Sunday, May 31, 2015

#HotSummerEats: Lemongrass-Ginger Cheesecake #sponsor #giveaway

Today, my first born turns thirteen. Thir-TEEN. A teenager?!? How in the world did that happen? So, to kick of my online blogging event Hot Summer Eats, I am bringing you our family's favorite dessert: cheesecake.

So tasty. and it's great for shoving birthday candles into as well.


But first, a few photos of the birthday boy. This is the day we became a family of three. Well, maybe it was the next day. That little boy upended our entire lives. In a great way.



Back to the real reason for this post: cheesecake! While I gravitate toward creatively flavored cheesecakes - I've made Matcha-Yuzu Cheesecake, Cheesecake with a Chestnut Swirl, Lemon-Saison Cheesecake, and Blood Orange-Saffron Cheesecake - my husband vastly prefers Plain White Cheesecake. My solution: keep it mostly neutral-hued; he doesn't object too much then. So, I added lots of flavor into the crust and kept the filling mostly plain. It was a hit.

Crust


Mix all of the crust ingredients together until moist clumps form. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of a springform pan that's been wrapped in foil. Chill crust while preparing filling.

Filling
  • three 8 oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C organic dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 C organic sour cream
  • 1/2 t lemongrass (I used prepared lemongrass from Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices*)
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 t ginger syrup
  • zest from one organic Meyer lemon

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Beat cream cheese in large mixing bowl until fluffy. Beat in sugar. Beat in eggs - one at a time. Finally, mix in sour cream, lemongrass, vanilla extract, ginger syrup, and lemon zest. Spoon filling into prepared crust.

Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into roasting pan and place some water-filled ramekins on the tray as well. Bake until cheesecake puffs around edges, approximately 1 hour. Turn off oven. Let cake stand in oven 1 hour and 15 minutes, leaving oven door ajar.

Sour Cream Topping
  • 2 C organic sour cream
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 T organic dark brown sugar

Beat the ingredients together. Spread over the cheese cake and bake in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes. Let cool for an hour, then refrigerate overnight or for as long as you can.


Thanks, Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices* - just one of our #HotSummerEats sponsors - for ingredients used in this recipe. You can find Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spice: on the web, on facebook, on twitter, on instagram, and on pinterest.


*Full Disclosure: I received an assortment of stir in pastes and lightly dried herbs for participating in #HotSummerEats. Feel free to use whatever herbs and spices you have on-hand. I received no additional compensation for this post; all comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.



And don't forget the giveaway...
more details about the sponsors and the prizes: here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer - Thank you to #HotSummerEats sponsors BenBella Vegan, Caribeque, Casabella, Gourmet Garden, Intensity Academy, Not Ketchup, Out of the Weeds. Pirate Jonny's, Quirk Books, Spicely Organics, T.Lish , and Voodoo Cheffor providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats without additional compensation.All opinions are my own.

SRC Orphan Rescue: Watermelon Agua Fresca


I'm on Orphan-detail today for the Secret Recipe Club - for someone in Group D - and I am thrilled to be cooking from I am a Honey Bee. What a fun, new-to-me blog. Nicole writes: "I love details and construction. I cook. I bake. I design. I clean. I don’t sleep enough." I'm right there with her. I definitely don't sleep enough.

One of the reasons I always volunteer to help out an SRC orphan is to meet new foodie bloggers. This week I was lucky enough to meet Nicole - or Nic as she is called more often than not. She warns, "But call me Nicki and you are going to be ignored."

I so get that. I am Camilla or Cam. But Cami is reserved for a select group of people - and only because I can't get them to stop.

There are so many recipes I love on this blog. I really love that she did an entire year of pies. Seriously. A new pie every Friday for the entire year of 2014. As soon as I see peaches at our farmers' market, I am baking her Streusel-Topped Peach Pie. And I know my Love will love her Bourbon Pecan Pie. She also has savory pies...such as her Impossibly Easy Chicken Pot Pie.

We tried her Guilt-Free Cheesy Fiesta Popcorn and made her Watermelon, Tomato, Feta SaladLoved 'em both! But the recipe I decided to share is her Watermelon Agua Fresca. I just love that she has a collection of recipes called Thirsty Thursdays that includes a Grilled Peach-Jalapeno Margarita, a Red-White-and Blue Sangria, and a Raspberry-Lime Rickey. What fun!

Watermelon Agua Fresca
slightly adapted from I am a Honey Bee's Watermelon Agua Fresca

Ingredients

  • 1 mini seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 T ginger syrup or honey
  • juice of 2 organic Meyer lemons, to taste (Nic used limes, but I have a lemon tree)
  • 2 T fresh mint, chopped
  •  2 T fresh basil, chopped + more for garnish


Procedure
In a blender, puree together all of the ingredients. Pour into glasses and garnish with small basil leaves.


I will definitely be making this more throughout the summer and am looking forward to trying some of her adult variations - such as adding sparkling wine or vodka. Cheers!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mixie Cookies


This is what happens when I am craving something sweet: cookies with whatever I have in the cupboards. This was a hit and I was asked to write down the recipe. Okay. Here goes. The name - Mixie - that's the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf's doing. He called them Mixies. I'll run with it.

Ingredients
  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 3/4 C organic dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla paste
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 C flour
  • 1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 C rolled oats
  • 1 C white chocolate chips
  • 1 C chopped walnuts

Procedure
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars together until lightened and fluffy. Add baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat mixture until well-combined. Add eggs, vanilla paste, and vanilla extract. Beat well. Fold in flour and cocoa powder until just combined. With a wooden spoon or spatular, stir in the oats, chocolate pieces, and nuts.

Using a tablespoon scoop, drop dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing cookies at least 2" apart on cookie sheets.

Bake cookies in a 350 degree F oven until just set approimately 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool 2 to 3 minutes on the cookie sheet before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

MENU: Locavore Cooking Class + Wine Pairing Dinner

Surprise! 

I knew that the man who purchased my locavore cooking class + wine pairing dinner, at a local auction, was going to surprise his wife on her birthday. I didn't realize that it was a surprise to everyone that they had to cook their own dinner!


A few of the guests looked a little stunned when I handed them knives, made them pull tasks out of my wooden bowl, and settled them in to work stations around the kitchen. But they ended up having fun while they cooked...I hope!


Here's what they made...recipe posts to come. Thanks, again, to my produce and wine donors. I couldn't have done it with you all.

Menu
I.
Cheese, Local Honey, Nuts, Grapes, and Olives
Grilled Artichokes
Grilled Squash Bruschetta with Goat Cheese + Chard Pesto

Wine Pairing Côtes de Paso by Halter Ranch

II.
Monkfish en Papillote
Spiced Cauliflower-Carrot Salad
Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs over Peppercress Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette

 Wine Pairing Pinot Noir by Holman Ranch

III.
Cheesecake with Macerated Strawberries
Wine Pairing Isabelle by Scheid Vineyards

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Awesome #Giveaway and Generous #Sponsors for #HotSummerEats

Hot Summer Eats is almost here. I have rallied a talented group of 18 food bloggers who will be posting recipes for an entire week. From June 1st through June 8th, we hope to inspire you for your summer grill dates and cookouts, provide you with ideas for your beach bonfires, and get you planning those ice cream socials and cocktail hours. Not only will you find over a hundred summery recipe posts, but you can enter to win our awesome giveaway, courtesy of some amazingly generous donations from sponsoring companies. See details below.

The Sponsors
(with links to their homepages, in alphabetical order)


The Prizes
BenBella Vegan will provide one winner with one print copy of each of their Spring 2015 releases: Love Fed, by Christina Ross (March 2015); PlantPure Nation Cookbook, by Kim Campbell (March 2015); Plant-Powered Families, by Dreena Burton (May 2015); Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living, by Lindsay S. Nixon (May 2015); and China Study Quick & Easy Cookbook, by Del Sroufe (May 2015).

Casabella will provide one winner with a trio of kitchen gadgets that are perfect for summer entertaining: a set of two large ice cube trays; a citrus juicer and reamer; and a cherry pitter.

Gourmet Garden will provide one winner with each of their stir-in pastes (basil, chili pepper, cilantro, dill, Italian herbs, garlic, chunky garlic, ginger, lemongrass, oregano, parsley, and Thai seasonings), each of their lightly dried herbs (basil, chili pepper, cilantro, ginger, and parsley), and two Gourmet Garden logo coolers.

Not Ketchup will provide one winner with a prize pack of four fruit ketchups - Blueberry White Pepper, Cherry Chipotle, Spiced Fig, and Smoky Date.

Quirk Books will send one winner a copy of their cookbook Summer Cocktails by Maria Del Mar Sacasa, photography by Tara Striano.

Spicely Organics will send one winner their Backyard Barbeque Gift Box.

T.Lish will provide one winner with each of the three current flavors: Sweet Garlic, Asian Sesame, and Chipotle.

Members of the Sauceology Group have donated a summery prize pack that includes six delicious products. You will receive either the Calypso Kick or Island Thyme Spice Rub from Caribeque, Garlic Goodness Hot Sauce and Chai Curry Chup from Intensity Academy, Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette from Out of the Weeds, Guava Girl Gourmet Grilling Sauce from Pirate Jonny's, and Southern Gold Barbeque Gold Sauce from Voodoo Chef.

The Giveaway
begins June 1st and ends June 8th
If you are visiting before the rafflecopter opens, please check back!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer - Thank you to #HotSummerEats sponsors BenBella Vegan, Caribeque, Casabella, Gourmet Garden, Intensity Academy, Not Ketchup, Out of the Weeds. Pirate Jonny's, Quirk Books, Spicely Organics, T.Lish , and Voodoo Cheffor providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats without additional compensation.All opinions are my own.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pickled Shrimp with Pico de Gallo for #SundaySupper


Today, in honor of Memorial Day, the Foodie Stuntman - DB! -  at Crazy Foodie Stunts is hosting #SundaySupper with a red, white, and blue theme. I only managed two of the three colors. What a fun list of dishes today.

Ingredients
Pickled Shrimp

  • 1 T peppercorns (I used a mixture of black and green)
  • 2 t coriander seeds
  • 1/2 C vinegar (I used a white vinegar)
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1/2 t fleur de sel
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 T tequila
  • 1 pound large, peeled, deveined shrimp with tails on
  • 4 to 6 serrano chiles, halved lengthwise
  • 8 to 10 kaffir lime leaves

Pico de Gallo
  • 1 T vinegar (I used a white vinegar)
  • juice from 1 orange
  • juice from 2 limes
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 banana peppers, deseeded and diced
  • 1 hatch chile, deseeded and diced
  • 1 C fresh tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes, but use what you have)
  • 1/4 C organic cilantro leaves, chopped
  • pinch of fleur de sel
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure
Pickled Shrimp
In a small saucepan, toast the seeds and pepercorns until fragrant, approximately 60 seconds. Add vinegar, water, salt, and garlic. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour in the tequila and lime juice. Let come to room temperature.


Pack the shrimp, peppers, and leaves into a lidded jar.


Pour vinegar mixture over the top. Add water if the shrimp is not totally submerged. Seal jar and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.


Pico de Gallo
Place all of the ingredients - except for the salt and pepper - in a small mixing bowl. Blend gently and let stand for 15 minutes to blend flavors. To make this more spicy, just hotter peppers such as a habanero or jalapeno.

Serve at room temperature. This salsa stays fresh for up to 3 hours. If you refrigerate it, use quickly because it will begin to ferment.

Serve shrimp on individual plates with a topping of the pico de gallo.

Here's what the rest of the #SundaySupper crew brought to the table...
Food Using One Color 
Red Food
White Food
Blue Food
Food Using Two Colors 
Red and White Food
Blue and White Food
Red, White and Blue Food

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

Friday, May 22, 2015

Locavore Cooking Class + Wine Pairing Dinner Donors - THANK YOU!

A few months ago a friend asked if I would be willing to go in on donating a dinner to a local auction. I agreed. All I needed to do was secure the wine donations and come up with a menu and the recipes. Done!

I am going to keep the menu a secret for now, but wanted to thank the donors for making this a success. I will be cooking with CSA goodies from High Ground Organics in Watsonville....




And we'll be pairing wines from Scheid Vineyards in Greenfield, Halter Ranch Vineyard in Paso Robles, and Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley.



Stay tuned for the menu and recipe posts from the event which is happening tomorrow night. Very excited.

The 'So-You-Don't-Die' Rhubarb Pies


When Pia picked up our CSA boxes from High Ground Organics last week, there was rhubarb in it...and fava greens. I'm allergic to fava beans and didn't think I should risk eating the greens though they were very pretty.

Pia must have been thinking the same thing because she handed me my produce and offered: "How about I take your fava greens so you don't die. I'll give you my rhubarb and you can make me a pie?!" Fine. She and Brian were leaving for their anniversary weekend, so I whipped up some portable pies in my heart-shaped springform pans.  Brian said, "Thanks, but what is she going to eat?" He didn't realize there were four pies in that box!

I switched it up from my usual rhubarb pie by making a rhubarb compote and folding fresh rhubarb slices into it before spooning it into the pie crust to bake. Delicious!

Yuzu-Scented Pâte Brisée
I started with my usual Pâte Brisée and added a splash of yuzu liqueur because I thought it would complement the tartness of the rhubarb. This is a super easy, fantastically flaky crust.

Ingredients

  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 C finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour
  • 1 C butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 t yuzu liqueur
  • 6 to 8 T ice water
  • 2 T organic granulated sugar 

Procedure
I don't have a food processor, so I use a pastry blender and do it all by hand. Place the flour, ground almonds, and cold butter in a large bowl. Use the pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add yuzu liqueur. Then add ice water 1 T at a time, until mixture just begins to clump together. If you squeeze some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and cut again. Note that too much water will make the crust tough. Once the dough comes together into a ball, set 1/2 c of the dough aside and wrap the rest tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

While the crust chills, make your rhubarb compote. With the remaining dough, cut in 2 T organic granulated sugar to make large crumbs.

Roll out the Pâte Brisée between two pieces of parchment paper and lay it over your springform pans with a removable bottom. Gently press the crust into your pan, carefully removing the excess crust from the top of the pan.

Rhubarb Compote + Pie Filling
Ingredients
  • 5 to 6 C fresh rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 1" pieces and divided in half
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1 t yuzu liqueur

Procedure
Stir sugar and 2-1/2 to 3 C of rhubarb together in a large saucepan. Let macerate until rhubarb releases some liquid, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Bring rhubarb mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; add liqueur and simmer, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb has broken down but some whole pieces remain, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining rhubarb pieces.

Assembly
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the compote filling between the crusts and top with the crust crumbles. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the crust is lightly browned.

Serve hot or cold.

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