Monday, June 18, 2018

Tropical Mimosas and Shrimp Cocktail for My Very Own Mr. Incredible #FoodNFlix

Welcome to the June edition of Food'N'Flix. This month, Kelley of Simply Inspired Meals is hosting; she invited us to watch The Incredibles*. You can read her invitation: here

On the Screen
Let me start with this: I have no idea how many times I have seen this movie. More than a dozen. Definitely. It was one of my boys' favorites...and I can't believe it's been fourteen years since its release.

And this weekend, we re-watched it twice. Once because we were headed out to see the sequel; and once because I needed to pay more attention to the food.

A quick synopsis: Mr. Incredible (secret identity Bob Parr) and Elastigirl (secret identity Helen Parr) were always saving lives and battling evil. But they were forced into hiding, adopt civilian identities and retreating to the suburbs where they have no choice but to retire to live a normal life with their three kids, Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack. They are forced back in action. And this time, their crime-stopping involves their kids. While it is an animated kids' film, it definitely has the feel of a James Bond movie with its techy gadgets and silly villains. We love it!

On the Table
The second time we watched it this weekend, the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf and I took better notes of what food appeared in the movie. The leftovers dinner had steak, pasta, meatloaf, and broccoli. Mr. Incredible grabs a piece of chocolate cake when he walks in late one night. On the island, with Mirage, we saw champagne and fruit; she tells him that everything they are eating was grown right there on the island. But the scene that inspired me was when Mr. Incredible is arriving at the island in the manta plane. He's eating shrimp cocktail and drinking mimosas.

And since we always like to start celebration brunches with celebration libations, I whipped up some tropical mimosas for Jake's Fathers' Day brunch. He's my very own Mr. Incredible!

Tropical Mimosas

  • juice (I offered guava and mango, though traditional mimosas use orange juice)
  • sparkling wine (I used some Italian bubbles that I had)

Fill your flute up halfway with the juice of your choice. Top it off with sparkling wine. Toast. And enjoy!

Shrimp Cocktail

  • chilled large shrimp or prawns, peeled and poached (tail-on)
  • 1/2 C ketchup
  • 1 to 2 T prepared horseradish
  • cash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 to 2 t freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • hot sauce, to taste
In small mixing bowl whisk together all of the ingredients except for the shrimp. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve with chilled shrimp.

When we were at the store, right after watching the sequel, they noticed Incredibles 2 Goldfish! Oh my goodness, my husband used to harass me that Goldfish were not a food group; I used to buy a lot of bags of Goldfish. They were the best stroller snacks!

"Mom, can we get those?!" Sure.

And just like when they were toddlers, I should have gotten them each a bag. They battled over those fish. Hilarious. I won't spoil the sequel. I will say that we all enjoyed it. It picks up right where they left off; for some reason I expect that they would have aged...maybe not 14 years, but a little. But we all still preferred the first one.

*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.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Chorizo Deviled Eggs, Crusted Steaks, and Café Liégeois #DadsDayEats

Tomorrow we're celebrating Fathers' Day, so I decided to see if any of the Festive Foodies wanted to join me in sharing some recipes for all the dads in our lives. I chuckled when I saw the line-up; Coleen, Ellen, and I must be cooking for carnivores!

And, funny thing: I didn't realize when I offered to host this event that I had set the posting date before Fathers' Day, so, there wasn't any way it could be our real Fathers' Day menu. Whoops. This was our pre-Fathers' Day dinner instead.

Tomorrow night, we are having my parents over and Jake will be grilling our actual Fathers' Day feast: marinated quail, wild salmon, top sirloin, and fresh corn. I baked two Key Lime pies and will make a green salad, too. If you're celebrating tomorrow, what's on your menu?

The Dads' Day Eats

My Offerings
I thought about some of Jake's favorite bites and couldn't decide between three dishes. So, I'm sharing all three for this event though the first  two don't really qualify as recipes...just variations on dishes almost everyone already has in their repertoire. The third might be a new one for you. It was for us.

Chorizo Deviled Eggs

  • 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled and halved
  • 2 T mayonnaise (here's my homemade version)
  • 2 T cooked, crumbled chorizo
Place the egg yolks in a small mixing bowl. Blend in the mayonnaise until creamy and fully combined. Fold in the chorizo, reserving a little bit for garnishing the tops. Spoon the filling back into the cooked egg whites and top with remaining chorizo. Serve immediately.

Crusted Steaks

  • 2 rib-eye steaks, about an inch thick
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • Also needed: a griddle or grill pan
Let steaks rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking - and up to an hour. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Melt 1 T butter in 1 T olive oil on a griddle or grill pan. Heat the point that it is almost smoking. Sprinkle another layer of pepper over the meat, pressing it into the meat.

Place your steak - newly sprinkled side down - in the pan. Depending on thickness, you will want to cook the steak for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Sprinkle the top side with more pepper before flipping. You should have a nice crust formed with an internal temperature of about 130 degrees F for medium. Remove from pan and tent with foil. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Slice and serve immediately.

Café Liégeois

I recently interviewed Fabrice Rondia of Belgian Pacific for Edible Monterey Bay. You can read my blogpost for them. In any case, he introduced me to Café Liégeois. When he described it as a Belgian affogato with coffee ice cream and chantilly cream, I knew that Jake would love it! I even added some coffee-extract to my whipped cream for even more coffee flavor!

Ingredients makes one
  • 1 scoop coffee ice cream
  • 2 ounces espresso
  • dollop of whipped cream
Place ice cream in a tempered glass or mug. Pour espresso over the ice cream. Top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Käsküeche (Alsatian Cheesecake with Boozy Fruits)

Käsküeche. When I was researching traditional recipes from Alsace, this one kept popping up. Usually this Alsatian cheesecake includes brandy-soaked prunes. Not having brandy in my cabinet...and with only 50% of our household liking prunes...I opted to go with whatever dried fruit I had and whatever booze. So, we ended up with limoncello-soaked apricots.



  • 7 T butter, softened
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2-1/2 C flour
  • Also needed: pan with a removable base


  • 1 C dried apricots
  • 3 T + 1 t limoncello
  • 1 C whole milk plain yogurt
  • 1/2 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 C  + 1/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract

Cream the butter and sugar together until lightened and fluffy, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg and beat until well-combined. Fold in the flour until just incorporated. This is a very soft dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and let chill for at least 10 minutes. While the dough chills, prepare the filling.

Place the apricots in a single layer in a small rimmed dish. Pour in 3 T limoncello and make sure they are mostly submerged. If they aren't completely covered, let stand for 5 minutes and flip over.

After the fruit has soaked and the dough chilled for 10 minutes, Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap your Springform pan with tinfoil and place it on a baking sheet.

Press the dough into the base of the pan and slightly up the sides. Gently press down with lightly floured hands. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes until cooked and no longer sticky on the surface. Remove pan from the oven.

Shake the excess liquid from the apricots and arrange them in the bottom of the crust.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, whipping cream, 1 t limoncello, 4 egg yolks, 1/2 C sugar, vanilla extract and flour. Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, and a clean whisk, beat the egg whites with 1/4 C sugar until stiff peaks form.

Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk and use a spatula until they are just incorporated. Pour the mixture over the apricots and bake for 45 minutes.

Let cool completely, then chill in the fridge overnight. To serve, let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Alsace Pairing Challenge? Accepted! #AlsaceRocks #DrinkAlsace #Winophiles #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the June #Winophiles event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.

Jeff of FoodWineClick! is hosting the French Winophiles as we explore the Alsace region for June's event. You can read his invitation: here. And many thanks to Michelle of Rockin Red Blog for arranging samples through Teuwen Communications for the party as they represent Wines of Alsace and spearhead the month-long Alsace Rocks. Cheers!

To Alsace
Alsace, due to its location on the border of Germany and France, has been subject to a series of political tug-of-wars for years and years. Here's what I mean: at the end of the Thirty Years' War, in the mid-17th century, Alsace was given to France. Nearly 250 years later, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War, Alsace was seized by Germany. Post-WWI, it was once again part of France...until 1940 when Germany reclaimed it. And, finally, with the end of WWII, Alsace became French again and has stayed so ever since. You can see the effects of this on-going conflict in the languages spoken, the architecture, the cuisine, and the wine.

For this event, our sponsors sent out wines based on three different themes. There was the Pinot Pinot Pinot that included one sparkling and two sill Pinots; there was the Terroirs & Riesling that included four Grand Crus from four different soils; and, finally, the Food Pairing Challenge which included one Crémant, one Riesling, one Pinot Gris, and one Gewurztraminer.

If you are seeing this early enough, please join our Twitter chat.  We love visitors and happily chat and answer questions. Simply tune in to the #winophiles hashtag this Saturday, June 16 at 10am CDT. You can also check out the #AlsaceRocks hashtag for more Alsace fun during and after the chat.

The Winophiles' Alsace Posts

Alsace Pairing Challenge? Accepted! 
Wine production in Alsace can be traced back to the Roman Empire. And nearly 90% of all Alsatian wine is white with the principal grapes being Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Gewurztraminer or Gewürztraminer; Alsatians prefer it without the umlaut, Germans use the umlaut. Of the three curated shipments sent to the bloggers, I received the Food Pairing Challenge package. Perfect! I'm always up for a challenge.

I'm including my tasting notes in this post with a link to the recipes. Just click on the recipe title (in bold) to go to that post. Enjoy! If the links aren't live yet, please be patient. I waited until the very last minute to schedule this wine pairing dinner party. So, the recipes might be "in progress." Check back.

Pfister Gewurztraminer Tradition 2013 
+ Tarte Flambée and Escargot

The signature on the Pfister label is that of Mélanie Pfister’s great-grandfather. She is the eighth generation of winemaker in the family and still works alongside her father. Before she took the helm with the 2006 vintage, she completed internships all over the globe in the wine world - from New Zealand to Burgundy and back to Alsace.

Aged long on the lees, this Gewurztraminer is big on richness and aroma and light on tannins. It's weight makes it as satisfying as many red wines when it comes to pairing with meat.

 It was a little bit sweet for my tastes, but, in this case, I decided to match it with buttery, garlicky escargot and cheesy, salty Tarte Flambée to kick off the dinner party.

Ribeauvillé Pinot Blanc 2015 
+ Farmhouse Chicken in Vinegar Sauce and Alsatian Salad

La Cave de Ribeauvillé is the oldest wine co-op in France and is comprised of over 650 acres with a variety of soil types. The cooperative makes all seven of the classic Alsace varieties operates under a unique quality charter that requires 100% parcel traceability, strict yield control, and total organic or sustainable farming. Evelyne Bleger-Dondelinger is currently the head winemaker of Cave de Ribeauvillé.

Made from hand-harvested grapes, this wine has good structure. With an intense nose, I thought it would make a nice pairing for our main course when I served Farmhouse Chicken in Vinegar Sauce with Alsatian Salad. It did.

Charles Baur Riesling Cuvee Charles 2015
+ Braised Rabbit with Alsatian Dumplings
Located in Eguisheim, in the heart of Alsace, the Charles Baur estate has been in the family since the early 1700s and is currently being managed by Arnaud Baur who joined the family business in 2009 after earning his degree in agricultural engineering with a specialization in oenology.

This wine, a 100% Riesling, is made from 25 -year -old vines grown in sandy soil. After being hand-harvested and hand-sorted, the grapes are pneumatically pressed and fermented slowly with indigenous yeasts. After fermentation, the wine matures on its lees for several months before being bottled in August. Named for the founder, Charles Baur, the 'Cuvée Charles' strives to be the most representative Riesling of the vintage.
On the nose, there's a playful mingling of flowers and citrus. On the tongue it's fresh, crisp, and dry  with a balanced finish. It paired nicely with the rabbit and dumplings.

Pierre Sparr Crémant d’Alsace Brut 
+ Käsküeche (Alsatian Cheesecake with Boozy Fruits)

Alsace has been renowned for its dry white wines. And, in the heart of Alsace’s Haut-Rhin, Maison Pierre Sparr follows a 300-year-old tradition of winemaking that began during the reign of King Louis XIV. Since late 17th century, the Sparr family has passed its passion for viticulture and winemaking down through the generations.

Made with whole-cluster pressing, the first fermentation transforms the must into still wine. Six months later, the two different grape varieties are blended to achieve the distinct flavor profile of brut réserve. Then the blended wine is bottled with yeast to launch the second fermentation in the bottle.

To the eye this wine is pale yellow with green lights. To the nose, the wine offers aromas of summer melon with hints of nuts. On the palate, it's racy, crisp, and lemony.

I had thought to open up the evening with this and a cheese platter. But I decided to end with bubbles and serve this with slices of Käsküeche (Alsatian Cheesecake with Boozy Fruits). The limoncello-soaked apricots matched the bubbles perfectly!

Find the Sponsors...
Wines of Alsace on the web, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Twitter

Alsace Rocks on the web

*Disclosure: I received sample wines 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.

Beurre Noisette-Poached Lobster Chowder #SoupSwappers

Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm kicked off this group: Soup Saturday Swappers. And, this month, she is also hosting. She asked us to share our favorite chowders as there are so many options out there.

So, my first question was: What defines a chowder? I was pretty sure it needed to be cream based, but then I realized there's Manhattan Clam Chowder that's tomato based. Then I found this, rather broad definition that made sense to me...

chow·der  / ˈCHoudər/ noun - a rich soup typically containing fish, clams, or corn with potatoes and onions

I decided that was the definition I was going to follow. But, first, here's the Soup Swappers' Souppots...

Beurre Noisette-Poached Lobster Chowder

So, here's my offering. "Contains fish, clams" = this version includes lobster and prawns. Check. "Potatoes and onions." Check. "A rich soup" = anything with beurre noisette qualifies. Check. Okay, I'm good. 

Browned butter - also known as beurre noisette - is one of those magical ingredients that transforms the flavor of just about anything be it sweet or savory. Its nutty taste and aroma are out of this world. And it can add a creative twist to any recipe that includes butter.

  • 8 T butter*
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1/2 C diced organic celery
  • 2 C organic potatoes, cubed
  • 1 pound large shrimp or prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 2 lobster tails, shelled and cut into large coins
  • 3 C vegetable stock
  • 1 C lobster juice
  • 1 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • toasted baguette slices for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste

*To make beurre noisette: place butter in a pan over medium heat. Swirl the pan occasionally to be sure the butter is cooking evenly. As the butter melts, it will foam and begin to darken. The color will progress from a pale lemon yellow to golden straw hue and, finally, to a hazelnut brown. Once you achieve the color and aroma you want, pour the beurre noisette into a glass container. The milk solids will continue to brown - and eventually burn - if you leave it in the pan.

In a large souppot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil. Stir in shallots, garlic, and celery. Cook over low to medium heat until the shallots are softened and translucent. 

Stir in the potatoes and pour in the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, approximately 10 minutes. In the meantime, cook your shellfish.

Poach the prawns and lobster coins in the browned butter. Set aside 1 to 2 pieces of lobster per bowl for garnishing.

Spoon the prawns and lobster into the pot. Scrape in the browned butter and pour in the lobster juice. Heat to warm through. Then, in batches, process until smooth. You can use a blender or a food processor. Return the soup to the pot and pour in whipping cream. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat and ladle into individual bowls. Float a toasted baguette slice in the bowl and top with a lobster coin. Serve immediately.

Lamb Börek + A Variety Box from Corral De Tierra Cattle Company #Sponsored

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Corral De Tierra Cattle Company.
I received complimentary product for the purpose of review and recipe development,
but all opinions are honest and they are my own. This page may contain affiliate links.

In the Fall of 2016, I was on assignment for Edible Monterey Bay and attended the Outstanding in the Field (OITF) event hosted at Big Sur Land Trust (BSLT)'s Glen Deven Ranch. You can read the article that appeared in the Spring 2017 magazine: EDIBLE ICONS: Big Sur Bliss.

Chef Brett Cooper cooking Corral De Tierra beef grazed and site at Glen Deven Ranch

Corral De Tierra Cattle Company
But all of that was just to set the stage for me getting an email - earlier this month - from Mark Farr, the rancher behind Corral De Tierra Cattle Company. I had interviewed him in 2016 because he had provided the meat for the OITF event with cattle that had grazed on the land at Glen Deven. Back then, he shared that his relationship with the BSLT was mutually beneficial for the animals and the environment: “Fog produces a good quality grass, and grazing animals create vivacious ecosystems and reduce fire fuel.” And his relationship with BLST persists. Go to Corral De Tierra Cattle Co's website to read about Mark's philosophies on grass finished beef, cattle management, regenerative agriculture, and more.

I love thoughtful food purveyors and Mark definitely qualifies. His customer service, too, is off the charts.

Meat to Your Doorstep
So, fast forward eighteen months, and Farr contacted me to say that he had been planning a local grass fed meat delivery program. He asked if I would be willing to enjoy and perhaps write about my experience. Yes, yes, yes!

Their Buyer's Club kicked off this month and gets you monthly deliveries of a 10-pound variety box. You can purchase the boxes monthly - they are $100 for 10-pounds and $200 for 20-pounds - or pay for the year upfront and get all 12 months for $1000. I heard buzzings that they might have a 6-month payment plan. I'll confirm when I hear more.

A few emails later, I had a 10-pound lamb and beef variety box on my front step. I received fresh beef Swiss sausage, boneless rib-eye, filet mignon, ground sheep (I am calling that lamb, but maybe I need to do some research as to whether that's a different designation...maybe age?!?), beef jerky, beef broth, beef stew meat, beef chuck-eye, and more. What a selection and, yes, what a variety! I was thrilled.

Tasting Our Way Through
Given the short turn-around between me receiving my box and me posting my thoughts before Fathers' Day - also known as the day that more grills in America are going with meals for those men in our lives than probably any other day of the year - I got cooking quickly.

I brought the beef Swiss sausages to an end-of-the-schoolyear barbeque at our friends' house. And all of us were impressed, though both of the men didn't believe it was really beef. They bantered back and forth that it tasted like wild boar or maybe venison. I said, "Read the package! It's beef." But, I suspect that what they were getting at was that these beef sausages had so much flavor that they might have been wild game.

On another evening, Jake and I grilled the filet mignon and friends took the boneless rib-eye. As agreed, we both seasoned it only with salt, pepper, and olive oil to make sure we could comment on the beef itself and not an overpowering spice rub. Our comments were almost identical: nice marbling, great flavor, nice texture/easy to cut. The only complaint was that there was some gristle on the rib-eye that could have been trimmed off. Otherwise, my friends were happy. And this is a friend whose dinner motto is "no meat, no meal."

I used the beef broth as the liquid when I braised a locally-grown rabbit and I sneaked a spoonful before I poured it all in. It was delicious and would be a great base for any soup or stew!

The beef jerky made it into the snack bags when my three boys went kayaking this week. But I had to work, so I missed the adventure and the beef jerky. Not fair! They loved the flavor and asked why I only packed two pieces when there were three of them. Ummm...I packed all that I had.

So, we've made it through quite a bit of the ten pounds. I am saving the beef stew meat for a fundraising dinner that Nonna is hosting. R requested ricotta gnocchi with beef ragu. You'll see that meat in the recipe soon. And I need to read more about the chuck-eye steak. That's not a cut with which I'm familiar. Stay tuned.

Lamb Börek
But, for this post, I decided to share a recipe for Lamb Börek that I made with Mark's ground sheep. Again, I am not sure how ground sheep differs from ground lamb - or if it differs at all - but this was a huge hit with my family. Börek appears all over Eastern Europe and Western Asia; it's essentially a baked, stuffed pastry. Some versions are just cheese, some are just meat. I used both.

Please note that this isn't a traditional börek. I've added some California flair in the shape of fresh fennel, other fresh herb, and fennel pollen. I also folded in some barberries to the filling because I love their tangy bite. You can substitute dried cranberries if you can't find barberries.

Ingredients serves 4
  • 1 pound ground sheep or lamb
  • 1 organic white onion, peeled and thinly sliced (approximately 2 C)
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced (approximately 2 C)
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 t fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 C crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 C dried barberries (substitute dried cranberries if you can't find barberries)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 pieces phyllo dough cut in half lengthwise to make 24 sheets approximately 8" x 12"
  • melted butter for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large skillet, heat the oil and add in the onion and fennel. Cook until the onion is softened and beginning to turn translucent. Crumble in the ground meat, season with cumin, and cook until browned through. Fold in the herbs, then, turn the meat mixture into a colander and drain out the fat; you want the meat as dry as possible for the börek or the dough will get soggy.

Stir in the feta cheese and barberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper, as needed.

While you're working with the phyllo, keep them covered with a damp kitchen towel as they dry out very quickly.

Place three sheets of phyllo on a flat surface. Spoon about 1/2 C of the lamb mixture on the short side of the rectangle in a strip that's about 2" wide. Brush the edges of the phyllo with melted butter, then fold in the edges and roll as tightly as you can without breaking the dough. Place the börek on a lightly buttered baking sheet.

 Brush lightly with melted butter and repeat until the tray is full or the filling gone.

Once all the rolls are ready, place the tray in the preheated oven. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes. The phyllo should be golden brown and crisp.

Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.

These were a hit. And while we ate, we talked about the benefits of subscribing to the Corral De Tierra Cattle Company variety boxes. Here's what we came up with...

The rancher receives payment for year, which helps with the cash flow and give him an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the meat he produces. We get monthly deliveries of fresh meat, with all the flavor and environmental benefits of animals managed properly; we get exposed to new cuts of meat; and we might get to see his herd or, at least, know the land on which they graze so our kids recognize that the beef or lamb they are eating was an animal raised locally...and doesn't just magically appear - in cellophane - in the grocery store!

I love the adventure of finding delectable ways to cook something I've never seen before. What might stress out some home-chefs, piques my curiosity and gives me a reason to look for new recipes. So, I'll be doing research on how to cook that chuck-eye steak...and looking for a way to fit the initial outlay of $1000 into my food budget because I really want in on Mark's Buyer's Club.

You may find Corral De Tierra Cattle Company on the web and on Facebook.

*Disclosure: I received product for free from the sponsor for recipe development, however, I have received no additional compensation for my post. My opinion is 100% my own and 100% accurate.

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