorite part! Beekeeper Jake's mom made some waffles and we tasted them with four different kinds of honey.


Clockwise from the top left: meadowfoam, sage, wildflower, and orange blossom. I love how different they look...and taste!


We went back multiple times to taste the different honeys.


While R declared his favorite is still orange blossom (it's been that was for years no matter how many different kinds I present to him), D and I thought that the meadowfoamn honey was the most unique. I found it muted and sweet with hints of caramelized custard and a hint of burnt sugar. Kinda like a crème brûlée. My favorite! D said it was more like a toasted marshmallow.

So we bought a jar and spooned it over vanilla ice cream for dessert. Delish!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Carmel Honey Company at Earthbound Farm


Yesterday morning there was another great event at Earthbound Farm: Jake, the 13-year-old beekeeper and owner of Carmel Honey Company, was talking about bees, honey, and beekeeping. Since my Precise Kitchen Elf is interested in having bees here at our new house, I figured it was a great way to keep him interested. 

I had met Jake when I interviewed him a couple of years ago. It's wonderful to see how much his business has progressed! He's quite impressive and a font of knowledge about bees.


He spoke about the plight of bees, explained the politics of the hive, extolled the benefits of honey, and - the best part - let us taste his honeys. So awesome.


After the talk, we wandered through the garden and looked for bees. They were everwhere, but there were tons buzzing around the flowering oregano.




I'm not sure I was completely successful. While R was excited about the bees, he was actually more intimidated about beekeeping after hearing Jake speak. Darn it.


I need to rethink my strategy to get a beekeeper in the house!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Idaho Dogs for #SundaySupper


Every summer when the grill comes out so do the hamburgers and hotdogs! Since July is National Hotdog month Christie of A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures invited the Sunday Supper tastemakers to bring their best dogs to the table. And hamburgers just seemed to be a natural pairing with hotdogs, so we're sharing those, too.

The Sunday Supper Hamburger and Hot Dog Stand...
All American Burgers & Dogs
Cluck Burgers
Worldly Burgers & Dogs
Where's the Beef Burgers
Where's the Bun Burger
Dessert Burger
How to
Idaho Dogs

I had initially planned to make Puka Dogs because I love the story of their name and we love Kauai though we never did have Puka Dogs when we were in Poipu. However, after testing the recipe, we decided it was just too sweet - sweet rolls, sweet relish, and even sweet mustard. It was too much sweet for my crew. So, I changed directions and went with an Idaho Dog. Full disclosure, I saw a photo of an "Idaho Dog" on pinterest and decided to go for it; I did not, however, check with my family in Idaho to actually verify that they have these there. Whoops.

Ingredients serves 4

  • 4 large potatoes - as long as you can find them!
  • 4 hot dogs (I found some locally made, uncured and fully-cooked hot dogs)
  • butter
  • organic sour cream
  • organic chives
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper


Procedure

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wash and dry your potatoes. Pierce them with a fork or toothpick at least six times so that the moisture can escape during cooking. Wrap them in tinfoil.

Bake for an hour or until the potato feels soft when you squeeze it. During the last 15 minutes of baking, grill your hot dogs until warmed through.

To serve, remove the potatoes from the foil and slice them down the middle, lengthwise. Gently squeeze the ends of the potato towards the each other; the potato should crack open.

Mash some of the potato away from the sides toward the bottom and place a pat of butter in the potato. 


Place the cooked hot dog inside the potato.


Top with sour cream, snipped chives, salt, and pepper. Enjoy!

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.

{Gluten-Free} Garden Cake with Matcha Whipped Cream, Berries, and Blossoms


Probably influenced by his hours at Earthbound Farm for their Afternoon Tea Party and wandering through their Edible Gardens, to celebrate the Nonni's safe return home from their trip, the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf wanted to make them a garden cake. He wanted it to have strawberries and flowers; I happened to have both on hand. Sweet!

I suggested a matcha cake. He vetoed that in favor of a regular cake with matcha whipped cream. What can I say? The kid has vision. 

I'm not sure Nonno knew what to think of the cake, but he ate it.


Note: I baked this as two separate 8" rounds that were fairly flat as I was trying to speed up the baking time. I think next time, I'll bake it as one 8" round and slice it in half. Or bake it for less time. The cake layers were slightly overbaked.

Ingredients
Cake

  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 6 T butter, room temperature
  • zest from 1 organic lemon
  • 1 C white rice flour*
  • 2 T tapioca flour
  • 6 T potato starch*
  • 1 t xanthan gum*
  • 2  eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 3/4 C organic plain yogurt
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract

Matcha Whipped Cream

  • 2 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1 T culinary matcha*

To Serve

  • 2 C organic strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • organic flowers (we used roses, snapdragons, and marigolds)

Procedure
Cake
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 8" round pans with parchment paper. Butter the paper and the pan. Set aside.

Using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until lightened and fluffy. Mix in the eggs on low speed. Stir in the lemon zest.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flours, potato starch, xanthan gum, and baking powder.

In the butter bowl, beat in the yogurt and vanilla extract. Fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top flat.

Bake the cake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on rack. While the cake cools, make the matcha whipped cream.

Matcha Whipped Cream
Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until nice peaks form. Set aside until read to assemble.

To Serve
Place your bottom layer on serving platter. Heap 1/2 of the matcha whipped cream in the center and gently spread it to within 1/2" of the edge. Lay 1/2 of the strawberries on top of the whipped cream. Place the second cake layer on top of the strawberries. Heap the remaining matcha whipped cream on top of the cake, keeping 2 T aside. Gently spread whipped cream to within 1/2" of the edge. Lay the remaining strawberries on top of the cream. Use the last 2 T of whipped cream as a dollop on top. Garnish with flowers. Serve immediately.

Our gluten-free Sugar Pig was so happy!


*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Inspiring Garden of Edibles at Earthbound Farm


Following the Afternoon Tea Party at Earthbound Farm, the boys and I decided to wander through the gardens on the grounds of the farmstand. And while anyone who knows me knows that I have a black thumb, it was inspiring nonetheless. To see what they are growing here locally - successfully - well, it gave me garden-goals.


I love this shot of busy bees. I can watch bees all afternoon; they're mesmerizing!


I had never seen quinoa growing. This plant was in the Children's Garden, in the 'Q' planter box. D yelled, "Mommy, we can grow quinoa." You can grow quinoa! But, I would love that. We eat quinoa quite a bit. I need to read up on how it goes from plant to plate. Do I have to dry it? Can I use it straight off the bush?


"Mom, look at the wheat!" D hollered when he reached the 'W' planter. "Too bad Dad is gluten-free. We could grow wheat."


This odd red flower puzzled me. Without hesitation, R declared, "It's a pomegranate, Mom. It looks exactly like a pomegranate. It's just that all of the parts aren't yet full-grown." Okay, I wouldn't say it looks exactly like a pomegranate. But I see what you mean.

And, just to confirm, I asked one of the gals if they had pomegranates out there. She said yes.


What an inspiring stroll. There are so many things I want to plant at our new house. While I love supporting local organic farmers that I know, it'd be nice to be able to eat more things from our own yard. 

Okay, who's willing to give me gardening tips?

Afternoon Tea Party at Earthbound Farm


When I saw 'Afternoon Tea Party' on the blackboard at Earthbound Farm's Farm Stand, I knew that the boys would have a great time there. My boys and I are huge tea-lovers. Huge. We love Tea Tasting in Chinatown. My little one doesn't leave for school without a stainless mug full of tea. And my husband brews his own kombucha.

We adore tea, tisanes, and any food that involves tea. We've poached pears in Earl Grey, folded mint tea into shortbread, made Matcha Ice Cream, used Earl Grey in browniesmarbled eggs in black tea, and poached cod in green tea...just to name a few. Lapsang Souchong adds smokiness to dishes without using, say, bacon!


And since EBF is just down the street from my office, I had the boys dropped off at the farmstand and when I finished my day, I joined them. What stunning tablescapes they had set up in the outdoor pavillion!


They had a Farm Stand Blend of herbs with bachelor button blossoms, fresh lavender, and chamomile for you to create your own concoctions. Quick note on the terminology here. If the brew doesn't include leaves from the tea bush (Camellia sinensis), it's not tea. It's a tisane. 


Step 1: Select a teapot and pick a teacup.


Step 2: Blend your herbs, blooms, and/or tea leaves. Pour hot water over them, letting them steep to your desired strength.


Step 3: Pour into your teacup and sweeten with honey or sugar, if desired.


Step 4: Enjoy the beautiful day and the company!


We had fun with the teas and tisanes, embellishing our cups with fresh flowers.


And since it's not a party without treats - right?!? - EBF provided lots of delectable bites, all of which included tea in one form or another. But I have to give a nod to our absolute favorite of the day: Earl Grey macarons with a honey buttercream filling. Ummm...yum. More, please!


D wanted to buy some and take them home to Daddy. To our chagrin, they weren't for sale. And there weren't any more for me sneak one into my bag either. I looked!


What a fabulous event. And despite my twosome eating more than their fair share of treats and making multiple pots of tea, the EBF crew told them to come back next month. We'll see.


If nothing else, I'll sneak down there for a break from work in the late afternoon. It was very relaxing. Until then, this might have been the push I needed to actually try to make macarons again...after my first attempt flopped.

photo by the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf

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