Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Finally Getting Around to Making Fideuà #FantasticalFoodFight


Welcome to the June edition of the Fantastical Food Fight. I look forward to this event every single month. It's coordinated by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes and you can get more information about it here.


This month, we were given the challenge of making something with seafood. I have no dearth of seafood recipes, especially since we are members of a CSF (community-supported fishery) and receive a share of fresh-caught seafood on a regular basis. Just last week I bought a whole halibut from them during a special Saturday sale. You'll see this recipe next month...


But when I came home, my husband had already filleted it. "Did you take photos of the process?!" I asked.

No, I'm not a food blogger, he answered.

"But I am!" I cried.

Next time, he said, but rather unconvincingly.

Back to the event at hand. Seafood, huh? I thought about doing a variation on my Abalone à la Meunière or Pickled Shrimp or fish en papillote.


But, I was organizing my cupboards after school ended and found the package of fideus pasta that our friends had brought back from Spain for me. That settled it: I was finally going to get around to making Fideuà.



Fideuà 
Last year I had a friend from Spain teach me how to make paella. Real paella. And, since then, I've made peace with my paella pan - it was previously collecting dust in the garage - and whipped up some really tasty dinners. When they went back to Spain for a trip, they brought back some fideus pasta for me to try my hand at fideuà. Fideuà, they said, was just like paella but with pasta instead of rice. I am finally getting around to trying it...and without a real recipe, so this may not be authentic. But it was delicious! 

Ingredients serves 8
  • 1/2 pound fresh seafood (I used a mixture of clams, mussels, baby octopus, and shrimp)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 8 T olive oil (Juan told me 1 T per serving)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 to 4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1 bell pepper (I used a red bell pepper)
  • 1 C diced tomatoes
  • 2 C fideus pasta
  • 1 generous pinch saffon
  • 1 Carmencita Paella Spice Mix sachet* 
  • 5 to 6 C fish stock, warmed
*Juan used this and they brought some back from Spain for me, so I use it. But, in a pinch, you can add a blend of paprika, pepper, and clove to the pot. These packets also include a food coloring that makes regular paella a rich golden color.

Procedure

Peel and dice the onions. Deseed and dice the bell pepper. Heat olive oil in the paella pan. Add onions and bell pepper. Sauté until the onion is softened and translucent.

Add the chicken and cook completely. Stir in the garlic. Add in the tomatoes and cook until they have lost their shape slightly, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Add the seafood, distributing it evenly throughout the pan.

Sprinkle the seasoning packet into the pot and add the saffron to the side so it's not where the heat is most concentrated. Tip in the pasta. Pour in the stock. At this point, do not stir. Gently shake the pan to distribute the pasta and seafood evenly. But do not stir. Ever. As Juan instructed me: "This is not risotto."


Bring the pan to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Watch the pan and keep turning it so that the pasta cooks evenly. As it cooks, the stock will be fully absorbed.


You will see fewer and fewer bubbles popping up through the top. When it is completely dry, it's done. The pasta should also be crackling. It reminds me of rice krispies. Snap, crackle, and pop!

When you no longer see any bubbles, remove the pan from the heat. Tent it with foil and let it steam for 10 minutes. To serve, use a flat spatula to scrape the soccarat from the bottom. Invert the scoop onto the individual plates to show off your soccarat, that delicious, crusty goodness on the bottom of the pan! 

Hand-Pressed Butter


I was looking at ways to churn butter in my food processor, but the boys insisted, "Mom, let us do. We're going to shake it in a jar." Sounds fine. Apparently, they've done this with my mom several times. And while I know there is a more simple - and less messy - way to accomplish turning cream into butter, I never turn down a chance to let the Kitchen Elves do their thing.

Ingredients
  • 2 C whipping cream
  • salt and fresh herbs are optional (I wanted them, they vetoed)
  • Also needed: quart mason jar with lid, mesh strainer, cheesecloth


Procedure
Pour cream into a lidded jar, filling it up about 2/3 full. We repeated the process to finish the entire pint. Next time I'll get a bigger jar. Shake. I'm not kidding. Just shake. We put on some good music and shook that jar like a maraca.


Once the cream is to the point where it's holding peaks, place a mesh strainer and cheesecloth over a mixing bowl and compress the cream with a spoon. Or your hands...


They really enjoyed pressing out the whey, or what they called "buttermilk."


They pressed the liquid out twice before the solids came together and turned a brighter yellow.


After running the cream through the mesh twice, the solids came together and the butter turned a brighter yellow. Reserve the liquid! They drank some of it straight and I added it to our banana pancakes the next morning.


While the butter is still soft, fold in salt and herbs, if desired. They kept theirs plain. Place it in the fridge till desired consistency.


You'll see this in a recipe for a challenge later this week. Stay tuned.

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes


If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two.



This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them!

Ingredients makes 1 quart jar
  • radishes, trimmed and sliced
  • organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer)
  • 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar)
  • 3/4 C water
  • 3 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt)
  • 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper

Procedure
Layer your radishes and onions in a sterilized mason jar, packing them in tightly. Place all of the other ingredients together in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the liquid over the top of the radishes and onions.


Seal the jar and let cool on the counter. Refrigerate until ready to eat, but I try to let them pickle for at least 24 to 48 hours before opening. These will keep for approximately 2 weeks. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Corn Salad with Shrimp and Fennel Fronds #KitchenMatrixCookingProject


Here we are at the third #KitchenMatrixCookingProject post for June. This month, Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories selected our recipes. This week she has us looking at Corn + 12 Ways. You can read more about our project: here. We'd love to have you join us. And, if you don't have a copy of his cookbook, you can read his corn matrix online. Now that it's corn season, I am looking forward to trying several of Bittman's ideas such as corn and coconut milk, corn with saffron, and corn with crab cakes! Before I get to my selection, here's what the other bloggers made...

Getting Corn-y



Corn Salad with Shrimp and Fennel Fronds
I actually bought corn for our Fathers' Day feast, knowing that I needed to make a Bittman corn recipe. So this was perfect. I did adapt slightly as my corn wasn't as fresh as I'd like to eat it raw, so I blanched it. And I swapped in fennel fronds for the tarragon.


And it was definitely a hit for our Fathers' Day dinner. I saw my dad take, at least, two helpings.

Ingredients serves 8 to 10

  • kernels from 5 cobs, approximately 4 C (raw or blanched)
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 C halved organic cherry tomatoes
  • juice from 1 organic lemon (I used a Meyer lemon)
  • 2 to 3 T olive oil
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 T fresh fennel fronds, chopped


Procedure
Poach the shrimp. Once they are cool enough to handle, slice them in half, lengthwise. In a large mixing bowl, place the kernels, shrimp, and tomatoes. Drizzle in the lemon juice and pour in 2 to 3 T olive oil. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Before serving, fold in fennel fronds. 

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 retreated into the suburbs, hiding and adopting civilian identities live a normal life with their three kids, Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack. Then 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

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

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

Shrimp Cocktail

Ingredients
  • 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
Procedure 
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 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.


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

Ingredients
  • 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled and halved
  • 2 T mayonnaise (here's my homemade version)
  • 2 T cooked, crumbled chorizo
Procedure
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

Ingredients
  • 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
Procedure
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
Procedure
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.

 

Ingredients
Crust

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

Filling

  • 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


Procedure
Crust
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.

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.

from winefolly.com
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.

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